The freezer is a busy parent’s best friend. Whether you’re in a rush to turn out something tasty for dinner or you overestimated the amount of bolognese you’d made, the freezer is always there to give and to receive like a good friend.
And, as any savvy shopper knows, buying in bulk is often far cheaper when it comes to meat and frozen veggies. Once you have some freezer bags and containers on standby, you can divide your loot into portions to freeze, refrigerate or cook for dinner.
Top freezer tips
The freezer is generally pretty fool-proof, though it’s easier than you’d think to take a misstep and ruin a potential dinner or treat.
Ensure that all food is properly covered before freezing to avoid freezer burn. While freezer burn isn’t dangerous, it’ll change the taste of the food so it’s not nearly as tasty.
A full freezer is more economical to use because the cold air has less work to do to circulate. If your freezer has gaps in it, fill bottles of water to use as fillers or stock up on foods like bread and frozen peas that you’re bound to use—even if it’s a couple of months down the line.
Keep two freezer-safe containers in the freezer: one for fruit, one for vegetables. Use them to store leftovers that you can then make into a smoothie or soup. Chances are you’ll end up with small amounts of different things, but it will all taste great when blended.
Another way of storing small portions is in an ice-cube tray. This is ideal for homemade sauces, pesto and even baby food. Depending on the amount needed, you can break out as many cubes as you need.
We recommend letting cooked food cool down before you pop it in the freezer so the freezer doesn’t have to work so hard at cooling it.
The golden rule is to never re-freeze food that has thawed. This can cause bacteria to thrive and make the food dangerous to eat. Like your mam always said: if in doubt, throw it out.
Label and date everything that goes into the freezer. It’s a good idea to keep red and blue markers in your kitchen so that you can use the red for cooked food and the blue for raw.