March is National Frozen Food Month! While we certainly believe in fresh and local food whenever possible, we also acknowledge that there is certainly a time and a place for frozen food. No, we’re not talking about processed frozen meals, we’re talking about things like frozen fruits, veggies, and more!
Believe it or not, we don’t eat Get Fresh meals 24/7, and especially not for breakfast! Here are some of our favorite frozen options available at the grocery store, as well as some tips for what recipes to freeze, and how to freeze them!
Things to Buy Frozen:
You’ve probably heard it before, but most produce is frozen at the peak of ripeness, so they are full of flavor and nutrition. The moment you pluck it from the plant, it slowly begins to leak nutrients, and cutting it further tends to speed up the process. Freezing it as quickly as possible locks in those nutrients, providing you with amazingly nutritious produce all year long. Here are some of our favorite vegetables to buy frozen:
Frozen broccoli is best either steamed or sautéed! Frozen broccoli is too soggy for salads, but it can be a lifesaver when you’re making broccoli-cheddar soup!
This is a smart buy for those of you who like to blend cauliflower as a replacement for cream or potatoes. Frozen bags of cauliflower are cheap and abundant.
It might not be great in a fresh tomato-basil sauté, but frozen spinach can be added to soups and stews (at the very end), or blended into creamed spinach.
If there is one thing you should buy frozen, it is fruit, especially in the summer. Frozen fruit is delicious blended in smoothies and homemade ice cream, or turned into berry sauce. Here are some of our favorites.
Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, Mixed Berries
Perfect for smoothies and berry sauce, frozen berries can also be added to oatmeal, muffins, and pancakes! They won’t have the same consistency as fresh berries, but if you’re mixing defrosted berries into yogurt, or adding frozen berries to smoothies and muffins, they’ll be perfect!
Mango can get expensive, especially out of season, but frozen mango chunks are almost always an amazing bargain. They’re awesome for green smoothies and easy homemade mango frozen yogurt!
Ingredients To Freeze:
Sometimes you go a little crazy at the grocery store or farmer’s market and end up with 6 bunches of basil, am I right? Well, let thy freezer be thy hero, because you can freeze a whole lot of ingredients.
Broth/Stock (Chicken, Beef, Vegetable)
The freezer is your best friend when it comes to standard pantry staples like vegetable or chicken stock. Replace the high-sodium processed versions with homemade, and freeze them! You can reduce the stock to concentrated form and freeze it in ice cube trays for homemade bouillon blocks. You will be incredibly happy to have frozen cubes of concentrated stock on hand when youre looking for ways to spruce up your dinner!
Overripe bananas should always go straight into your freezer (or baked goods) for using in banana recipes later, but you can also freeze ripe bananas. They wont continue to ripen in the freezer, even though the skin will probably turn black. You can use them in smoothies, or defrost them for fruit salads, peanut butter & banana sandwiches, or for making chocolate-dipped bananas. (Then freeze them again for a delicious summertime treat!)
We don’t freeze herbs at Get Fresh, but individually, we’ve had success freezing things like basil, and parsley. Follow these tips by Kalyns Kitchen for freezing fresh herbs.
A few extra tablespoons of béchamel or pesto can do a lot for soups and sauces. You can cook in bulk and freeze sauces in ice cube trays, or just freeze the leftover sauces from dinner. You’ll be happy to have random bits of pesto for slathering on grilled cheese.
Not all dips freeze well, but things like hummus and salsa survive quite well. If you’ve made too much, or you’ve got a little leftover, toss it in the freezer! Things like sun-dried tomato feta dip can really perk up a future sandwich!
The proteins in cheese undergo a sort of disintegrating process when frozen, so the texture will never be the same. However, you can freeze blocks of cheese for shredding onto salads, or shred some extra cheddar, mozzarella, blue cheese, and hard cheeses for use as toppings, in soup, or in cooked dishes.
It’s always good to stop eating when you’re full, but what about the 3 tablespoons of leftover taco meat, or the 4 bites of mashed potatoes? Obviously these bites won’t make up another meal, but they can add flavor and texture to future dishes. Go ahead and toss ‘em in the freezer (labeled and dated), and throw them in future dishes that need a little boost, like soups, stews, sauces, and sautés.
Bread and Baked Goods
If youve gotten into making homemade bread, go you! But it can take some time to make a batch of whole wheat tortillas, pancakes, or muffins, so it is always a good idea to make double, and freeze the extra! Youll be so happy to have homemade goodies in the freezer a few weeks (or months) later.