Don’t pass up a great deal just because you don’t feel like you’ll consume all of a product before its expiration. Stock up and freeze it instead —you’ll be saving money in the long run!
1. How to Freeze Eggs
This may seem weird to you, but you can totally freeze fresh eggs. Normally raw eggs last about three weeks in your refrigerator, but when you freeze them after adding sugar or salt (depending on what you plan to use them for) and corn syrup, they can last up to a year!
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2. How to Freeze Soup
Freezing soup in smaller amounts makes it easier to grab individual portions, plus, it reheats much more evenly! Ladle your soup into muffin tins and pop in the freezer until solid. Then, remove the muffin tins from the freezer and place in a sink filled with an inch of hot water. Slide a knife around the outside of each of the soup muffins to coax them out, and place the mini-soup muffins in labeled freezer bags. Use within a month.
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3. How to Freeze Chopped Vegetables
Freezing fresh vegetables at their peak of ripeness allows you to enjoy them out of season. Just blanch chopped veggies in boiling water for a couple of minutes (this kills any bacteria), drain and allow to cool, then place in a single layer on a shallow tray and freeze until firm. Once veggies are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag, label, and store for up to 18 months.
4. How to Freeze Cookie Dough
Mold cookie dough into balls, or roll it into a log so that it can just be sliced when you’re ready to bake. Place balls or sliced dough on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for an hour or two. The dough will then keep its shape when it’s transferred into a freezer bag. This makes throwing it from the freezer to the oven a cinch. No need to wait until it’s thawed—just use within three months.
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5. How to Freeze Cheese
By freezing hard cheese, you’re ensuring it will remain edible for up to three months. Depending on how you plan to use the cheese, shred it before freezing, or wrap an entire block tightly in foil or plastic wrap before placing in a high-quality freezer bag. Use previously frozen cheeses for cooking rather than serving raw as the texture may change slightly.
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6. How to Freeze Crackers and Chips
Remove the sleeves of crackers from the original cardboard box, and leave unopened crackers and chips in their original wax or plastic packaging. If you have opened crackers and chips, place them in freezer bags or wrap them in plastic wrap. You’ll want to wrap them again in aluminum foil to help protect the crackers from moisture and freezer burn. You can freeze these snacks for up to six months and they’ll still taste fresh and crisp—just be sure to allow them plenty of room in the freezer so they don’t break!
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7. How to Freeze Sour Cream
The texture may change after you freeze and defrost sour cream (it’ll look a little like cottage cheese), but the taste will remain the same. Because of this, I wouldn’t freeze sour cream with the intention of using it on tacos or baked potatoes. Instead, use it for soups and casseroles. Whip sour cream with a whisk to distribute moisture evenly and freeze in its original container for up to six months.
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8. How to Freeze Bananas
Slicing up bananas, dipping them in lemon juice (so they don’t turn brown), then freezing them in a freezer-safe container or bag solves the issue of having more bananas than you can eat before they start rotting. These frozen slices work well in smoothies and can be thawed completely for cooking. Use frozen bananas within three months.
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9. How to Freeze Herbs
After washing fresh herbs, patting them dry, and chopping them up (if desired), spread herbs on a cookie sheet. Freeze until herbs are flat, then transfer to a freezer bag or airtight container. When you’re ready to use your frozen herbs, just toss them in a recipe—no need to thaw. Use within six months.
Bonus: You can also freeze herbs in ice-cube trays filled with water or olive oil.
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10. How to Freeze Milk
Since milk expands when frozen, you’ll have to empty out an inch or two before freezing. When you’re ready to use it, just place it in the refrigerator to thaw and shake the milk before serving. Freezing changes the texture of the milk once it’s thawed, so consider testing it out in small batches to make sure you like the results. You can store milk up to two months in the freezer before using.
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11. How to Freeze Cooked Chicken
Wrap large pieces of chicken in plastic wrap and then again in a freezer bag to protect against freezer burn. Place shredded or chopped chicken in freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as possible. (You can even use a straw to suck out the excess air, mimicking a vacuum seal.) Freeze for up to three months. I like to add frozen shredded or chopped pieces directly into pasta sauce, soup, or stir fry—it thaws as it cooks!
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12. How to Freeze Rice
Keeping individual portions of rice in your freezer works well for lunches and when you don’t have time to cook a fresh pot. Remove rice from the burner about 5 minutes before it’s fully cooked, and allow to cool for 30 minutes uncovered. Separate rice into one-cup batches and store in individual freezer bags for up to four months. When you’re ready, just microwave the rice for three minutes (it’ll finish cooking) and enjoy!
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13. How to Freeze Berries
Store cheap, seasonal berries in the freezer so you can enjoy them in muffins, smoothies, cereal and more throughout the year. Rinse, then completely dry berries before spreading them out on a cookie sheet. Freeze the berries in a single layer overnight, then transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag until you’re ready to use them. They’ll stay good for up to six months.
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14. How to Freeze Cream Cheese
To freeze cream cheese, keep it in its original container or packaging and wrap the container in plastic wrap or freezer paper before placing it in a freezer bag. When you’re ready to use it, put thawed cream cheese in a mixer or stir it vigorously with a whisk to help reduce graininess and clumps. If you store your cream cheese in the middle shelf and keep it at an even temperature, it should be good for up to five months.
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15. How to Freeze Lemon Zest
The next time you squeeze a lemon, consider saving the lemon zest for future use. When you freeze lemon zest, it’s good for up to a year. Obtain the zest with a fine grater and store it in a freezer-safe container or bag.
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16. How to Freeze Bread
Wrap homemade or store-bought bread tightly in foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper. Wrap it again in another layer of foil or plastic wrap to seal in the freshness and protect the bread from freezer burn. Finally, seal the ends with masking tape and write the date on the outside of the package with a permanent marker. Store for up to six months in the freezer and thaw for about three hours when you’re ready to eat it.
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