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If you’re only using your freezer to store microwave-ready meals, frozen pizza, ice cream, and popsicles, you’re missing out. Thanks to its superchilly nature, your freezer can be used to preserve many mealtime staples, keeping everything from bananas to cooked whole grains fresh far longer than refrigerated or at room temperature.
Overripe bananas can be saved by freezing chunks on parchment paper. This way, they’re ready to be tossed in a blender for smoothies, thawed and mashed for banana bread or oatmeal, or blitzed into “ice cream.”
The next time you’re baking a pie or a pizza, prep a double batch of dough. Tightly wrap the extra batch of dough in plastic wrap, transfer to a resealable freezer bag, and freeze. To use, defrost overnight before rolling out.
Few foods elevate the everyday more dramatically than homemade stock does, but simmering up a batch every time you want to cook soup or stews isn’t realistic. Instead, slowly cook a big batch when time permits — be it chicken, vegetable, or beef — and allow it to cool completely, then divvy it up into small portions. We typically freeze some in an ice cube tray (each well of a standard ice cube tray holds about two tablespoons), and some in one-cup portions (carefully fill a resealable freezer bag).
Whole grains like farro, quinoa, brown rice, and wheat berries bring plenty of flavor and fiber to the table, but they aren’t the quickest options. When you have extra time, simmer or steam a big batch, let it cool, and then freeze it in preportioned quantities in resealable freezer bags for future meals to come.
Instead of pouring leftover wine down the drain, save it for future use by freezing. Freeze wine in an ice cube tray (each well of a standard ice cube tray holds two tablespoons), transferring the frozen cubes to a resealable freezer bag. It’s important to note two things. One, don’t wait until wine is past its prime to freeze. Two, while drinking thawed frozen wine certainly won’t do you harm, flavor-wise, it’s only suitable for cooking.
Freeze homemade dough in premeasured portions. That way, when a craving hits, it’s easy to bake off one or two cookies at a time.
Freeze sliced bread to keep it fresh for up to six months.
Many berries like raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are readily accessible in the freezer aisle of your supermarket, but others like blackberries, boysenberries, and tayberries are less common. Consider freezing some of these seasonal delights for a rainy day; while they’ll lose some of their structural integrity once thawed, they’re perfect for adding to pies, oatmeal, crisps, and cobblers, or for making jam.
Fill ice cube trays with cold-brew coffee and freeze. Add these coffee cubes to coffee instead of ice for full-strength iced coffee.