can I freeze eggs?

Foods You Can Freeze

Waffles

There are several reasons we freeze foods. Safety is probably the biggest one. Frozen foods last a lot longer than most foods that aren’t frozen. Convenience is another reason. You can make a big batch of soup or chili, then freeze some to eat later. Freezing can also reduce food waste, by allowing you to keep something to use later, that might otherwise go bad before you can use it. I think right now, we all need to do what we can to not waste food!

People always seem surprised at some of the foods that I freeze. I’ve been getting more questions lately, so I made a list of some things you can freeze- but maybe didn’t know you can freeze.

If you find something in the frozen food section at the store remember- if they can freeze it- you can freeze it. Part of my pantry challenge is to eat foods I already have, without going to the grocery store. My frozen foods are what really make this easier. Besides the typical meats and veggies, I have some fun ingredients to work with in my freezer. I can also extend the life of some of my foods by freezing them.

So here is a quick list that I came up with, in no particular order.

1. Eggs: While they keep for a pretty long time you can find yourself with more eggs than you can use. Crack the eggs and place them in ice cube trays or small containers- and freeze. No special instructions. Some people prefer to add a tablespoon of water to each egg. I have tried with and without water and both seemed fine. You can also freeze the yolks and whites separately. Add a little water to yolks when freezing them on their own. Don’t freeze eggs in their shells.

2. Avocados: This really prompted a lot of feedback. I posted a recipe for guacamole once and mentioned that you could freeze avocados. I got a lot of response to that. Most people said they never even considered freezing avocados. They freeze great. Frozen avocados work best used in dips and smoothies later. Don’t expect to slice them to top your salad after they were frozen, but they mash up great and would still work on toast. Just cut in half, remove the pit and scoop out the flesh. Dip in lemon juice and place in a freezer bag. Squeeze out any air and seal. You can also just mash them up before freezing. The lemon juice keeps their color better. You could use lime juice, if you like.

3. Pasta and Rice: Decided to lump these together since the information for both is about the same. Easiest way is to just freeze the pasta or rice in portion sized baggies. Thaw in fridge or microwave when ready to use. This is a great way to eat more brown rice, at least it works for me. Rice takes 15-20 minutes to cook. Brown rice takes double that amount of time, at least. I cook up a big batch of brown rice, portion it out and freeze it. Now I can grab a baggie whenever I want. Same for pasta. Not so much the time it takes to cook as getting out that water and getting it boiling. Or sometimes I just cook too much pasta. Freezing the extra means I can have pasta when ever I want.

4. Milk: There are some problems with freezing milk. It will separate so it won’t be quite like the fresh stuff you pour on your cereal, but milk that was frozen is perfect for baking and cooking. I don’t drink much milk. This way, rather than tossing milk, I can freeze the extra and use it for cooking later on. Also easier than me trying to keep milk on hand, when I rarely drink it.

5. Whole Grains/ Whole Grain Flours: This isn’t so much about whether you can freeze them, but rather, why you should. All whole grains contain the germ and bran, which contain fat. Over time, they can become rancid. Don’t panic, doesn’t happen all that quickly, but if whole grains are stored in a hot kitchen they will develop an off taste. Also depends on how much you buy and how quickly you go through it. The last few bags of brown rice I brought suggested refrigerating after opening the package. If you don’t have the freezer space- store them as cool and dry as you can and don’t buy more that you can use in 6-9 months, or so.

6. Cheeses: Yes, you can freeze cheese. Harder cheeses seem to hold up better. There will be textural changes, more noticeable in soft cheeses. If you have more cheese than you can use, freezing will extend its shelf life.

7. Crackers: Some of you are wondering- why freeze crackers? The answer – to keep them fresh and crisp long past the expiration date. I was at a bakery outlet store one time and one of the employees shared that tip with me. There was a great sale on crackers but I was worried they would get stale. She told me to freeze them, in the package. She also said to leave them in the package until they came up to room temp, when I wanted to use them. I left one pack out and froze the rest. Several months later opened the pack I had left out of the freezer- the crackers were stale. All of the packs I had frozen stayed crisp.

