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When you go grocery shopping or plan your menu, do you limit yourself to the number of sale items you can purchase? A lot of people do simply because they think the food will go to waste. Believe it or not, there are so many foods you can freeze that will save you both time and money on your grocery bills. If you’re looking for new and real ways to save money on food, learning how to freeze foods and what you can freeze is the perfect way to do it!
As I said earlier, learning what foods you can freeze and then putting that knowledge into practice saves you both time and money. Not only that, but it can also help your family cut down on the amount of wasted food you throw out. The United States wastes literal tons of food each year when it really doesn’t need to be wasted. Freezing foods is just one more step toward helping to reduce that particular footprint. Freezing foods saves you time as well since you’re able to quickly know if something will fit into your favorite freezer cooking recipes and your prep work is at least partially done. It also saves you money since it allows you to stock up more efficiently when something is on sale.
75 Foods You Can Freeze to Save Time & Money
Now obviously if you’re reading about which foods you can freeze, you know you will likely need a deep freezer to really fill your freezer. If you don’t already have one, you don’t need to have a huge one. A simple 3.5 ct ft deep freezer would work. If, you can’t afford to buy one, don’t let that stop you from freezing foods to save money. You can still freeze with a regular sized freezer, but you will be much more limited in what you can stock because of space issues.
I know it might seem counter-intuitive to buy something to save money, but small chest freezers aren’t too expensive. Chances are good that your purchase will pay for itself within a few weeks even.
Sour Cream – Sour cream tends to go on sale several times a year based on the normal grocery store sale cycles so why not stock up and freeze when it does? Simply freeze it in the original container upside down. The upside down part is so any water that forms when it freezes and thaws doesn’t mix into it. It will lose it’s consistency though so know that it is only really good for recipes that call for sour cream after being frozen.
Milk – Milk is super expensive these days but when you catch it on sale, buy a few and freeze it. To do so, open the jug and pour off around a cup of milk. I keep a lot of milk jugs since there are so many ways to use empty milk jugs so I simply pour the milk into one that isn’t full or use it in a recipe that evening so it doesn’t go to waste. Put the cap back on and freeze the entire jug. Liquid expands which is why you need to pour off a cup. Otherwise, you risk the milk jug itself exploding and having a mess. Milk will also turn a yellow-ish color after it has been frozen and until it is thawed. This is okay and is only the sugar in the milk separating. Simply thaw and shake and your milk will taste like it just came from the store.
Cheese – Cheese is another food you can freeze quite easily. Blocks and shredded work best though. You can freeze most types of cheeses, but American cheese doesn’t really do well when thawing. That’s okay though…it isn’t really cheese. If you’re freezing shredded cheese, simply toss it into gallon sized Ziploc bags and freeze. Blocks or chunks of cheese can be frozen in their original package with no special care needed.
Cream Cheese – Every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, cream cheese goes on sale for less than $1.00 per block. This is the perfect time to stock up! To freeze, simply toss in the freezer since it doesn’t require special care. Like sour cream, it will change consistency after thawing so just be sure to keep that in mind.
Eggs – Yes! You can freeze eggs! Actually you can freeze eggs in several different ways. You can separate the egg white and yolk and freeze them in ice cube trays or you can cook and scramble them and freeze the scrambled eggs. IF you’re freezing them raw, make sure to scramble the egg yolk w/out cooking so it freezes okay. Whites and cooked scrambled eggs can just be frozen in an airtight container.
Bread – Want to stock up on bread so it doesn’t go moldy waiting to be used? Throw it in the freezer! I do this one a lot since I like to pick up french loaves on clearance at Walmart for $0.25 each. We always have french bread for stews or pizzas and I get to save money!
Buns – Like bread, hot dog and hamburger buns can be frozen too. Again, just place them in the freezer to freeze and thaw as you need them. I have even been known to freeze leftover buns that we don’t use out of the package so they don’t go to waste. We usually only use 4 or so which means I would be wasting money if I allowed them to get stale or moldy before they were used.
Strawberries – Frozen strawberries are fantastic in a strawberry banana smoothie recipe or an amazing breakfast such as strawberries and cream oatmeal. To freeze strawberries, core them with a strawberry corer and slice them thin. Lay each piece out on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and place in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, seal them in an airtight storage container and use as needed.
Blueberries – Blueberries, like strawberries, are another quite easy food you can freeze. Lay them out on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and freeze. Once they’re frozen, pop them into a freezer bag and you’re good to go. The reason for laying them out is so they freeze individually instead of clumping together.
Grapes – Frozen grapes are one of our favorite snacks! Freeze them just as you would blueberries.
