A lot of people wonder if you can truly eat clean while on a budget. Having a freezer definitely helps. Being able to purchase fresh perishable foods in bulk when they are in season or on sale is key. Many of those foods can be frozen either for cooking later or simply for convenience.
1. Fruit is pretty easy to freeze. If you are saving it for smoothies, sauces, or baking; simply throw it into a Ziplock bag, seal it up, and you are done. Keep in mind that it will defrost mushy and tender. Frozen grapes can be frozen on a cookie sheet with parchment paper and make a great healthy snack. Did you know that nearly brown bananas can actually be frozen in the skin? The skin will turn black but the banana is safely tucked in the peel. Defrosting them will make them perfectly mushy for mixing into bread!
2. Most Vegetables can freeze pretty well. After freezing the texture is usually softened making them perfect for cooking. Stocking up at a farmer’s market during the summer and freezing them is a great way to have fresh vegetables year-round.
- Freezer Friendly (chopped to make them recipe ready): tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, onions, green beans, carrots, squash, etc.
- Non-Freezer Friendly (high water content): lettuce, cucumbers, cabbage, etc.
3. Cheese freezes pretty well in the original packaging. When I find a good deal, I stock up and keep it for up to a month in the freezer.
4. Plain Yogurt such as greek can also be frozen in the plastic cups they come in.
5. Pour about a half inch of Milk from the top of the plastic container. Then put the lid back on and freeze. Just make sure you shake it really well after defrosting.
6. Eggs can be cracked open into ice cube trays and frozen. When ready to use, just pop out what you need and defrost.
7. Fresh Citrus Juice can also be frozen and stored with ice cube trays.
8. Fresh Herbs can be, chopped, mixed with olive oils, and poured into ice cube trays so they are ready for cooking.
9. Wheat Pasta can be cooked, frozen in freezer bags and conveniently defrosted when needed for quick recipes.
10. Dried Beans can be soaked, cooked, frozen in freezer bags and conveniently defrosted as needed.
11. Brown Rice can also be cooked ahead of time and frozen.
12. Brown Ground Meat in bulk when you find a good deal. Then divide it into quart sized freezer bags to use for tacos, lasagna, and other recipes.
13. Cook Chicken Breasts in a crock pot, cool, and slice them for create your own version of “Perdue Short Cuts.”
14. Freeze Vegetable Peels from carrots, potatoes, onions, etc in a freezer bag. They can be mixed with water, spices, and meat bones to create homemade broth/stock.
15. Homemade Broth and Stock can be frozen in freezer bags or plastic containers to use whenever you need them. Considering that you make stock from cooking scraps, it saves the money you would spend buying canned stock.
16. Whether you buy whole grain or sprouted grain Bread in the store or make it homemade, wrap it up tight and freeze it for up to two weeks.