Welcome to the final part of my fascinating freezer series – freezer staples! Do go back and read part one: Weird Crap You Have in Your Freezer, and part two: How To Defrost a Freezer Without Doing Anything Stupid.
I have to say I’ve been feeling pretty good about life since I defrosted my freezer last week. I’ve sorted out my freezer staples, arranged the shelves into three categories – meat, non-meat, random crap in bags – I’ve frozen leftover pancakes and soup and even some leftover cheese sauce. It’s been pretty empowering. On the back of defrosting the freezer I felt inspired to replace the broken headlight bulb in my car all by myself, and I’m almost feeling brave enough to call Sky and cancel my TV subscription.
In this post I want to go back to the tweet that started me thinking about my freezer, where I asked people about their freezer staples – cool or weird stuff they always kept in their freezers because it was actually super useful. I asked the question as an antidote to the fact that I always seem to have half a loaf of bread in my freezer, but never actually use it. (NOT useful.)
The tweet had over 100 replies, which just goes to show how people honestly need to get more hobbies, but it was really interesting for me to read everyone suggestions. I was heartened to find that around 83 of them were advising me to freeze lemon and lime wedges for gin and tonic – proof that I have my target audience on point.
Based on the answers to my tweet, plus my own research, I’ve pulled together a list of 11 freezer staples I think would be genuinely useful for you to have in your freezer for NOW AND ALWAYS.
Please leave me a comment and let me know what your freezer absolutely couldn’t do without.
Frozen fruit for drinks
I’ve never frozen a lemon wedge before, but what a genius idea! It makes me feel slightly ashamed to be honest that I’ve spent at least 20 years buying lemons, cutting out a wedge for a drink, leaving the rest in the fridge until it dries up and smells of onions, and then throwing it away.
As well as lemons you can freeze lime or orange wedges, or fruit like raspberries. You could even go with thick cucumber slices for gin? The added beauty of this is that the fruit doubles as an ice cube! Huzzah! Make lemon and lime wedges one of your freezer staples RIGHT NOW.
Freezing herbs is a very handy thing to do, especially if you have herbs in the garden that seem to want to take over the world in the summer, only to be reduced to sad looking stalks come winter.
There are lots of different ways to freeze herbs, but chopping them up and adding them to ice cube trays with a little water works well. Decant into freezer bags to reuse the trays.
Reverse hot water bottles
I am an absolute RADIATOR in bed at the best of times, especially in the summer or when my period is due, so this is a fabulous idea.
In the summer I freeze “hot” water bottles to take to bed when it is too hot to sleep.
— Helen (@teainthetub) January 14, 2019
The idea of freezing eggs caused much excitement on my Twitter thread. Several people casually tossed in the idea, as though surely everyone in the world knew how to freeze eggs, but it turns out most people didn’t even know you could freeze eggs.
Egg yolks on their own don’t seem to freeze terribly well but you can beat eggs and freeze them either in ice cube trays or freezer bags or tubs, ready to use for scrambled eggs or in recipes. It’s also a good way to save waste if you just need yolks for a recipes as you can freeze the whites on their own easily, again in bags or freezer containers.
This one is a godsend if chopping onions makes you cry or if, like me, you can’t get rid of the smell of onions from your hands. You can either bulk chop a load of onions to freeze yourself, or buy frozen onion ready to go from a supermarket.
Leftover wine for cooking
Leftover wine?? I know, it seems a bit unlikely, but actually living on my own with Belle, who doesn’t appear to be interested in drinking even though she is 17 this year, I quite often find myself pouring away wine that has been sat in the fridge for days. Stick leftovers in an ice cube tray instead and then decant into a freezer bag. When you need some for a recipe, just drop in a few cubes, easy peasy.
Left over wine in ice cube trays for cooking !
— Lazy Daisy Jones (@LazyDaisyJones) January 15, 2019
If you don’t have peas as one of your freezer staples then are you even a human being? If you’ve got a bag of peas you can make my easy pea soup anytime you want, which is reason enough I think.
My Gran always used to have Mini Milks in her freezer and I, and then my own children, would be on tenterhooks every time we visited, either waiting to be offered one or plucking up the courage to ask.
I want to always have Mini Milks in the freezer for my grandchildren, (the baby! Gah!), but to be strict enough with them that it feels like the most exciting thing in the world to get one.
How clever is this? I might not use actual bread, but I feel like I might genuinely use frozen breadcrumbs because who can be arsed to get out the processor just for a handful of breadcrumbs? It’s also a good way to use up stale bread.
This is a relatively recent discovery for me, but such a good one! Lots of people on twitter suggested freezing overripe bananas for banana bread, but you can also freeze them in slices for a snack, or in chunks to add to smoothies. You can also blend bananas straight from the freezer and they turn into a kind of ice cream.
For best results, freeze them laid out on a tray with greaseproof paper and then bag them when they’ve frozen. This stops them sticking together.
Emergency milk cubes
Last week I had a bit of a milk crisis, in that I ran out and couldn’t have a cup of tea. Calamity! Even worse, I forgot I had run out, and started to make a cup in a travel mug to take with me while Belle was off doing something and I had to wait in the car.
‘That’s okay,’ I thought, ‘I’ll pop in the shop after I’ve dropped her off and add some milk to my travel mug in the car.’
NOTE: If you are as cack-handed as me then it is difficult to do this without spilling milk on your trousers, in your boots and onto the floor of the car.
LESSON: freeze some milk into an ice cube tray and when you next run out, just drop a couple of cubes into your tea. Far more civilised/less potential for a rotten-milk-smelling car come the summer.
What are your freezer staples?