Frozen food is a frugal cook’s best friend. A freezer allows you to make the most of any promotional pricing, double up on quantities and freeze meals for future enjoyment, but also to preserve surplus fresh produce as well as odds and ends from the produce drawers in your fridge.
1. CHILL OUT
Ice cube trays are handy for much more than making ice! Once you’ve frozen things in them, you can transfer the cubes to ziplock freezer bags and have your tray back. Freeze fresh herbs by picking leaves, roughly chopping, putting in ice cube trays, covering with oil and freezing (you can also use this method to freeze pesto). Freeze unused portions of coconut milk into cubes and pop into smoothies, or curries. Make the most of any abundant produce by freezing into cubes: passionfruit pulp, lime juice, stewed apple, mashed blackening bananas are great for smoothies and baking.
2. BAG OF BONES
Don’t throw away the carcass or bones from a roast, or any bones really – these can be collected in a large freezer bag, add vegetable trimmings, wilting carrots, half-used onions too – until you have enough to make a big batch of stock. Once made, you can freeze stock in batches.
3. SLICE & DICE
If you have odds and ends of vegetables, they can be diced, roasted then frozen. Think potato, kūmara, pumpkin – douse in olive oil, season and roast until tender before bagging up and freezing (a vacuum foodsaver is great here but you can also just use a freezer bag, squeezing as much air out as you can). Thaw and heat through well to eat: think roast veg salads, curries, stews, soups. Do this to preserve the last of the season’s eggplant, zucchini and capsicum, then you can pull them from the freezer and give winter dishes a touch of summer.