Do you find yourself constantly throwing away food? From milk to fruit, there are many ways you can stop those usual suspects from ending up in the bin. Make proper use of your freezer and you’ll find you save on food waste, time and ultimately money. Want to know how to freeze bananas? Or how to make wilting herbs, lemons and even veg scraps go further? Here are our top zero-waste freezer hacks to help you.
What can I freeze?
You might be surprised how much you can freeze. Going away for the weekend? Milk, bread and grated cheese are commonly wasted staples that freeze well. You can also freeze raw or cooked chicken, fish and other meats. Fruit, chillies and ginger, as well as some vegetables that don’t have a high water-content freeze well (see below). Freezing your leftovers is a great way to save food (and time on busy weeknights), just don’t forget to portion and label it so you don’t play freezer roulette later on.
You can’t freeze vegetables that have a high water content, such as lettuce or cucumbers. Avoid freezing whole eggs, but separated egg yolks and whites do freeze (see our guide here). Yoghurt, single cream and low-fat cream cheeses don’t freeze well either.
Here are 8 more freezer hacks to help you cut food waste:
1. Freeze chillies and ginger whole
Freeze chillies, peeled fresh ginger and peeled fresh turmeric, then grate them straight from frozen into your cooking. You can also freeze fresh curry leaves, kaffir lime leaves and bay leaves too.
2. Got fruit that needs using?
Chop and prep fruit into your favourite combinations. We like peeled and chopped bananas, chopped apples and whole, fresh berries. Freeze the lot to add direct to your blender with a splash of milk, water or fresh juice, then blitz into an ice-cold morning smoothie.
3. Freeze wrinkly grapes
Once frozen, you can eat grapes as a cooling snack or use as an alternative to ice cubes that won’t dilute into your drink!
4. Smoothie ice lollies
Pour leftover morning smoothies or leftover fruit juice into lolly moulds for a healthy treat. Or make boozy versions by subbing in Sangria or Campari. Here are a few more ice lolly recipes to help you use up a glut of fruit.
5. Save wilting herbs and make flavoured butter
Fresh herbs don’t freeze well just as they are. Chop wilting herbs into a pack of butter, along with garlic, chillies and lemon zest if you like, then freeze it in slices to add direct to risottos, pasta, soups and stews. You could also add chopped herbs to ice cube trays and top up with olive oil to add direct to your cooking.
6. Stock up!
Store veg peelings, herb stalks and chicken bones in a bag in the freezer, adding to it as you go to boil into a tasty stock later on.
7. Save leftover squeezed lemon and lime rinds
Sick of binning squeezed lemon and lime rinds? Freeze them to add whole to juice or water as an alternative, zesty ice cube. Or grate them straight into rice or couscous. Here are more clever waste free ways to use up squeezed citrus peel.
8. Instant flavour capsules
Pour dregs of red wine, leftover gravy or stock into ice cube trays to pop straight into your cookpot.
A word or warning: while it’s completely safe to freeze food, do be careful when reheating frozen meat, fish and any cooked leftovers. Defrost them fully before reheating or cooking, and make sure they’re piping hot all the way through. It is safe to eat fruit and vegetables straight from frozen.