Freezing food and meals is a great way to reduce food waste and ensure you and your family have nutritious food easily and readily available.
Pulling a ready-made meal out of the freezer on a busy night saves time and makes preparing dinner fuss-free. Freezing pre-cut fruit and vegetables can also save time when preparing meals and can reduce the amount of food you throw out.
Tip 1. Freeze vegetables to lock in flavour and nutrients.
Not all veggies freeze well, but you’ll find a lot do. If the veggies in your fridge won’t be eaten before they go off – blanch them and put them in your freezer. You can then use them whenever you need, and the nutrients and flavours will be locked in.
Blanch the following vegetables in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds before freezing: peas, beans, carrot pieces, cauliflower and broccoli florets, corn kernels, asparagus, sliced capsicum, diced pumpkin and sweet potato.
Tip 2. Freeze fruits to make delicious smoothies
Most fruits have a high water content, so they tend to defrost a bit mushy. However, freezing fruits like berries, bananas, pineapples and mangos are perfect for making yummy smoothies! Cut up into small pieces and put in an airtight container before freezing.
Tip 3. Freeze family and individual meals
By freezing meals of different portion sizes, you will always have meals ready to go – either for the whole family or for individuals. You may like to dedicate time to specifically preparing meals to be frozen, or when cooking regular meals, make extra that can be frozen.
Tip 4. Store and label your meals appropriately
The best way to store your freezer meals is in an airtight container. Whether glass, plastic or a reused takeaway container, anything that is airtight will do the job. Make sure you label your food with the name and the date to make it easy to find.
Tip 5. Keep an inventory of your freezer meals
Know what’s on hand by keeping a list on the fridge, on a whiteboard or saving a list in your Notes app on your phone.
Tip 6. Choose meals that freeze well
Meals that freeze well include casseroles, lasagna, curry, soup, bolognese sauce, quiche, pasta bake, burgers/meatballs, pizzas and fried rice.
Grains such as rice, pasta and quinoa also freeze well. Slightly undercook the grain before freezing. You can also freeze leftover herbs, lemon and lime juice in ice cube trays.
The Food Connection
Tips and Tricks have been prepared by nutritionists, dieticians, health professionals and parents from Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula.
Tips & Tricks
Cooking with Kids
After School Snack Ideas
Easy Tips for Freezing Food
Keeping Fruit and Veggies Longer
Meal Planning Tips
Snacks on a Stick
Top five tips for encouraging children to enjoy more vegetables
How to Reduce Food Waste
Supporting a Healthy Relationship With Food