Fresh produce like leafy greens are great. They are packed with phytonutrients, but fresh produce can only take you so far. None of us want to waste food or money for that matter, so instead of tossing extra greens in the kitchen compost pile, think strategically so you don’t waste any of those luscious leafy greens. Whether you use your greens to back up a batch of your favorite freezer-friendly recipe or store greens on their own for future meal prepping, here are four freezing tips to help you and your family efficiently freeze food to make it last longer.
#1 Freeze Foods for 1-4 Weeks Max
When freezing foods, plan to freeze meals for only 1-4 weeks at a time. This shorter duration time will help you stay on top of your freezer food inventory so meals don’t go to waste. By freezing food for no more than one month’s time, you are extending meals for the entire month rather than storing foods for multiple months all at once.
Tip: Check out this guide to see how long frozen foods keep.
#2 Make Freezer-Friendly Meals
Although most foods store well in the freezer, some foods store better than others. Wagner recommends these meals that are especially freezer-friendly:
-Brownies, Bars and Baked Goods. Whether you are baking up a batch of Secret Spinach Brownies, Blueberry Banana Breakfast Bars or Champagne Cupcakes, baked goods store well in the freezer and sometimes even taste better chilled.
-Chili.When ready to eat, serve with a side of homemade Southern “No-Corn” Bread Muffins.
-Grass-fed or bean based chili. Once reheated, top with diced avocado, fresh cilantro sprigs and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
-Homemade herb packaged grass-fed burger patties or Homemade Veggie Burgers. Serve with a spoonful of cabbage slaw with a side of roasted sweet potato fries and your favorite sauce like this Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce.
-Meatballs with tomato sauce. Once defrosted, pair with a bean-based pasta, spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles for a complete meal.
-Soups like this Butternut Squash Soup or this Cheesy Vegan Broccoli Soup. Enjoy with a handful of Simple Mills almond flour crackers or sprouted seed crackers.
-Stuffed peppers. Pair with an ancient grain, cauliflower rice or a freshly prepared side salad.
Tip: Freezing foods is not just for lunch or dinner. You can also freeze your favorite breakfast foods like these Freezer Friendly Coconut Oil Pancakes or these Freezer Friendly Lemon Moringa Pancakes. Enjoy with fresh fruit, nut butter or your favorite smart sweetener.
#3 Plan Quantities
If you live with a larger family, consider doubling recipes so you can freeze extras for the second half of the month, that way you and your entire family can have meals for the whole month with little to no meal prep required. Live alone? Freezing food is a great way to prevent burnout from making one recipe and eating the same meal 4-5 days in a row.
#4 Take a Freezer Inventory
After you prepare all of your freezer-friendly foods, keep an updated inventory list of all the items in your freezer so you know what prepared meals you have on hand at any given time. This way you can more efficiently utilize all of the foods you have at home so you can do less grocery shopping each week. Don’t forget to label your freezer meals so you know what meal is in each of your freezer safe containers and while you’re labeling, include the date so you know when each meal was made.
Tip: Need some ideas on how to keep a freezer inventory? Check out this nifty printable template.
Freezing food is a simple and effective way to make your favorite foods and meals last longer. Remember these four tips the next time you want to extend the life of your grocery haul and enjoy already prepared frozen meals all month long.
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