If childhood mealtimes conjure up fond memories of your mother bent over a chest freezer, screaming from its bowels that she was sure she had a leg of lamb in there somewhere, let us tell you something: you are not alone. Most of us have a love/hate relationship with our freezers, based on the fact that loads of us were brought up on fish fingers, frozen carrots and peas with a side of packet white sauce (sorry Mam).
These days, freezers are streamlined and uber organised. They house such delights as frozen berries, ready for your morning smoothie. Unbaked cookie dough, for treating your little treasures, and ice cube trays filled with fresh herbs and stock infusions. Yes, your freezer CAN be that amazing.
There are few things more satisfying than embracing your inner Nigella, and mincing towards your fridge freezer, whispering seductively about chicken thighs you have had marinating in freezer bags all the while pouring wine and being generally… entertaining.
If you are more like us, you are fit for nothing more than hyperventilation once the work day ends, the kids have gone to bed and dinner time beckons. So, take a leaf out of our book and embrace some of the easiest ways to make your freezer work for you. Look forward to meals that are whipped out and cooked in no time.
Here at I Love Cooking, we get rage-filled at the thought of food waste. Your freezer is one of the key waste fighters in your kitchen. Here’s a few of our top tips
Use it to house a freezer bag filled with vegetable scrapings that you can fling into a stockpot at a moment’s notice.
Suspend unused chopped herbs in olive oil in ice cube trays and stir into soups and stews for a fresh herb hit.
Freeze individual chicken pieces with a dash of olive oil, lemon peel, a few garlic cloves and pop into a roasting tray, ready to cook after work.
Keep a tub of frozen biscuit crumbles and chocolate pieces that can be sprinkled on top of ice cream.
Store your nuts in the freezer to keep them tasting fresh.
Whizz stale bread with some herbs like thyme or rosemary and a bit of leftover Parmesan if you have and store in a bag in your freezer. We use our breadcrumbs for chicken goujons or to add a crunchy top to our pasta bakes.
Slice bread, bagels and rolls before you freeze them for super easy defrosting.
Label label label. To avoid the dreaded unidentifiable meat object from lurking in your freezer (we’ve all been there), make sure you label each package going into your freezer correctly, with the date it was frozen.
On that note, don’t freeze giant cuts of meat. You are much more likely to use smaller portions of meat that have been handily frozen, than fishing a giant housekeepers cut from the chest and waiting 4 days for it to defrost.
One of the handiest things we do almost every week is batch cook some mince. We deviate from a simple savoury mince to a Bolognese-style sauce and freeze it in individual portions that can be paired with mashed potato, rice or pasta for an easy and nutritious midweek meal.