If you didn’t know already, we’re here to tell you: Your freezer is the secret to eating healthier, getting dinner on the table faster, and making life just a little bit easier. And we all need that right now. Of course, leftover soups, casseroles, and baked goods are made for the freezer, but there are plenty of other foods you can freeze. Avocados, for starters. (Yes, really!)
Here are 7 surprising foods you can freeze — and how to do it.
We love avocados as much as anyone (and everyone), but it’s also one frustrating food. Keeping them in the fridge works for a day or two, but if you got overzealous at the store, go ahead and freeze your bounty to enjoy later. Here’s how:
Pick avocados that yield to gentle pressure, cut in half, and remove the pits. Puree with 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice for every 1 avocado and pack into a sealable container, leaving 1/2 to 1-inch headspace. Or portion into an ice cube tray to freeze, then moving the frozen cubes to another container. Either way, your avocado will keep for three to four months.
It’s so sad when you go to grab that block of cheese only to find it’s grown blue fuzz. Avoid this by freezing hard and semi-hard cheeses. (Never freeze cream cheese, cottage cheese, or ricotta — the liquid often separates, leaving you with less-desirable texture).
For best results, freeze a whole block or a large chunk, wrapped in freezer-weight plastic wrap or bags to keep moisture out. If you can’t find these and only have aluminum foil, then wrap cheese in aluminum foil, then put that in a plastic bag. Use within six months for the best flavor and texture.
No need to worry about that last glass cabernet going to waste! Simply pour the leftover into an ice cube tray, freeze, and transfer the cubes to a sealable zip-top bag. Of course, you probably won’t want to drink it, but it makes a great flavor-booster for a variety of sauces. The wine will keep for up to 3 months.
4. Whipped Cream
Heavy cream that sits in the fridge, especially when it’s open, can go bad fairly quickly, so freezing is a great solution — but you’ll want to whip it first. Defrosted cream is unlikely to form peaks. Make your whipped cream, then portion into dollops on a baking sheet. Freeze, then remove and store in a freezer container for one to two months.
Eggs are useful for so many things, it’s hard to imagine them lasting long enough to require freezing. But, maybe you want to stock up? If that’s the case, you can freeze eggs whole or freeze the yolks and the whites separately.
For whole eggs, mix the yolks and whites, then, to avoid a grainy yolk, add 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup (about 5 eggs). Strain the beaten eggs through a sieve and transfer to a container with at least 1/2 inch headspace, or pour into an ice-cube tray, for individual cubes roughly equivalent to 1 large egg. If you want to freeze just the yolks, follow the same process as above. To freeze just the whites, follow the same process, minus the salt. Frozen eggs keep for up to a year.
Few things are more flavorful than fresh herbs. They can make all the difference when tossed into salads, strewn on grilled organic meats and sustainable fish, or chopped and throw into sauces and marinades. But they tend to wilt and go brown surprisingly fast. For best results, first wash, dry, and chop your herbs. Then measure out a tablespoon into each slot of an ice cube tray, add olive oil, and freeze. Transfer the frozen cubes to a zip-top bag for up to three months.
7. Coconut Milk
Once you open a carton or can of coconut milk, the taste and quality can quickly go downhill. Freeze it in an ice cube tray, then pull out the cubes to flavor soups and add creaminess to smoothies. A standard ice cube tray is two tablespoons, which works great for smoothies. If you’re cooking with coconut milk, remember that 4 tablespoons (or 2 cubes) makes 1/4 cup. The coconut milk will stay good for about three months.