Years ago, Nigella Lawson blew my mind when she suggested freezing the rest of any wine still left in the bottle, to use for cooking later. Poured into a freezer bag and tossed in the freezer, it makes a sort of slush that is easily measured for use in recipes. I tried it, and I haven’t looked back! You can freeze all sorts of things: bread, milk, grated cheese, casseroles, Chinese take-out… even fresh herbs in olive oil or broth, poured into ice cube trays. Do you like iced coffee? Coffee ice cubes are a game-changer!
Frugalista extraordinaire Donna Freedman has mastered the art of freezing food scraps in a “boiling bag “to be reincarnated as broth later. If you like soup even a little bit, this practice will ruin you for canned soup forever. Luckily, soup freezes well, too.
If you’re not freezing your leftovers, or your little bits of ingredients that are left after using what you need for a recipe, not only are you wasting food and money, but you are depriving yourself of the enormous convenience of having just-enough tomato paste, pesto, or other fantastic things to take your weeknight cooking from adequate to awesome.
What’s in your freezer?
Thanks for the shout-out, ma’am.
Among other things, here’s what’s in our freezer right now:
The juices that drip off roasting meat. My partner chills them and scrapes the fat off the top, then freezes the liquid in (reused) bags labeled “hen,” “turkey” or “beef.” They get added to those boiling-bag soup broths for extra flavor.
The juices that come from roasted ham get added to pots of pinto beans, along with the ham bone.
And the fat that gets scraped off the top of all these juices? It’s frozen, too, for future use in sauteing vegetables.
A container labeled “vegetable cooking liquid,” holding the water left over after cooking corn, peas, potatoes, lentils or whatever. It, too, gets added to the boiling bag broth.
A container of black bean liquid. We’d cooked some frijoles negros to freeze (flat in Ziploc bags — easier to stack that way); their liquid will be added to soups, stews or curry.
A small amount of tomato paste. I needed just half a can to make enchilada sauce. The rest awaits another recipe.
Whey left over after I drained a batch of homemade yogurt through a flour-sack-towel-lined colander. It gets used in making oatmeal and bread, and sometimes gets added to soup, stew, curry, chili and stroganoff.
The last of a gallon of milk that went a little “off” before we could finish it. It will make great pancakes some day. My partner used some of it in bread-making the other day.
I bow to your greatness…
I look forward to reading about more of yours.