Guys, food waste is a real problem.
We’re sometimes guilty of it.
You’re probably sometimes guilty too.
Collectively, we pretty much suck as a society when it comes to reducing food waste.
Did ya’ll know that roughly one third of all the food produced for human consumption in the world is wasted? That amounts to an astronomical 1.3 billion tonnes of food waste per year. If you don’t believe me have a look at these stats from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Shocking shameful right?
In the developed world, we’re basically throwing away 95-115 kg of food per capita with food waste coming from foods in later stages in the supply chain.
What does this mean?
Well, we suck when it comes to preserving and consuming the food we buy. Instead, we tend to over-buy and opt to toss food that can otherwise be saved or have its shelf life extended (for months at a time) by simply utilizing our freezer.
Freezing foods including cooked leftovers is an incredible way to reduce food waste folks. Not only does it help reduce the amount of food waste you’re producing but it helps minimize grocery expenses by insuring you’ve got a stocked freezer of delicious foods at all times.
Freezing food is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stretch that grocery budget and eat up (literally) every morsel of food you bring into your home.
With that in mind here are 25 foods you may not know you can freeze. Keep these in mind next time you’re tempted to toss them out with the trash.
25 Foods that can be Frozen to Reduce Food Waste
Anyone else avoid buying bags of cheap avocados because they know they’ll never eat them up in time? Well, you can totally freeze them and enjoy them at a later date folks. I’ve recently started doing this and I’m in LOVE with being able to pull fresh avocado from my freezer for a delicious quick lunch or dinner!
To freeze, give your avocados a good wash (skin still on), split them in half lengthwise and coat the flesh in a little lemon juice. We buy this lemon juice in bulk (great for recipes, baking and drinks) because we rarely buy whole lemons. Put them in a Ziploc bag and try to get ALL of that air out (using a straw helps). Pop them into the freezer and you’re good to go.
Other freezing options including dicing and mashing which also totally awesome when frozen too. The key to freezing avocado is all about lemon juice so make sure to add some – 1 tsp per ripe avocado should be sufficient to prevent browning.
2. Bread Crumbs
I’m constantly freezing bread crumbs guys.
I make my own Italian style crumbs from stale bread and pop them into the freezer where they keep for months. Making bread crumbs is super easy. I lay my stale bread out on a flat tray and let it sit on top of my fridge until the bread is totally dehydrated ( a week maybe?). I then pull out my food processor (I cannot begin to tell you how awesome this thing is for less than 30 bucks) and grind the chunks of dried bread with a little Parmesan, dried parsley, oregano, basil and rosemary until gorgeous bread crumbs form. Super easy and awesomely frugal too.
Whether you’re dealing with store bought or home made crumbs freezing them is a a breeze. I use these large reusable freezer bags and love them. I simply spoon my crumbs into the bags and pop them into the freezer.
Nuts are expensive am I right? So, if you’ve bought too many or know you wont be eating them right away why not keep them fresh by freezing them and reduce food waste? Simply wrap your nuts in plastic wrap and seal them in a ziploc bag. Then, if you need them for baking, cooking or just to snack on – pop em out and enjoy. They thaw in practically no time.
Wrap extra chocolate in tin foil and keep it in your freezer. I keep my baking chocolate and left over pieces of chocolate bars and other chocolates frozen because otherwise they’ll spoil before we get around to using or eating it. Frozen chocolate thaws out in no-time which is an added bonus!
We consume flour like it’s nobodies business up in these parts so I rarely need to freeze. But, when flour goes on sale and I want to stock up I keep it frozen to prevent moisture and other nasties from contaminating my flour. To freeze simply put your flour in an airtight container and pop it in the freezer.
6. Pizza Dough
Every time I make homemade pizza I always triple our quadruple my dough recipe. Then, once my dough has proofed I divide it into equal portions and freeze it. This makes pizza nights a breeze in our house. The dough can be easily frozen by wrapping in cling wrap and putting in a resealable bag.
7. Lemon Zest
Next time you have to juice a lemon for a recipe why not pop the rind in the freezer to reduce food waste? Before juicing, grate off all that delicious zest and put it in a small Ziploc which I guarantee will come in handy next time you’re baking and you don’t have a fresh lemon to zest.
Eggs can be frozen for up to a year! I’m serious folks. You can’t freeze eggs in their shell so this does take some prep work. But, next time eggs are on sale you can crack them into silicone muffin tins (we use this mold and absolutely love it) and freeze them. Once they’re completely frozen pop em out and store them in a Ziploc bag. It really is that easy. They can be stored for up to one year but need to be used immediately once they are thawed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made an omelette in a pinch thanks to pulling out frozen eggs from the freezer!