Bananas – Frozen bananas are another amazing treat and a cheap healthy snack for kids. Freeze them like strawberries. Eat frozen alone or dip in peanut butter to make them extra special.
Green Beans – Green beans go on sale here during the late spring and summer months for around $0.75/lb which is a great stock up price. To freeze them, you can either freeze directly in a freezer bag or you can dip them in boiling water to blanch for 3 minutes, plunge into an ice water bath, quickly freeze on a cookie sheet and then move to a freezer bag. Most people will tell you to blanch them first because they will get mushy. I do not blanch mine and they come out of the freezer perfectly crispy. It is up to you which you do, but I recommend you give both a try so you know which way you prefer.
Onions – All onions are a super easy food you can freeze. Simply slice or chop into sizes you want and pop in a freezer bag. There’s no blanching or other care needed. Keep in mind that onions will get a bit soggy as they thaw so don’t expect to use a frozen onion on a sandwich. They are much better for use in cooking after they’re frozen.
Bell Peppers – Bell peppers – green, red, yellow and orange – all freeze extremely well and are one of my favorite foods you can freeze. Like freezing onions, simply slice or chop and freeze. I usually have somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 bell peppers in the freezer simply because they’re so easy. I find them on clearance at one of my favorite clearance stores and grab them while they’re cheap. The ones in this pic, I purchased both bags for just $1.00 for each bag!
Jalapeno Peppers – Another one of our favorite foods you can freeze are jalapeno peppers. We eat a lot of them since one of our favorite side dish recipes or favorite appetizer recipes is bacon wrapped cream cheese jalapenos. Freeze jalapeno peppers whole in an air tight storage container.
Sweet Corn – We LOVE sweet corn around here and usually make good use of even keeping the cobs from going to waste by making corn cob jelly and corn cob fire starters. We freeze the corn first though. It’s super simple to do if you follow THESE instructions on how to freeze corn.
Pumpkin – Fresh pumpkin makes the best pies and lucky for us, it is one of the foods you can freeze for later. That means you can buy pie pumpkins when they’re on sale and freeze for when you’re craving pumpkin. THESE instructions make it super easy to freeze!
Squash – To freeze squash, follow the instructions found HERE for how to freeze pumpkin.
Bread Dough – If you make homemade bread, freeze the dough to save yourself time later. Simply wrap the dough in plastic wrap a couple of times and place in a freezer bag.
Cooked Pasta – One of the staples of freezer cooking recipes is usually pasta because it can be cooked ahead of time and frozen. To freeze, cook like normal and drain well. Then, store it in an airtight container until you need it.
Lunch meat – Find a sale on lunch meat and deli meat? Leave it in its original package and add it to a freezer bag to freeze.
Peas – Have fresh peas from your garden or a deal at the local farmer’s market? Blanch them first. To do this, plunge them into a boiling water bath for 1 and 1/2 minutes then plunge into ice water. Add to freezer bags in meal sized portion and freeze. You can freeze peas without blanching as well, by simply adding them to the freezer, but keep in mind that unblanched peas need to be used within a month and may lose color and texture.
Spinach – Fresh spinach leaves can be frozen without blanching if you’re going to use them within 6 months. If you need them to last longer though, you’ll need to blanch them with a steam blanch. To do this, you’ll need a boiling pot of water and a steamer basket. Wash your leaves really well to remove dirt and get your water boiling. Add the steamer basket over the pot and steam the leaves for 2 minutes. When the time is up, plunge them into ice water and spin the leaves dry using a salad spinner. Spinach is especially prone to freezer burn so once they’re dry, add the leaves to your freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as possible or vacuum seal them.
Broccoli – We eat a lot of broccoli so I almost always have some in the freezer. It’s a bit more work, but one of my favorite foods you can freeze since we eat so much of it. To freeze, cut into 1-1.5″ pieces and steam blanch for 5 minutes. Let it sit in the ice water bath for 5 minutes as well. Working quickly, dry it as well as you can and flash freeze your broccoli on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet for a few hours. Once they’re frozen, move to freezer bags and remove as much air as possible.
Potatoes – Potatoes are one of the most versatile foods you can freeze out there. You can freeze them in almost every form we eat them in; fries, diced, mashed, etc. Mashed potatoes can be frozen as is in an airtight food storage container. For fries, sliced, diced or any other way, blanch the potato for 3-5 minutes depending on the size of what you’re blanching, flash freeze on a cookie sheet and transfer to freezer bags once frozen.
Pepperoni – Several times a year pepperoni goes on sale which is great since it is a super simple food you can freeze! It doesn’t require any special care in freezing, although you may want to add the package to a freezer bag in case of rips or tears. As a side note, pepperoni is actually shelf stable before it is opened as well as long as it has been cured. Most of the major brands such as Armour and Hormel as well as most store brands have been.
