6 Essentials That Can Be Found in Every Family Freezer
Freezing food has so many benefits – you can keep perishable food longer, store leftovers, cook pre-prepared dishes straight from frozen and have stuff ready for those days when you just don’t fancy slaving over the stove. There are some staples that I always have in the freezer, like mince, fish fingers and bread, so I wanted to give you some ideas for those ingredients and side dishes that taste best from frozen.
They have to pea frozen
Peas are one of the few vegetables that I think actually taste better from frozen than ‘fresh’. Note the inverted commas as when you buy a bag of non-frozen peas it will have already travelled a long way before it makes it into your shopping trolley. Birds Eye Garden Peas on the other hand are frozen on the day they’re picked, so are actually much fresher and also retain more nutrients. I have a constant supply of them in my freezer to use for risotto, egg fried rice, any number of stews and on the side with roast dinners or fish and chips.
Berry nice when cooked
Unlike peas, berries aren’t so good at keeping their texture when frozen. Still, that doesn’t matter if you’re cooking or pureeing them, which is what I always do with frozen berries. Mixed berries can be whizzed into smoothies straight from frozen or cooked down with a little sugar into a compote, which we eat with granola and natural yoghurt. Frozen blueberries are great dropped into Scotch pancakes or muffin mix as they thaw just the right amount when cooked, while frozen blackberries work excellently with fresh apples in a tart, crumble or jam.
Gourmet chips on tap
One of those staples you’ll find in freezers across the country, oven chips are the perfect accompaniment to steak, ribs, lasagne, battered fish or even curry. The trick is to buy a good quality chip that is as crispy and flavourful as the thick-cut chips you’d get in a gastropub. I’ve tried quite a few frozen chips in my time, but my favourite have to be the classic McCain Chips.
Short-crust of time? Buy frozen pastry
I’m not sure who has time to make their own pastry, especially puff pastry. And when the shop-bought stuff tastes just as good – whether puff or shortcrust – there’s no excuse not to take the shortcut. If I’ve had a pack in the fridge for a while and not had the chance to use it I’ll put it in the freezer to make a pie or quiche another day, while Jus-Rol have a selection of frozen pastry that is just as good.
From the freezer to a fish pie
With a very short shelf life if fresh, buying frozen fillets of fish and cooked prawns is a bit of a no-brainer – and it’s often far more economical. You don’t need to cook either for long and there are lots of dishes that you can use fish in straight from frozen. Either put chunks of frozen fish in a fish pie before it goes in the oven, cook fish fillets from frozen in a parcel with lemon, potatoes and veg, or throw frozen prawns in a curry for a few seconds until they’re just heated through.
Pop-eye likes it canned, I like it frozen
Frozen spinach is far cheaper per weight than fresh and there’s absolutely no wastage – I’ve thrown out so many half-full bags from the fridge in the past as they don’t last long once opened. If you’re cooking with spinach, it wilts down anyway so frozen is equally as good as using fresh. Just remember to defrost the spinach first and squeeze out the excess water, otherwise your dinner can get a little soggy!
What foods do you think work best from frozen? Let me know below.
Disclosure: This is a collaboration post.