7 Unexpected Foods You Can Freeze to Prevent Food Waste
Cutting down on food waste has a lot to do with proper storage. Extend the life of some of your favorites by taking note of these surprising foods you can freeze.
Cutting down on your household food waste is a learning process. But considering that each American is estimated to waste around 220 pounds of food per year, taking the time to pay extra attention to, and educate yourself about, your food storage and consumption habits is an entirely necessary endeavor. Fortunately, there are several (sometimes surprising) foods you can freeze for future use—and avoiding spoilage makes your kitchen an instantly more sustainable place.
When your unused food gets tossed in the trash, it ends up in the landfill, which lacks the oxygenation for proper decomposition. Instead, food rots and releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), more than 70 billion pounds of food waste enters landfills every year.
Want to curb your contribution? Freeze food you're not quite ready to consume!
What Makes a Food Freezable?
"You can consider freezing foods that have a texture that will not be altered by the defrosting process," says Amy Gorin, RD, a plant-based registered dietitian and founder of Plant Based with Amy.
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This list is relatively long, and includes common kitchen items like produce, meat, starches, bread, and even some dairy.
What's the Best Way to Freeze Food?
According to Gorin, freezing your go-to foods is more about packaging and preservation than the makeup of the snack itself. She suggests taking simple steps to ensure an effective freeze, such as allowing food to cool, wrapping tightly in foil, and sealing it in an air-tight container.
Wondering which items in your refrigerator or pantry could qualify for a spot in the freezer? Here, seven surprising foods you can freeze.
7 Unexpected Foods You Can Freeze
Nuts have a low water content, making them a prime candidate for the freezer. When properly stored, popular options like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios can keep for up to one year!
2. Fresh Herbs
If you're familiar with those quickly withering herbs that you totally intended to use, you'll love these tips.
Stash on-stem herbs in an airtight container, create "herb bricks" by stuffing the greenery (tightly) in your favorite Stasher bag, or chop, mix with water, and preserve in an ice cube tray. Voila! Herbs that stay fresh for up to six months.
Bread is an easy one, freezable with no ultimate alteration of structure or texture. Toss your sliced loaf into the freezer and defrost piece by piece as needed. For longer storage (around six months) wrap the loaf tightly in foil.
4. Uncooked Bacon
Extra bacon post-brunch prep? Your freezer is a friend to raw bacon stored in an unopened package or airtight wrapping, maintaining its freshness for one to three months.
Tofu of any firmness can, indeed, be frozen. In fact, freezing your tofu pulls moisture from the block, restructuring the foodstuff and making meal prep even easier (and perhaps even tastier) once you're ready to eat.
Remove from its original packaging, drain, pat dry, and freeze, either chopped or as an intact block.
Both salted and unsalted butter are prime candidates for freezing—perhaps the ideal storage situation for fans of regular baking. Unsalted butter can be stashed in the freezer for five to nine months, while salted keeps for one year.
7. Cooked Grains
Extra rice or quinoa? Slide thin layers of intact grains (stored in thin bags or layered with parchment in an airtight container) into the freezer for an easy meal down the line.
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