Flour – If you weren’t already aware, you should know that flour can come from the store full of bugs such as weevils and their eggs. To kill these bugs and eggs and make them harmless, freeze your flour as soon as you bring it home. No special care is needed unless you want to break it down into smaller sized freezer bags. The cold will kill any creepy crawlies and keep your pantry safe from any damage they could do.
Nuts – Nuts are expensive, but they’re also one of the foods you can freeze that will save you the most money by keeping them fresh. Fresh nuts such as walnuts and cashews can go stale after being on the shelf for a while. Instead, pop them into a freezer back and freeze them to keep them fresh.
Butter – We only use real butter at our house which means that I am always looking for ways to save on it. It doesn’t require anything special. Just pop it in the freezer.
Herbs – Fresh herbs can go bad pretty quickly, but popping them int he freezer will help keep them fresher longer. You can either freeze as is or mix them with butter to make a homemade herb butter.
Carrots – Another super easy one on this list of foods you can freeze is carrots. Slice or chop into whatever size pieces you choose, add to freezer bags, squeeze out air and freeze.
Mushrooms – Believe it or not, mushrooms are one of the more complicated foods you can freeze, but it can be done. To start, use a pastry brush and brush off any dirt that you can easily see. If you’re chopping them, do that now then sort your mushrooms by size. This is an important step so don’t miss it since the time that you will blanch your mushrooms depends on their size. Before you blanch them, soak them in either 1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1.5 teaspoon citric acid with 1 pint of water for 5 minutes. This will help keep them from darkening as they blanch making them more visually appealing.
After you have sorted and soaked them, steam blanch them based on size. For whole mushrooms, steam them for 5 minutes. For buttons or quarters steam them for 3.5 minutes, and for mushroom slices steam for 3 minutes. Plunge them into an ice bath, strain the water off and pack into your freezer bags.
You can also freeze mushrooms by sauteing them in a bit of butter or oil for 4-5 minutes or until they’re done. Once they’re cooked, allow them to cool and freeze in freezer bags or individual containers.
Oranges – Oranges are another one of the super easy foods you can freeze. You can freeze oranges whole or sliced. Simply pack into freezer bags or canning jars and freeze. If you pack into jars, be sure to leave around 1″ head space to account for any expansion the oranges may do since they are full of liquid. Keep in mind that their texture might change a bit once they’re thawed. They’ll still be good but may be a bit softer than normal.
Lemons – To freeze lemons, follow the instructions for how to freeze oranges.
Limes – To freeze limes, follow the instructions for how to freeze oranges.
Pears – To freeze pears, wash, peel and core them first. Then, soak in 3 tablespoons lemon juice with 1 quart of water to prevent them from browning. Dry them after soaking and freeze.
Ricotta Cheese – Find ricotta cheese on sale? Grab a few and toss them in the freezer! They’ll thaw a bit watery but mixing it all back together will bring it right back to where you want it to be!
Yogurt – Yogurt is one of the foods you can freeze, but may need to think twice about. To freeze it, simply add to the freezer. It will however lose its texture and likely separate from itself so it will need stirred. If you’re going to freeze yogurt, I would suggest you try it with one container first to see if you like it.
Garlic – Yes! Garlic is one of the foods you can freeze! Freeze it whole, peeled or chopped in freezer bags or small mason jars. If you would rather preserve it in oil, keep in mind that the only safe way to preserve garlic in oil is to use olive oil. It is too acidic to do anything else.
Cooked Rice – I am always making more rice than I need so lucky for me it’s one of the foods you can freeze. Once it’s cooked, pack it into a freezer safe bowl and freeze as is. Thaw completely to use.
Cooked Beans – Cooked beans are another food that freezes well. Cook them until done, drain well and freeze.
Pancakes – I love pancakes, especially my banana pancake recipe but I hate having to cook them so early int he morning. The solution? Freeze them! Simply cook as you normally would and let cool. Lay your pancakes flat on a cookie sheet and when frozen, place into freezer bags. It can be helpful if you separate each pancake with parchment paper to keep them from sticking together.
Waffles – Ask my step-daughter Laura and she’ll tell you that waffles are one of her favorite foods you can freeze. Freeze them just like you do pancakes.
Muffins – Have extra muffins you want to keep from going stale? Freeze them! The process is just like freezing bread. I like to pull this trick out when I make my blueberry pancake muffins for mornings.
Crackers – Crackers are one of the more surprising foods your can freeze, but you absolutely can to keep them from going stale. Freeze them in their original sleeves, but be sure to use a hard sided container so they aren’t crushed.
