Few people understand how freezing protects food and may get anxious about the process, but now is the time to master your freezer at home. After all, it’s nature’s greatest preservative.
By freezing food, you’re pressing the 'pause' button; it will not lose any nutrients or deteriorate in any way. There is power in frozen food – it's a great way to preserve vegetables and fruit that pack a nutritional punch.
What can you freeze? (HINT – much more than you think!)
- BREAD: Sliced bread, bread crumbs, and any baked goods
- FRUIT: Frozen berries, sliced bananas, pineapple, mangoes and peaches which are perfect for making smoothies or topping yogurt and oatmeal.
- HERBS: Hard herbs, or ice cubes of soft herbs in oil
- LIQUIDS: Homemade stocks or soups
- MEALS: Left-over curries, stews and dahls
- VEG: Chopped onions and tomatoes; blanched broccoli florets; green beans; spinach; cauliflower; chopped butternut squash can form the foundation of the majority of your meals.
- TOFU: Sliced tofu (with parchment paper between!)
And what should you not freeze? (Very little!)
- Veggies with high water content and delicate leaves - cucumber, salads, lettuces etc.
- Eggs (unless cracked into small containers)
- Artichokes, chicory, aubergine, potatoes (unless they’re mashed), radishes, or sweet potatoes don’t freeze well.
One key rule of thumb is that there ought to be a culinary process between defrosting and using something from the freezer, and then refreezing. This is key if you eat meat and fish.
Do some foods do better than others in the freezer, and why?
Foods with higher water content freeze less well. This is due to the fact that water expands as it freezes; the water content of each cell breaks through its cell walls within the food, and thus on defrosting can present a soggy mess! This is often why we see so much fluid present around food that’s been taken out of the freezer to thaw overnight.
For me, pre-prepared, cooked food is far better. Tupperware for batch cooking is perfect. Curries, dahls, soups, stews, etc. all of these slow-cooked ‘one-pot’ style dishes freeze totally perfectly.