8. Cheesecake:  Not sure why so many people ask me about cheesecake. Does Sara Lee sound familiar?  Yes, you can freeze cheesecake. I like to freeze slices on a baking sheet, then wrap in plastic wrap after they are frozen solid. Defrost with the wrapping loosened, but still on. Best defrosted in the fridge for a few hours.

9. Grapes : A lot of people don’t realize that grapes can be frozen. In fact, frozen grapes are one of my favorite hot weather snack foods. Grapes, like berries, can be frozen by just placing clean fruit on a baking sheet until they are solid. Then transfer to a freezer container or freezer bag. You can eat them right out of the freezer- or use them in cooking. I often make cobbler out of frozen grapes.

10. Baked Goods: Most baked goods freeze great. Cookies, cakes, pies. I prefer to freeze pies unbaked- then bake when ready to use. Again, think about some of the stuff you see in the freezer section at the store. I like to take my cookie dough and shape it into balls. Freeze the balls of dough on a baking sheet- then transfer to a freezer bag. When I need a few cookies I take them right out of the freezer- place on a baking sheet and bake- just add a few minutes to the baking time.

11. Soups, T.V.Dinners etc: Freezing meals is one of the best ways to use your freezer. For one thing, you can freeze stuff before you get sick of it. I know you LOVE your  chili- but do you really want to eat it all week? I bet not. By freezing it in portions that are practical for you and your family, you can have chili when you want, without having to make a fresh batch every time. Again, if Stouffer’s can freeze it, you can freeze it. Mac and cheese, stuffed peppers, sliced turkey with gravy and mashed potatoes. Have fun with it. A lot of people save take out containers and use those. You can also buy containers that are used over and over- so the cost  isn’t so much over time. I make big batches of vegetable soup- then puree it. I freeze it in both pint and quart containers. Great for a quick lunch or if friends stop by. It can be eaten as is, or you can add rice or pasta- you already have some in the freezer!! I will sometimes use this soup as a of pasta sauce.

12. Breakfast Foods: Really this is a continuation of number 11. You can freeze waffles, pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, smoothies etc. Makes breakfast time a little easier and you will probably like your waffles better than most of what you can buy at the store. Will save you a lot of money, too.

!3. Lemons and Limes: If you are like me, I prefer to have fresh lemons and limes on hand for drinks and cooking. However, they can go bad before I get to using them. I hate to find a fuzzy lemon at the bottom of the fridge. You can freeze them a couple of different ways, depending on how you want to use them later. For adding to drinks later, just cut the fruit in wedges or slices. Place on a small tray and pop in the freezer until solid. Once frozen, remove the fruit from the tray and place in a freezer bag or container. Now they are easy to grab right out of the freezer to add to your favorite beverage. For use in cooking, I zest the fruit and place the zest in a freezer container. Then I juice the fruit and pour the juice in ice cube trays. Once frozen, I can pop out the lemon or lime juice cubes and place in a freezer bag or container. Now, when I want lemon or lime juice for a recipe, I just grab a cube or two.

Some Extra Freezing Info

When it comes to vegetables a general rule is that if it is a vegetable that you cook- then it is a vegetable you can freeze. Works most of the time- we don’t normally cook lettuce and it doesn’t freeze well.   Most vegetable are blanched before freezing- that means placed in boiling water, then put in ice water, drained then frozen. This stops certain enzymes from working and keeps the veggies tasting fresher. Some veggies, like onions or peppers- don’t need blanching. You just cut them up- place on a baking sheet and place in freezer until solid, then transfer to a freezer container or bag.

Most fruits don’t get blanched- just washed, cut up if bigger fruits, and frozen. Some in syrup and some frozen “dry”.

High salt foods are not great for freezing. Think about it, we use  salt to melt ice. Salty foods, like cured meats, don’t freeze well and will get an off flavor if frozen too long. Freeze them if you must- but use as soon as you can, within a few months, for best flavor.