Burritos – Frozen burritos are fantastic when you want a late night snack or easy dinner, but the store bought ones are so unhealthy! Luckily for us, they’re one of the easiest foods you can freeze. Make them as normal and allow to cool completely. Wrap each one twice in plastic wrap then freeze in a ziploc bag. Yes. You can put more than one burrito per bag.
Taquitos – If you have homemade taquitos left over from dinner, grab them and freeze them just as you would burritos.
Cookie Dough – I love baking cookies, but sometimes I only want to bake one or two. In this case, frozen cookie dough comes to the rescue. Simply make your favorite cookie recipe and freeze the dough in an airtight container.
Homemade Frosting – Homemade frosting is delicious but depending on the frosting recipe you’re using, it can take a bit to make. Instead, make a batch before you need it and freeze just as you would cookie dough.
Pizza Dough – Pizza dough is one of the simplest foods you can freeze. To do so, freeze just as if you would bread dough.
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches – Freeze pb&J? Yes! Make our homemade Uncrustables recipe found HERE and you can do just that! School lunches are so easy now!
Jams and Jellies –Have you ever heard of freezer jam? A quick search will find you a recipe in almost any flavor you want. With every jar of homemade freezer jam you make, you don’t have to buy one!
Bagels – Freeze bagels as you freeze bread.
English Muffins – Freeze English muffins the same way you freeze bread.
Soups – I love making a big pot of my homemade chicken noodle soup recipe, but we always have much more left over than we can eat before it all goes bad. The solution? Freeze it! Soups – with the exception of cream based soups – can be frozen by adding to a freezer container and leaving a bit of head space at the top for expansion.
Chili – Freeze left over chili the same way you do leftover soups.
Broth and Stock – Freeze homemade broths and stocks the same way you do soups.
Cereal – Find a stock up deal on cereal Freeze it to keep it from going stale.
Potato Chips – Potato chips go stale quite easily, but tossing them in the freezer can keep them fresh. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to eat them cold since once they thaw, they will be soggy.
Chocolate – Keep your chocolate stash secret by freezing it. It will not only keep stick hands out of it but also keep it fresh. No special treatment is needed and it can be frozen in its original package.
Flaxseed – Flaxseed has so many health benefits that it can be worth stocking up on. Freeze it like chocolate to keep it fresh.
Salsa – If you have leftover salsa that you don’t want to toss, freeze it in an airtight container. It is already cooked so there is no need to do any other special processing.
Yeast – Active Dry Yeast is only shelf stable for a little while. Refrigerating it can help, extend that shelf life, but freezing it will extend it even more.
Pasta Sauce – I love to make my homemade pasta sauce with meat recipe but it only lasts a week or so in the fridge. Instead, I package it into freezer containers and freeze it. No other special treatment needed.
Pizza Sauce – Freeze pizza sauce the same way as pasta sauce.
Pie Crust – Freeze pie crust the same way you do bread and pizza dough.
Coffee – Coffee is one of my favorite foods to freeze because well; coffee. Simply package it in airtight containers and freeze.
Popcorn – Keep bulk popcorn fresh longer by freezing it in freezer bags.
Beef bones – Save all your beef bones in a freezer bag! Once you get enough, make homemade beef stock!
Chicken bones – Like beef bones, save your chicken and turkey bones for making homemade stock. Freeze them in ziploc bags until you’re ready to make your stock.
Vegetable scraps – Not only can you grow vegetables from garden scraps, but you can also save those same scraps and freeze them for later when you’re ready to make homemade stock.
Marshmallows – Marshmallows are another of the more surprising foods you can freeze. Simply pop them in the freezer in a freezer bag or their original bag to keep them from going stale.
Zucchini – I love zucchini but it goes bad too quickly for me to really stock up on it since there are only two of us in the house that eat it. Instead of letting it go bad, I freeze it! Use a hand grater to grate the zucchini. Squeeze as much water out of it as you can and freeze in freezer bags.
Kool-aid – Grab your kids favorite flavor of Kool-Aid and some Popsicle sticks. Make up the Kool-Aid and pour into ice cube trays then pop int he freezer. When it starts to get slushy, add a Popsicle stick and freeze until solid. You’ve got homemade Popsicles that are small enough they won’t make a huge mess! If you want “pretty” treats, you can pick up some Popsicle molds instead of using an ice cube tray.
Tea or Tea Bags – Like coffee, tea and tea bags can be frozen to keep them fresh tasting. Freeze just like coffee. If you would rather not freeze your coffee and tea, you can also store coffee and tea long term by learning how to use mylar bags to store food for long term storage.