It’s not just for microwave meals and ice cream. Your freezer is an incredible tool for keeping all sorts of kitchen staples fresh. Be it bread, butter, broth, or walnuts, some things keep better below freezing.
Nuts are incredibly healthy, and expensive. It’s far more economical to buy them in bulk, but they tend to go stale fast. To keep them fresh longer, store them in your freezer.
They won’t need to thaw before you use them in baking or cooking. And as long as the nuts are dry when you freeze them, they won’t clump together in a solid mass. That said, if you’re going to eat them raw, like over your yogurt or pancakes, you might want to give them 10-15 minutes to come to room temperature before you take a bite.
Sliced bread goes stale fast, even in the fridge. When tightly wrapped and stored in the freezer, it can last several months. You can thaw the entire loaf at once by placing it in your fridge overnight. Or, you can thaw one slice at a time by placing it directly in the toaster.
Broth and Leftover Sauce
People who prepare their own broths at home typically store it in the freezer, but this is an excellent option for store-bought broths, too. When you have less than a recipe’s worth at the bottom of a carton, throw the remnants in an ice cube tray to freeze it. Just be sure you know the volume of any given ice cube, which is usually somewhere between two and four tablespoons. Once frozen, store the broth cubes in a sealed freezer bag for easy use in any recipe.
Ice cube trays also work well for freezing and storing leftover tomato sauce, pumpkin puree, and adobo sauce leftover from cans of chipotle peppers.
Frozen butter is a baker’s best friend. You need ice-cold butter for biscuits and pies. And, in a pinch, it can be grated and used the same way softened butter is in other recipes. Plus, keeping it frozen means it stays fresh longer, allowing you to buy high-quality butter in bulk at a lower price.
Cheese is an excellent choice for freezer storage, especially if you’re prone to buying big blocks of it to save money. Simply shred the blocks into a ziplock bag, label, and store in the freezer. You can, of course, also do this with pre-shredded cheeses.
The cheese needs to be grated or shredded, so it’s easy to defrost. Doing it in this way leaves you with a twenty-minute defrost time, rather than the hours it would take to defrost a solid cube of cheddar.
Sure, you can make banana bread when the yellow fruit starts turning brown. But, if you’re not in the mood to bake, simply peel and seal the overripe fruit in a freezer-safe bag. The ripe, frozen bananas can be used in smoothies or for baking later on.
By storing leftover cooked rice in the freezer, you have an easy single-serve, side-dish at your fingertips. Place cooked and cooled rice in a sealed, sandwich-size baggie. Label and place your bag of rice in the freezer.
When ready to use, defrost the rice by microwaving it in a loosely covered, microwave-safe container for one minute at a time until it’s heated through. Fluff the rice in between each minute for even cooking.
Items like bread, butter, or nuts are standard to our kitchens, and far more affordable when bought in bulk. A freezer keeps items fresh for longer, making the bulk purchase worthwhile. So don’t overlook your ice-cold storage space. Put it to good use, and you’ll save your kitchen staples from spoiling all while lowering your grocery bill.
And for more items that store in the freezer, check out out these 7 Vegetables That Freeze Well.