No more Wasted Food !! - - - What do you Freeze ?
This past weekend I made a birthday cake for my niece's birthday. I had to make a last minute run to the grocery store because I realized the expiration date on my vegetable oil was 2009 and it smelled a bit "off". I really hated to throw out a 4/5 full bottle which was what was left of the bottle that I had used to bake her last birthday cake (we don't use much vegetable oil!!). This got me wondering ... can I freeze what is left of the bottle I bought this weekend and then use it for her birthday next year ? Has anyone tried this ? Can liquid vegetable oil be frozen ??? Or at least kept in the freezer to stay fresh even if it never actually freezes ? I think I will try it just to see what happens, but hopefully someone can chime in here.
So let's hear what you guys do ... what things do you freeze ? Expecially things most people wouldn't think of. Here are some of the things we freeze ...
- Bread - as soon as we get home from the store with a fresh loaf of bread, it goes straight into the freezer. We pull out slices as we need them. They only take seconds to thaw and they thaw very very close to soft, fresh bread. Certainly softer than if I kept the loaf out for a couple days. Bread a few days old starts to get stale (blech). Long loaves of french bread and other types of bread can be frozen as well. For example, sections of french bread can be cut off and heated in foil to go with meals, or slices can be cut off to be buttered, garlic salted, and toasted for spaghetti meals, etc. This is also great for hotdog/hamburger buns and the torilla shells we use for breakfast burritos.
- Hotdogs - the whole package goes in the freezer, and we break off ever how many hotdogs as we need them.
- Cheese - before a block of cheese has any chance to be past date or to start mold, I grate up what remains of the block and put it into a zipper bag in the freezer. Whenever we need grated cheese, we reach in the bag and pull out a pinch to put in our soup or breakfast burritos or whatever, or measure out what is needed for bigger recipes.
- Butter & Crisco shortening - go straight into the freezer when I get home from the store. We pull out sticks of butter as they are needed, or cut off a half stick for a recipe and leave other half wrpped up in freezer. Crisco stays soft enough to use out of the freezer and put right back in. You can even scoop out a tiny bit, just enough to grease a birthday cake pan if that's all you need. : )
- Cooked Bacon - Cooking bacon is a pain and messy !! We cook an entire package at a time until it is very close to being done, but not quite. Place all the strips in zipper bag in freezer and pull out a few strips as needed. Microwave for just a few seconds to warm and put the finishing touches on crisping them.
- Leftovers - we always save the trays anytime we have a microwave dinner. We rarely eat them anymore, but we used to, so we have a small stack saved up. When we prepare a meal at home, we plate the leftovers into the compartments in the microwave dinner trays and wrap them to put in the freezer. These are so handy for days when you are in a hurry, you can just microwave your own home-cooked tv dinner.
- Soup/Spaghetti Sauce - we cook big pots at a time and then freeze the whole batch after dinner that night in small containers, some one-person and some two-person portion sizes. Another meal already prepared for the days when there isn't time to cook, or we just don't feel like cooking that night.
- Spices - when we get a "to go" meal from Carraba's, they give you a little cup with spices in it, packages of olive oil, and fresh bread. You mix the spices with the oil for a bread dipping sauce, but we never use all of the spices. We keep the leftovers in the little cup in the freezer and later can mix with fresh olive oil to have the bread dipping sauce with home cooked meals. Yum !
- Coffee Grounds - we do not drink much coffee. Usually only on weekends once or twice a month. We keep the coffee in an air tight jar in the freezer, and scoop out what we need right into the coffee maker as we need it. The coffee stays much fresher this way. I am sure some coffee connoisseurs will be appalled by this because there is probably something I don't know about that deteriorates the coffee this way, but it works for us !
- Beer Mugs - ok, ok, I know this does not fall into the wasted food category, but it is so nice to pull it out of the freezer and have your beer in a frosty mug !!!