Don’t fear buying in bulk. It’s a great way to save money when food’s on sale, and all you need to do is freeze instead of refrigerate.
- Produce: Slice up vegetables, such as bell peppers, and lay them on a cookie sheet before freezing. When frozen, put the produce in freezer-friendly plastic bags for easy storage and consume within three months. “Mushrooms freeze really well,” says Suzuki. “Cooked mushrooms have a deep, intense flavor and that gets intensified when they’re frozen.
- Some vegetables with a high water content, such as salad greens, celery, cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes, don’t freeze well. The same holds true for raw potatoes. To circumvent a bad freezer experience, try lightly cooking some of these vegetables first, either by steaming or sautéing, before freezing. You might have to do a few trial runs, but the savings will be worth it.
- Great sale on meat? Get on it! Freezing already cooked meat, whether it’s poultry, fish or chicken, can last for several months and be a lifesaver at mealtime.
- “The key to freezing is ensuring there’s as little air as possible in the container,” says Debbie Koenig, food writer and cookbook author. “Air is what makes food get freezer burnt.” Koenig recommends using freezer-specific bags with a zipper and sucking out the remaining air with a straw before sealing.
- When freezing, always remember to put a frozen-on date on the bag and note what the food is. “The more guesswork you eliminate the easier your life in the kitchen,” says Suzuki.