NYT article on freezing

May 8, 2009

One of my guilty bourgeois pleasures is the “Dining” section of the New York Times website. In particular, I am a big fan of Mark Bittman, whose pragmatic attitude to food and cooking accords with my own.

I see today he has a nice piece on freezing things. Lots of good tips on things that can be frozen — many of which are all about saving stuff you would otherwise have to biff out.

I approve. Be inspired to freeze. A full freezer uses less power too, because of the thermal mass of the stored contents. Freezing is frugal, kids. All the frugal folk are freezing.

Frozen anything good lately?



  1. I do lots of freezing. I make big batches of muffins every few weeks and freeze those. They are excellent for school & work lunches and having them premade saves money in that it makes it less likely I’ll end up buying lunch. Also, whenever I make a chilli or dahl or other meal with pulses (which is often because of being vegetarian)I make double the recipe so there is some to freeze. This also saves money because it means on days when we are both too knackered to make something from scratch we just take something out of the freezer and have it with pasta or rice. Or even just toast if it’s been a particularly tiring day. Much cheaper than getting takeaways or delivery pizza.

  2. I wish I had a bigger freezer but we have no practical room for one (practical as in near the kitchen!). We only have a small fridge-freezer with two small freezer drawers.

    I freeze homemade chicken stock in quantities good for risotto and soup. I also try to get bulk tomatoes from Otaki, blanch and core them, then freeze them whole and just take out what I need for soups and stews.

    I also freeze meaty scraps. That way we don’t get a stinky rubbish bag and it only needs to go out every 2-3 months (everything else is either composted or recycled). Also means dogs are less likely to get into the bag.

  3. This is a little out of season but if you have nice eating grapes, pop them in whole bunches into the freezer. Then when the kids (oh, yes and the adults) want something sweet you just pluck a few of the frozen grapes and eat them like sweets.

  4. Muffins for the girls’ school lunches, two lots of bolognese sauce (made from scratch, Giovanni – none of that Dolmio wretchedness around here!), one large stew, several pots of hummus.

  5. And two lots of pumpkin soup. By ‘lot,’ I mean enough for a family meal.

  6. As I might have said in another recent comment, before we had our first child we rented a freezer and I spent a couple of weeks filling it with pizza, lasagne and spicy meatballs. That was, if I say so myself, a very smart move that repaid itself in spades once the child was born.

    made from scratch, Giovanni – none of that Dolmio wretchedness around here!

    Of course, we know how you roll.

  7. Batch cooking of pretty much anything in the slow cooker: I even use it make curries, especially daal.
    Homemade meat patties for the kids’ dinner: they’ll only eat one apiece so I make a bunch and freeze ’em raw. Although generally io make the most of the freezer compartment I try only to freeze pre-cooked stuff (pre-cooked by me, not shitty convenience food) and shop for small amounts of fresh stuff every two-three of days (possible because I work part time). Saves time and energy defrosting raw stuff and means you’re more likely to use food you already have rather than run out and buy stuff you don’t need. And as MTNW says, makes those ‘too shagged to cook’ (how’s that for a punk anthem for the middle-aged?) nights a lot easier.

    • Bread and uncooked meat are our freezer staples. Some other food that work well is butter (good to buy on special). And when capsicums are in season, I chop them up to re-use in stir-fries. The most counter-intuitive is bananas – when they’re past the eating stage and need cooking, but there’s not inclination to bake, throw them in the freezer whole. The skins turn black, and when they defrost they’re pretty mushy, but that’s what you want for cakes/muffins. Also tubs of cooked apples from the tree, and feijoa pulp.

  8. fresh woody herbs like oregano, bay or thyme. they kep for blimmin ages.

  9. Lovely slow-cooked stew with a bottle of red wine in it. “Trotter Gear” Fergus Henderson-style (this stuff is brilliant for adding to other stew-type recipes).

    And another 20kg of beef from Lake Farm near Hamilton, which is only medium-frugal but absolutely bloody marvellous stuff.

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