Put fresh ears of corn in boiling hot water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pull em out of the hot water and cool them off in a colander by running cold water over them. Once you can handle them you can either freeze them whole or cut the kernels off. Seal the corn in reusable plastic Ziploc (make sure to get as much air out as you can) in your freezer until you need to use them.
Pop whole sticks of fresh butter in your freezer where they’ll keep for up to a year.
Freeze buttermilk in a silicone mold in equal portions to reduce food waste. (I usually measure out a 1/4 cup at a time). Freeze and then place frozen buttermilk in a resealable container. This is a great option for baking and will prevent buying buttermilk every time a recipe calls for it.
When cheese goes on sale I tend to stock up. I love buying blocks of Mozzarella and Cheddar and freezing it. I chop my blocks of cheese in meal sized portions, wrap in cling wrap and store in a large Ziploc bag. When a recipe calls for cheese I simply pop out a chunk and I’m good to go!
13. Whole Tomatoes
Rather than letting your tomatoes over-ripen and spoil – reduce food waste by giving them a good wash and pop them in your freezer. Frozen whole tomatoes can’t be eaten the same way a fresh tomato can but they make a wonderful and easy addition to soups, stews and other meals that require tomato.
Separate your peeled cloves and freeze your garlic. Once the individual cloves are frozen pile them into a resealable bag and keep them in your freezer. Alternatively, chop fresh garlic and freeze it in a silicone mold (ice cube trays work really well for this) in meal sized portions.
15. Fresh Herbs
Rather than tossing fresh herbs that are about to turn, give them a good wash and freeze them in resealable bags. They key to successfully freezing fresh herbs is making sure they are good and dry before you pop them in the freezer. This makes cooking super easy since you’ve always got a stash of fresh herbs in the freezer. I’ve frozen: parsley, basil, rosemary, cilantro and oregano with great success!
16. Raw Cookie Dough
Got left over cookie dough? Freeze it for the next time you crave something sweet. Often times I have some cookie dough left over from baking a batch and don’t want to pop in a second (half empty) tray of cookies into the oven. I wrap it really well in cling wrap and seal it in a resealable bag. I then store it in the freezer until I’m ready to cook it! Once I’ve got a variety of frozen cookie dough I often cook a large batch of mix n match cookies!
17. Cooked Rice & Pasta
Next time you cook too much pasta or rice reduce food waste by freeze it. Rather than it sitting in the fridge as a leftover you probably wont eat put it in a resealable plastic bag and freeze it for a quick lunch or dinner!
When we have open bottles of wine that we know we wont get around to using or drinking I love to freeze it in silicone ice cube trays to be used for cooking later on! When a recipe calls for a little white or red wine I just pull a few cubes straight out of my freezer and I’m good to go!
19. Ripe Bananas
Pop ripe bananas with the skins still on in the freezer and pull them out when you’re in the mood to bake a delicious banana bread!
20. Uncooked Bacon
Bacon is expensive in these parts folks. So, when it goes on sale I stock my freezer. Pop fresh bacon in it’s original package straight into the freezer for later use. Sometimes, I chop it up and freeze it in smaller portions that can be used to put together super easy and quick meals like pasta carbonara or as a topping for a pizza!
Whether you make your own or buy it prevent bread from going stale or molding, reduce food waste by keeping it in the freezer. We always have a good supply of sandwich bread, bagels and flour tortillas sitting in our freezer!
22. Whipped Cream
Drop mounds of whipped cream onto a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze. Store frozen mounds of whipped cream in a resealable plastic bag. Whipped cream freezes and thaws remarkably well and it’s always awesome to have it available as a quick and delicious dessert topping!
If freezing fresh herbs isn’t your thing you can always make a batch of fresh pesto with some garlic, nuts of choice and fresh herbs. Reduce food waste by freezing in silicone molds and use as needed!
24. Baked Goods
Whenever I bake… I bake! I often make double, triple or even quadruple the amount because once I’m working (and dirtying my kitchen) I rather produce a ton of delicious food. Baked goods freeze really well once they are cooked and cooled and are awesome to have on hand if you’re in the mood for a sweet treat or you have unexpected dinner guests!
Freeze ginger whole with its skin on! Frozen ginger lasts for months and is super easy to grate and peel. Add to your favorite recipes and it’s as good as fresh!
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