The average UK family can save food and money by simply making better use of one thing...the humble freezer. But for many, it turns out that knowing what can and can't be frozen is a bit confusing.
Here’s a list of surprising foods that freeze brilliantly. So next time you see them getting close to their use by date, pop them in the freezer to enjoy for another time.
If grated and stored in an airtight container, cheese holds up great in the freezer. Try sprinkling on top of a pizza or pasta dish to give it a cheesy kick. It’s worth noting that soft cheese doesn't freeze so well.
Milk and milk alternatives
Milk can be frozen and stored for months. It will expand slightly when frozen and needs some time to defrost, and the same goes for oat milk or rice milk, too. If they are homemade, they may go a bit grainy so strain them through a cheese cloth after they have thawed, if needed.
Don’t freeze your eggs in the shell - break them in a bowl and beat until the yolk and egg white is just about blended. Put the mix in an airtight container and label with the date and number of eggs used.
Mushrooms, broccoli and other vegetables
Vegetables such as mushrooms, avocados, spinach, rhubarb, beans, carrots and broccoli can all be frozen. If they naturally have a high water content it's best for them to be blanched, pureed, sautéed or stewed before freezing.
Rice can be frozen, but be sure to freeze it as soon as possible after cooking. Pack the rice into a microwavable container as soon as it’s cooked. When the rice has cooled, seal the container and put straight into the freezer. Make sure to reheat thoroughly so it’s piping hot before eating.
Mashed potato and sweet potato
Ensure the cooked potato or sweet potato is fully cooled before freezing. For mashed potato, you could either transfer all of it into a freezer bag/container or freeze your own individual servings by scooping out portions individually. Freeze these on parchment paper for about an hour and then transfer into a freezer bag/container from there.
Slightly under-cooked pasta is best for freezing - this avoids it turning starchy when you reheat.
Bananas freeze fantastically without their skin. Use frozen bananas to make a healthy alternative to ice cream,or coat them in melted chocolate before freezing for a sweet treat.
Either wrap it tightly in aluminium foil, beeswax wrap or plastic freezer wrap or place it inside a container or freezer bag. To thaw it quickly, you can grate it or microwave it…or go slow and let it defrost for a day or so in the fridge.
Blitz before freezing and keep in a sealed container - you'll have tomatoes for sauces ready at all times.
Whether it's homemade banana bread, Irish soda bread or shop-bought bread, you could slice it before you freeze to keep a constant supply of bread ready to toast fresh if needed.
Berries freeze nicely, although they may go a bit squidgy when defrosting. Sprinkle on top of your porridge, pop them in a smoothie or whip up a healthy summer pudding.
Cakes, brownies and biscuits
Believe it or not, they can all go in in the freezer, if you have any left that is. Make sure you wrap them well.
Chopped up chillies and herbs
Seal in a clip lock box to avoid frostbite. Basil doesn't freeze well, but tasty basil pesto does in an airtight container.
Wine can be frozen, just like water. It works best with wines that taste better chilled (like white or rosé).