With the summer peaking and the never-ending pandemic situation, many households are facing one big issue – stored food is going to waste. Moreover, with or without pandemic, sometimes, due to certain circumstances, we are compelled to buy food in large quantities.
The next step to buying food in excess is storing them properly. If stored improperly, most of it will go to waste.
So, if you are worried about how to store the excess food or how to store cooked meals, you are in the right place. We are here with some invaluable tips that will help you to reduce food waste by storing them in your freezer.
How to reduce food waste?
The freezer is your saviour, always to reduce food waste
You must be thinking, what happened to store your food in the fridge? Well, if you want to stock your excess food for a longer time, the freezer is your answer.
You can store the week’s food stock in the fridge, and the rest of the stock goes to the freezer. Many may ask, what food we can store in the freezer? The good news is, you can store a variety of food items and reduce food waste.
What food items can you store in the freezer?
You can store almost all the fruits and stop them from ripening using your freezer. Fruits such as apples, bananas, berries, peaches, plums, cherries, watermelon, and the list go on.
You can store food in the freezer in the following ways:
- Uncut and whole fruits.
- Cut the fruits into small portions.
- Lastly, always label the packets or containers.
Before storing, be sure to wash and dry the fruits properly. Pack the fruits in vacuum-sealed packs to keep the freshness intact. We also recommend you to remove the seeds of fruits such as cherries, plums, peaches before freezing as they can induce a bitter taste on freezing.
Another important step before you put firm fruits like apples, peaches in the freezer is blanching. Keep on reading to know more about blanching.
You can store the veggies as well in the freezer and reduce food waste. Leafy vegetables, beans, bell peppers, avocado, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, peas; you can keep them safe from going bad. What a relief, right!
Divide and pack the veggies in tiny edible portions in freeze safe packets or containers. However, unlike fruits, blanching is a must if you want to store veggies in the freezer.
3. Why is blanching important?
We won’t lie about the fact that freezing food changes the taste, texture, and quality of food. So, to overcome this issue we blanch the fruits and vegetables to keep the freshness and the quality of the food intact.
The freezing method for fruits and vegetables to reduce food waste is simple.
- Wash them thoroughly.
- Pat them dry.
In the case of the fruits and vegetables that require blanching, you need to
- Prepare boiling water and keep ice water on the side.
- Immerse the vegetables into the boiling water for a short period and transfer them immediately into ice-cold water.
Point to be noted, the blanching duration is different according to the vegetable.
Vegetables that do not require blanching are bell peppers and onions.
4. Meat and eggs
You can easily store raw, uncooked meat and even cooked meat in the freezer for a long time. So, if ever wondered about whether storing cooked meals in your freezer is a good idea or not; it is.
You can also cut the meat in small portions or can keep inside as a whole. In case you decide to store cooked meals in your freezer, use a glass tray or bowl.
You might be wondering how on earth can you freeze eggs? The answer is simple, you can freeze raw eggs, but not with the shells. Break the shells and store the yolks in ice trays. If stored properly, you can keep eggs frozen for a year. It is true!
5. Dairy products
Cheese, butter, sour cream, yoghurt, and even milk can be stored in the freezer. Store the milk in a plastic container that is freezer safe.
6. Half cooked and fully cooked meals
Undercooked pasta and rice are two things that you can store in your freezer. This way, when you thaw them and cook them again, it won’t get overcooked.
Also, you can freeze fully cooked meals. If you are a big FRIENDS fan, then you may notice that Monica often cooks lasagnas and freeze them, if necessary. Check this out to know about recipes that are safe to freeze.
Apart from these, you can further reduce food waste by storing the following in your freezer-
Now, the big question here is how to eat frozen food. Yes, thaw the food, of course! Now, how to thaw your food?
The best way to thaw your frozen food by keeping them in the fridge, especially if it is raw meat. If you thaw raw meat in any other method, you either have to cook, and eat the entire thing or store the cooked meat in the freezer.
There are four basic ways to thaw frozen food:
- Refrigerator thaw
- Coldwater thaw
- Microwave thaw
- Cook the frozen food directly
Refreezing the raw meat again will just degrade the meat quality.
How long can you store food in the freezer?
The standard duration of storing food frozen is three months. However, if you follow all the pre-freeze steps properly, you can easily keep them frozen for at least 8 to 9 months.
After crossing its shelf life in the freezer as well, the food gets freezer burn. This means that the texture, quality, and taste changes but you can still eat it. Warning: You may not like it!
So, these are some invaluable tips and tricks that will help you to reduce food waste in case you are having trouble storing large quantities of food. A slight heads up for you – the frozen food always tastes a bit different than the fresh ones.