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The Low Down On Frozen Food

Frozen FoodGrowing up our family freezer was mainly filled with ice pops and frozen ready meals. It certainly had it’s benefits, but it’s contents didn’t score too highly on the tasty and nutritious scale.

Today, again, I also have a freezer, and although it does have the odd random ice lolly hanging about, it is used for so much more than that.

A quick trip down the frozen aisles of your local supermarket will reveal freezer cabinets filled with everything from frozen avocados to ready chopped frozen onions. Gone are the days when freezers were just used for sausage rolls and chicken nuggets.

Is Frozen Food Healthy?

Contrary to common belief, frozen food can be more nutrient rich than produce kept out in the fresh section. Within hours of being picked, the produce is frozen, locking in the nutritional value.  One such vegetable that is more nutritious frozen than fresh are peas. They have higher levels of vitamin C than their fresh counterparts – and still taste just as great, not to mention they are super convenient to just cook up in minutes from frozen when you need them.

Can You Save Money With A Freezer?

In terms of the food you are buying yes, frozen foods are cheaper than fresh. A quick look on the Tesco website just now shows you can buy a fresh broccoli floret (350g) for 45p or frozen broccoli florets (900g) for £1.10. The fresh works out as £1.29/kg and the frozen £1.23/kg. More importantly, the frozen isn’t going to go off any time soon, resulting in less wastage.

Frozen fruits are another great example of this – I sometimes buy the 350g of fresh raspberries for £3 to snack on during the day. If I don’t eat them on the day of purchase, or at least the next day, they go mouldy. With the frozen raspberries, it costs £2 for 350g and I can just use them as and when I want to. They taste great in a smoothie and take the place of needing to use ice cubes. I just grab a handful from the freezer and throw them in my blender.

Is Frozen Food More Convenient?

For some foods like mango, which I hate to peel, I much prefer buying frozen mango chunks. The same is true of frozen avocados. By buying them frozen and already prepared they are not only at the perfect ripeness, they are saving me valuable preparation time.

I also love doubling up any slow cooker or soup recipes and freezing what hasn’t been used. Why cook twice when you don’t need to?

What Can You Freeze?

Much more than you think.

  • Food close to it’s sell by date. Have you ever been in the supermarket when the food, in particular the meats, get discounted? If you are lucky enough to be there then you could be in for some real bargains. Even if you don’t think you are going to use the food before the sell by date, buy them and store them in your freezer! Take out of the freezer when ready to use and eat within 24 hours of defrosting.
  • Ever bought a pack of fresh herbs for a recipe but you only need a small amount of it? Rather than letting it go off, chop it up and store it in a sandwich bag or other container and then add to soups and sauces when you are ready to use.
  • All fruit and vegetables can be frozen. The only exceptions I have found so far are those with high water content, so cucumber, lettuce etc. If you can prepare them before freezing even better.
  • If your bread is likely to go off before you can eat it, freeze half of it. It defrosts really quickly or can be toasted from frozen in some toasters. Just make sure you split it out before freezing it. You can also make breadcrumbs from bread that is a day or 2 old and then store them for future use.
  • Butter, margarine and cheese can all be frozen. With cheese I like to grate it first and then portion it off to freeze.
  • Lemons can also be frozen if you think they might go off before you get around to using them.

Can I Cook From Frozen?

If you’ve bought a packaged item you should find cooking instructions on the wrapper. Most vegetables can be cooked from frozen with no need to defrost first, as can most cooked meals that you’ve frozen. Large joints of meat and poultry should always be defrosted thoroughly before cooking.

How Long Can I Freeze Food For?

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