13 Freezer Hacks That'll Make Your Life Much Easier
If you're only using your freezer to store microwave-ready meals, frozen pizza, ice cream, and popsicles, you're missing out. Thanks to its superchilly nature, your freezer can be used to preserve many mealtime staples, keeping everything from bananas to cooked whole grains fresh far longer than refrigerated or at room temperature. Aside from preparing freezer-friendly dinners, you can make your life easier by divvying up oatmeal, freezing chicken broth, and more unexpected foods. These tricks ensure that your fresh groceries last a whole lot longer than their "best by" dates, which will save you money. The more you know!
Eat Steel-Cut Oatmeal on Even the Busiest of Mornings
If you don't care for the texture of instant oatmeal but don't have time to cook steel-cut oats on weekday mornings, simmer up a big batch of oatmeal over the weekend, divvy it up among the wells of a muffin tin, freeze, then transfer to a resealable freezer bag. The pucks of oatmeal can be reheated in the microwave.
Freeze Homemade Stock For Infinitely Tastier Soups and Stews
Few foods elevate the everyday more dramatically than homemade stock does, but simmering up a batch every time you want to cook soup or stews isn't realistic. Instead, slowly cook a big batch when time permits — be it chicken, vegetable, or beef — and allow it to cool completely, then divvy it up into small portions. We typically freeze some in an ice cube tray (each well of a standard ice cube tray holds about two tablespoons), and some in one-cup portions (carefully fill a resealable freezer bag).
Freeze Whole Grains For Weeknight Dinners to Come
Whole grains like farro, quinoa, brown rice, and wheat berries bring plenty of flavor and fiber to the table, but they aren't the quickest options. When you have extra time, simmer or steam a big batch, let it cool, and then freeze it in preportioned quantities in resealable freezer bags for future meals to come.
Put Leftover Wine to Good Use
Instead of pouring leftover wine down the drain, save it for future use by freezing. Freeze wine in an ice cube tray (each well of a standard ice cube tray holds two tablespoons), transferring the frozen cubes to a resealable freezer bag. It's important to note two things. One, don't wait until wine is past its prime to freeze. Two, while drinking thawed frozen wine certainly won't do you harm, flavor-wise, it's only suitable for cooking.
Have Fresh, Warm-From-the-Oven Cookies Whenever a Craving Hits
Freeze homemade dough in premeasured portions. That way, when a craving hits, it's easy to bake off one or two cookies at a time.
Preserve Summer's Zucchini Bounty For Months to Come
Keep Bread Fresh (Practically) Forever With This Trick
Freeze sliced bread to keep it fresh for up to six months.
Make Mealtime More Exciting With Homemade Frozen Burritos
Control exactly what goes into your frozen burrito by filling and freezing the tortillas yourself before reheating.
Preserve Summer Berries For Months to Come
Many berries like raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries are readily accessible in the freezer aisle of your supermarket, but others like blackberries, boysenberries, and tayberries are less common. Consider freezing some of these seasonal delights for a rainy day; while they'll lose some of their structural integrity once thawed, they're perfect for adding to pies, oatmeal, crisps, and cobblers, or for making jam.
Never Drink Watered-Down Iced Coffee Again
Fill ice cube trays with cold-brew coffee and freeze. Add these coffee cubes to coffee instead of ice for full-strength iced coffee.
Prep Multiple Meals of Chicken Breasts at Once
Instead of buying premarinated chicken breasts, flavor chicken with your favorite seasonings in a big batch, divvy up the breasts into resealable freezer bags in servings that'll suit your household (two for couples, more for families), and freeze. Simply defrost and cook for an easy dinner.