14 surprising foods you can (and can’t) freeze
Buying in bulk and stocking up the freezer can be a great way to save money on food. But what foods can and can't you freeze?
There's a reason why you normally have to fight for freezer space in every student flat – not only does frozen food tend to be cheaper than fresh produce at the supermarket, but freezing leftovers can make a meal go a lot further.
There are also so many foods that you can freeze that you never would've thought could survive in a freezer, and it won't even affect how they taste – as long as you store them properly).
However there are still some foods that will die a horrible death if you put them in the freezer. We've saved you the hassle (and potential money-wasting) of trying and testing what works and what doesn't by putting them in this handy guide for ya.
If you are ever in the rare position of having leftover cake, muffins, cookies or any other type of baked goods that you don't feel like eating soon and are worried about going stale – wrap them up in cling film and throw them in the freezer!
When the time is right to eat them you can defrost in the microwave when you're feel peckish again.
Amazingly, you can do the same with unbaked scones, too. Make your dough, separate into scone-shaped portions and freeze in clingfilm.
Anytime you fancy a scone, remove the dough from the freezer and pop it in the oven – it will even still rise perfectly like you made the dough fresh that morning!
Milk can be frozen and stored for months, which is useful if you ever want to bulk buy a few litres of milk but don't think you can consume it all in a few days!
All you have to do is make sure the container has a couple of inches of space to expand (otherwise you end up with the above result!).
You can store your milk for up to 3 months like this, and give it a day to defrost slowly in the fridge before consuming.
Whilst freezing a block of cheese would be pretty tough to work with, freezing it grated works like a dream!
As long as you keep it in an airtight bag or container, if won't clump as there will be no moisture to freeze it together.
Put some on a sandwich in the morning and it'll defrost by lunch time, or sprinkle some over a plate of hot pasta for it to melt all over your dinner.
However, don't freeze block cheese as all the emulsifiers will separate and you'll be left with a smelly, crumbly cheese.
Bananas freeze really nicely in many different forms. If they're starting to go brown, pop them in the freezer whole with the skin on. You can then defrost later to use for smoothies, banana bread or mush them up and put them in porridge.
You can also use frozen bananas as a healthy alternative to ice cream – coat them in melted dark chocolate before freezing for a sweet snack that will actually be great brain food for when you're revising.
Berries freeze so well that you'll probably never buy them fresh again after you try this.
It's also practically criminal how much more expensive they are to buy fresh: At Tesco, a 250g box of fresh raspberries will set you back £3, but a 350g bag of frozen raspberries will only cost you £2!
Frozen berries taste particularly amazing in smoothies and fresh juices, and mixing them frozen into porridge is a winner every time. The extra water contained in them makes them break down easily into the porridge for a great taste and texture.
Eggs don't have an extremely long shelf life, so many people avoid buying them in bulk. But whilst eggs can't be stored long in their shells (even if you boil them they're only good for a few hours) they can be frozen if you crack and store them properly!
The best way to store them in your freezer is to crack each individual egg into a plastic egg container or a muffin tin. Once they're frozen you can pop them out of the container and store them as little blocks in a freezer bag – they can be stored like this for up to a year.
You can then use them for baking, omelettes, scrambled egg, french toast – the only thing that's off the cards would be separating them after they thaw. That's pretty much impossible.
It can be really annoying when supermarkets only sell their garlic in 3-bulb packs, making it almost impossible to get through before it starts sprouting green left, right and centre.
Amazingly, throwing your garlic bulbs in the freezer works perfectly. Just out them in an airtight bag or tub to keep moisture out, then break of as many cloves as you need as and when you need them.
If you've already sliced the garlic, it'll keep in the freezer in some olive oil (olive oil doesn't completely freeze so you can pick the pieces out when you need them).
So this one won't be much of a surprise to most students, but we felt it had to be included since anyone missing out on this nugget of info could be wasting a lot of unnecessary cash.
Chuck your sliced loaf in the freezer before it starts to go mouldy and you can take it out slice by slice as and when you need it. It'll defrost back into bread in under an hour, or pop it straight into the toaster for perfect crunchy toast.
Try freezing grapes as an alternative to ice cubes. Grapes add flavour to a drink and work really well when wanting to cool down white wine as it won't go watery.
You can also eat them when they're frozen as a snack! It's tastier than you think…
Chopped up chilli and herbs
It's rare to find small amounts of herbs or chilli in shops, so a really useful tip is to chop up your fresh left overs and freeze them in empty water bottles.
As there won't be moisture in there, they won't get freezer burn, and you can then add them to meals for an extra kick of flavour.
Also works for salad onions and ginger, too!
Booze (but only some kinds!)
Although it's pretty rare that you'll start a bottle of wine then leave half of it, it can happen! And annoyingly wine goes off quite quickly once it's opened.
The good news is, wine can be actually be frozen. It works best with wines that taste better chilled (like white or rose) but it's a good solution to avoid wastage. Wine snobs will say you can only use it for cooking once it's defrosted, but we'd drink it!
Note that you can also put most spirits in the freezer to keep them nice and cool. As these have a higher alcohol content, they won't actually freeze but just go a bit thicker than normal, which is perfect for pouring a nice cold drink!
Some drinks freeze better than others, so it's worth googling before you ice them, but once you've had vodka from the freezer, you'll never look back!
OK, we get it, this alcohol chat is digressing a bit from the whole 'food' freezing thing, but we're sure you'll agree it's just as important!
We all love an ice cold beer, but putting them in the freezer to speed up the chill process is a trick many have lived to regret. Beer freezes quickly, and it expands as it does so, meaning you can end up with an entire freezer covered in exploded beer ice.
Not only will you have lost all your precious brew, but the smell will linger enough to make you puke reaching for ice cubes with a hangover.
Unlike fruit, a lot of vegetables don't freeze well due to their high water content. This causes freezer burn (pictured above) which makes veggies inedible.
This is the case with cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes and other salad vegetables. When in doubt, google your veg!
Yoghurt can taste amazing when frozen, but some types (usually the kind with high water content) don't freeze well at all.
It's worth going for the creamier, full-fat types of yoghurt if you're really keen on freezing it, but be warned it will still lose its smooth texture when it thaws.
Also, you'd be mistaken if you think sticking a full fat yoghurt in the freezer will come out as the well-loved light alternative to ice-cream… that stuff is frozen in a special way that makes sure that the water doesn't crystalise, so can't be made at home.
Just don't go crazy and freeze 10 bunches of bananas, 6 boxes of grapes and 5 bottles of wine… you still have to share the freezer with your flatmates, remember!