Five Home Freezing Tips
Here are 5 basic tips that will help make your freezing more successful.
1. Always ‘open freeze’ anything that is likely to clump together
Open freezing just means popping your food on a flat surface that will fit in your freezer (I use a baking tray, or for small quantities, Tupperware lids). If you use deep trays, and trays of different sizes you can also stack them in the freezer so that you can freeze multiple things at once. You could also use wire cooling racks if your freezer drawers are large enough.
Always line with baking parchment so that the food doesn’t stick. If you’ve got more stuff than will fit on one tray you can often get away with doing 2-3 layers with baking parchment.
See www.instagram.com/canifreezeit for videos demonstrating this technique.
Most food will only need 2-3 hours to freeze through, then you can transfer to a labelled Resealable bag (I always label everything). Perfect for fruit, veg, butter, cheese, diced meat etc
2. Flat freeze food (and liquids!) in a resealable bag
If you have limited space, this one is a game changer! By flat freezing you can fit so much more in your freezer. Just be sure to follow the tip in need to know item 3!
To do this, label your bag first with the contents and date, then simply pop the bag into a cup or bowl with the top folded over the edge so that you don’t get anything on it (you can also buy bag clips to hold your bags if you prefer!).
Pour in your liquid, and then lift the bag up, unfolding the top edge. As you seal it, push out as much air as possible. You can now freeze it flat on a flat surface in your freezer (shelf, tray, Tupperware lid).
Once frozen, you can stand up all of your frozen bags so that you can flick through them like a little index card system! Perfect for pasta sauce, curry sauce, soup, bolognese, coconut milk, etc
3. Use baking parchment between flat foods that would usually stick together
Some foods can be returned to their original packaging once the baking parchment has been put in place – for example resealable tortilla wraps.
If the original packaging isn’t resealable then place in a Resealable bag.
This tip also applies to when you flat freeze liquids in Resealable bags (e.g. passata, coconut milk, cream etc). By putting a sheet between the bags you’ll stop them sticking together (if they stick and you force them apart you may damage the bags and end up having to defrost more than you need).
Perfect for bacon, tortilla wraps, bagels, pancakes, etc
4. Use ice cube trays to freeze liquids/purees (and herbs!)
I do this a lot with food that comes in jars or tubes. Once it is frozen solid, I then transfer to a resealable bag.
You can also freeze fresh herbs in a little water or oil in ice cube trays rather than waste them. When you want to use them, just chuck them straight into whatever you’re cooking!
BONUS TIP: If you have a small amount of wine leftover (unlikely I know, but it can happen to the best of us), you can freeze it! BUT you need to leave it in the ice cube tray. If you transfer to a bag it will break apart.
I find having a few white and red cubes in the freezer handy for risottos and Bolognese/stews – you won’t want to drink it after freezing though (well, not unless you’re really desperate) …
Perfect for tomato puree, pesto, puréed fruit and veg for babies
5. Blanching Vegetables
Blanching just means boiling your veg for a few minutes before cooling it quickly (I use ice water) to stop it cooking.
It is important as it stops enzymes that will otherwise decay the food despite it being frozen.
Some veg should be okay unblanched for up to 3 months (e.g. onions, peppers, corn and tomatoes), but for most it’s a must.