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Thursday, November 12

Freezer Cooking 101 : November

Whew!!!  You put in the effort and did a slew of holiday baking for the family…now you have enough leftovers to feed an army!  But they don’t have to go to waste…  Read on for a guide of what to freeze, and how to freeze it.

If you're planning ahead, be sure to check out our Make-Ahead Menu!!

Uncooked stuffing
  • Freeze for: Three months.  Shape into one-inch balls, then open-freeze on a tray lined with baking parchment. When frozen, transfer to a ziploc bag.
  • Bake from frozen, adding 10 mins to the cooking time. Ensure they are hot through to the center before serving.

Homemade sauces (including cranberry)
  • Freeze for: Three months.  Once cooled, transfer to ziploc bags, seal firmly and freeze in a flat layer on a baking tray. Once frozen, remove the tray and put the sauces back into the freezer.
  • Defrost by placing the bag in a bowl of lukewarm water until defrosted, then reheat until piping hot.

  Fresh herbs
  • Freeze for: Two months. Finely chop soft herbs and place in ice cube trays, top up with water and freeze. Woody herbs can be frozen whole in ziploc bags. Tie rosemary, bay leaves and parsley stems together.
  • Don't defrost.  Use from frozen.

  Egg whites
  • Freeze for: Six months.  Place in ziploc bags and freeze in a flat layer (see homemade sauces, above). Label with the quantity of egg whites.
  • Defrost at room temperature

Milk (skimmed and low-fat only)
  • Freeze for: Three months.  Freeze in the container, but pour off roughly an inch of milk first as it will expand in the freezer.
  • Defrost overnight in the fridge. 

Bread
  • Freeze for: One month.  Place in a large bag or wrap well in cling film.
  • Defrost at room temperature.

 Raw processed meats (including sausages and bacon)
  • Freeze for: Three months.  Freeze in the packaging or transfer to ziploc bags. Freeze bacon in 3-4 rasher packs – perfect for bacon sandwiches.
  • Defrost overnight in the fridge.


Cooked vegetables and soups
  • Freeze for: Three months.  Freeze in plastic containers or bags; ensure any chunks of meat are well covered by liquid.
  • Defrost overnight in the fridge or place container in lukewarm water until defrosted. Heat until piping hot.

   Potatoes
  • Freeze for: Four months.  Once cooked and cooled, freeze mash in tubs, gratins in freeze-proof baking dishes and open-freeze roast potatoes on a tray until frozen solid, then tip into food bags.
  • To defrost, cook roast potatoes from frozen, but defrost mash and gratins overnight in the fridge.

 A few more tips...
  • It’s important to label frozen foods with the contents and date they were frozen. Sticky labels often come unstuck in the freezer, so pop labels inside the food bag.
  • Never re-freeze frozen food (unless it’s been cooked into another dish) – this can encourage bacteria to multiply to dangerous levels.

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