The Ultimate Guide to Freezing and Thawing Food for Amazing Dinners on a Budget
Preparing food ahead of time can be a great way to save money and help you out when you’re in a pinch. We’ve all been there before where we forgot to take something out in time for dinner, and have started to question whether or not we should stick something in the freezer. No matter what questions you have, here is the ultimate guide to freezing and thawing food for amazing dinners on a budget!
To freeze or not to freeze
The age old question comes down to whether or not you should freeze something or if you might want to consider passing instead. When freezing certain items, the consistency might change or even the taste, so you want to be extremely careful when freezing certain items. Of course if you ever aren’t sure, a little trial and error can help you determine if you should freeze it in the future.
Which foods freeze well
- Fruit: great for smoothies
- Vegetables: dice or chop prior to freezing
- Milk: only if frozen into cubes to be used in future smoothies
- Meats: cooked or uncooked is fine
- Baked goods: flash freeze for better storage
- Pasta: cooked, keep sauce separate
- Herbs: freeze in water using an ice cube tray
How to freeze fruit
Freezing fruits for smoothies make great, rich smoothies that have plenty of natural sugars. And because it is frozen, it can act as ice and make your smoothies nice and chilly. The great thing you’ll notice is that many of these fruits have the same simple freezing process. You really just need to cut your fruit into pieces, lay them out on a cookie sheet, let it freeze, then bag it! So simple! Check out these different fruits you can freeze and save for later! Also check out how you can use frozen fruits to make smoothies and prepare them ahead of time!
Mangoes are a gift. They are perfect for smoothies… or pretty much everything. If you freeze mangoes, you can enjoy them all year long!
Pineapples are another one of nature’s treats! Try freezing pineapple to enjoy in your smoothies or in a fruit salad.
You’ll be surprised how simple it is to freeze peaches! If you are growing peaches in your garden and have them growing out of your ears. Try freezing them, so that you can enjoy them all year long!
How to freeze vegetables
Vegetables are little more tricky to freeze. Not all vegetables freeze great, and if you don’t cut it prior to freezing, the thawing process can be a mess! Here are some vegetables that are perfect for freezing. Follow the step-by-step process, and you can have some delicious vegetables for cooking later!
With frozen green beans, you can enjoy snacking and cooking with green beans all year long! Freezing green beans is way simpler and tastes way better than canning them.
I love frozen corn! It tastes 100% better than canned corn. Plus, if you grow corn in the summer, you can freeze it and enjoy it all year around. There are so many different soups and meals that use frozen corn. Learning how to freeze corn will save you time and money!
I also love being able to enjoy zucchini all year around. There is so much you can do with zucchini. And when you have it frozen, the possibilities are endless!
Foods that don’t freeze well
There are some foods that despite our best efforts just don’t freeze well. Some of these may be due to consistency after they’re thawed, or that the taste makes it not worth it! Here are some foods that you want to avoid freezing:
- Full vegetables: If blanched they can be frozen well, but the consistency is just hard to work with after they thaw
- Block cheese: shredded cheese can freeze well, but block cheese just isn’t the same after it’s been frozen
- Dressings and other condiments: they tend to separate when frozen, so it’s best to buy them when you need them instead of freezing for later.
- Fried foods: with the exception of foods that are meant for the frozen food aisle, fried foods become soggy when thawed.
If you want to create an amazing dinner with minimal effort, freezing food ahead of time can make meal prep a breeze! Here are a few tips on thawing food to make sure you get the best taste possible every single time!
- Make sure you give your food plenty of time to thaw in the fridge. This is probably the hardest part for me when it comes to freezing and thawing foods. I don’t think normally think about pulling it out until I need it most! But that is why I love my instant pot! I love being able to cook my frozen chicken in 45 minutes! Most foods are going to need at least 24 hours or longer depending on the temperature of your fridge. Make sure to leave plenty of time to ensure it’s had time to thaw.
- Think about the use of the food you are trying to freeze before taking it out for later. Some foods are better cooked from a frozen state while others should be thawed before used. The texture and taste can be greatly impacted by how long you let some food thaw, this is especially true for meats.
- Try to create freezer meals when you can. This is a sure way to make sure that the ingredients you freeze come out great every single time! There are so many different meals that are good for freezing. Right before you put the meal in the oven, freeze it and when you’re ready to cook it, take it out and put it in the oven. Check out this post with the 24 Best Freezer Meal Tips so that you can prepare your freezer meals right the first time!
No matter what kind of food you are working with, I hope that this guide has helped you learn to make the most out of the food you have!
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