5 Foods You Didn't Know You Could Freeze

Veer/MolkaVeer/MolkaBoth home cooks and chefs can agree that food doesn't exactly come cheap these days. So, when we see items we love on sale, we want the whole stock of them.

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Showing up at everything from kids' birthday parties to weekday dinners, some products make necessary and repeated appearances, and they're worth buying in bulk. But rationality kicks in as you realize that buying 10 packages of butter or 12 industrial blocks of cheese, despite the great prices, isn't a good idea.

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However, if you plan to use the product within the next year, consider filling your cart up. Meet your new best friend: the freezer.

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Surprisingly, foods you typically wouldn't think of putting in arctic temperatures can not only be frozen, but sometimes are better for it. Nuts on sale for 10 cents a pound? Load them up! Bushels of fresh herbs overflowing in your garden? Make a home for them in your freezer. Better yet, almost any food you can think of will actually keep well when defrosting time comes. If saving money isn't enough motivation, freezing can also help effectively store and portion meals so you don't overindulge.

With some heavy-duty aluminum foil, plastic bags, and plastic wrap, you can store some of your essential everyday - and party - food for months. Now you just have to clean out that freezer to make room for your new finds.

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Flour

Does your flour come alive after going untouched for some time? Many who don't freeze their flour quickly learn about the evils of weevils that infest it. Freezing flour not only is a smart money-saving practice, it's also necessary for sanitation. Store flour in a food-grade airtight container without its original paper packing since it is so porous. Freeze for 48 hours to kill off insects and place in the refrigerator for constant, proper storage.

Pesto

If you're left with an unfathomable amount of basil leaves, put them to good use in bulk batches of pesto. After making your sauce, spoon globs of pesto evenly into ice cube trays and freeze them completely. Once frozen, pop them into a plastic airtight container or bag and store for three months. To use your neatly portioned pesto cubes, let them thaw at room temperature naturally or remove them earlier and thaw in the refrigerator.

Herbs

If your naturally green thumb has left you with bushels of herbs, sometimes drying them leaves them tasteless. Freezing them at their freshest is a great way to store moist herbs to retain flavor. Start by washing and pat-drying your leafy herbs. You may want to chop them into desired portions before freezing. On a small tray or cookie sheet, spread the herbs out individually on top of parchment paper and place them covered in the freezer. Once frozen solid, remove the herbs, place them in an airtight plastic bag and pop back into freezer until you are ready to use. You could even spoon herbs into an ice tray and fill it halfway with water. When they're ready, simply plop the herbs in a stew or your next dish. Flavorful herbs such as mint are best with iced tea or even your next chilled cocktail.

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Cream Cheese and Sour Cream

As far as cream cheese is concerned, freezing has its limitations. If you're planning to spread cream cheese on your morning bagel, then skip the freezing, since when thawed it will change consistency. However, if you're baking or cooking, cream cheese retains its flavor and purpose just fine.

Sour cream has generally the same principle: easy to freeze, great for cooking or baking, but it will change consistency. Whipping sour cream before freezing helps to distribute moisture, and doing so after thawing in the refrigerator - and adding two spoonfuls of cornstarch - will help it return to its creamy form.

Jam

Hankering for sweet summer jam in the dead of winter? Freezing your homemade delights is totally possible. Simply fill your thick-glassed mason jar and stick it in! (Jam doesn't expand much in the freezer.) To thaw, let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. Enjoy your jam within one year, as after a year it will start to lose flavor.

Click here to see other foods you didn't know you could freeze

-Lauren Gordon, The Daily Meal