Is your freezer your best friend or a temporary holding area for food waste. If you’re clever the freezer can be the one of the most useful pieces of kitchen equipment but for others it can becomes a nightmare every time you open the freezer door.
In any event, here are my top 5 items to keep in your freezer. Never let yourself be caught out without food, flavouring or… a swelling remedy.
Bag of frozen peas
Yes the humble pea is on my top 5 freezer foods because peas are full of fibre, minerals and vitamins, useful for standby meals like a pea and potato curry, pea and onion soup or just plain delicious when served with fish pie or cottage pie.
A packet of peas wrapped in a towel has also soothed tired eyes, comforted a headache and reduced a sprained ankle. No wonder the pea is one of the most prized food in my freezer.
Bananas freeze extremely well without their skin. Chop each one into three pieces, pop into a plastic bag and into the freezer.
For delicious banana ice cream, place three or four chunks into a food processor with a dash of milk (or cream on a special occasion) and blitz until smooth but still frozen. Divine with a dribble of chocolate sauce.
This is my favourite way of using the freezer. Delicious leftovers from dinner can be stored in individual containers, labelled and frozen. When I’m not able to cook a fresh healthy meal, all I need to do is reach for my freezer meal and microwave or pop into the oven. So much healthier, quicker and cheaper than a takeaway.
Bag of bones
I try to cook full chickens as often as possible, but I don’t always have time to make stock using the carcass (bones). So now I just pop them into a bag and freeze them for the time I have more time to make homemade stock and soup. Homemade stock is superior to commercial as you control the salt and omit additives such as soy, sugar, yeast. Some stock cubes also contain gluten and MSG which home made will not.
Ice Cube Tray of useful natural flavourings
What do you do with the unused contents of a bottle of wine or a solitary chilli. I fill ice cube trays with red wine or finely chopped chillies and herbs like parsley and mint. Lemon and orange zest also freeze well. Once filled, cling film and place in the freezer. Once frozen, remove from tray and store neatly in plastic lidded boxes. Use wine cubes in spaghetti bolognese etc, chilli in Asian and curry dishes, herbs in soups etc and zest in pastry, cakes and savoury dishes.