We’re BUCKLING DOWN! At last, it’s time. There needs to be a budget and we need to play by the rules. Last year my husband lost his job unexpectedly. I guess no one ever really expects something like that, but we were fortunate in that we were semi-prepared with a modest savings and he found another job pretty darn soon. Unfortunately the new job didn’t pay as much. At the time, it was good opportunity and in this economy turning down a job feels a little absurd. It’s been over a year now, and we have failed to realign our spending with the new reality. Less money. Some things gotta go. No more CSA boxes, no more fancy coffee from Portland (xoxo Stumptown), no more stacks of cookbooks from Amazon (well, maybe just a few), no more gardener, definitely no housekeeper (although I never had one, I was seriously considering it), and no more eating out — thank god I run a meal planning service! Not to brag or anything, but I totally impress myself with how efficient food usage is around here when we actually follow the meal plans. Okay, that was totally bragging. My weakness is throwing extra recipe testing into the mix. I have a habit of spontaneously needing to make new things that are not well planned out, require extra trips to the store and are terribly fun. But those days are behind us. The next year, I’m on board with you! Although I’ll be taking the flex day for new recipe testing — I can’t help it. I need to keep bringing you the best! So, here’s to a year of saving for bigger things and enjoying what we already have. Upcycle, recycle, free-cycle. We’re gonna see how crazy we can get. Let’s start in the freezer.
I was beyond fortunate in that someone GAVE me a FoodSaver. For free. Awesome. Although, after some testing I think it might better serve an omnivore’s household — things like cheese, meat, and the like. But it does help in the freezing department. If you don’t have one, a Ziploc freezer bag does just fine, plus you can reseal it.
I like to buy avocados from Costco or just way too many when they’re on sale, so we’ll start there. Slice them, pit or no pit (doesn’t seem to make a difference). They all freeze the same. One little hint though, a quick brush of lime juice keeps them nice and green.
A few general tips on freezing food:
- Always make sure it’s cool, don’t try to freeze hot foods.
- Label and don’t forget the date! Most things keep 3-6 months
- It costs less to run a full freezer. Pack it in and if you don’t have enough to fill it up, freeze big bottles of water.
Other things you can freeze:
- Nuts and seeds: Buy in bulk and freeze what you won’t use within a few weeks.
- Bread: Sandwich bread, buns, breadcrumbs, baguettes. If you freeze baguettes, wrap in foil and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees (depending on the size of your baguette.)
- Baked Goods: Muffins, pancakes, waffles, cookies
- Fruit: Great for fruit that’s about to be too ripe. Freeze it for use in smoothies or muffins later.
- Soups: Make lunch size portions and pull out of the freezer the night before.
- Vegetables: chopped onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers; all perfect for making soups
- Wine: Use ice cube trays and drop it in your next recipes.
- Homemade Garden Burgers
- Cashew Cream: Just freeze in little tupperware ½ cup or 1 cup portions. A vegan staple you'll be happy to have on hand!
Wow! I wish I had seen this 2 days ago...I just threw out 5 avocados that got too ripe. Great to know that I can freeze them! Thanks!
Hey Julie Ann! Thanks for all these! I never thought to freeze ginger root, but that's brilliant. Fresh ginger tucked away in your freezer.
And whole ginger root! Just grate into anything and it pretty much thaws right away.
I love this list, would have never thought to freeze avocados. It's the worst when you think you have a nice ripe avocado and find out your a couple days too late. I am totally making wine cubes when we get off the Vanlife and back to accessing a freezer. I purchased an insane amount of lemons through a bountiful basket csa a while back,and squeezed and froze much if them into ice cube trays. Our ritual morning lemon water pitcher was so easy to prepare!
@Linda Awesome tip, thank you!
Here's a little Foodsaver hint. You know how you seal that first horizontal "bottom" of the bag seal? After you cut the plastic to size, turn the bag and make horizontal seals so you have individual channels for each half of the avocado. When you need only 1\2 an avocado,just cut one out and the rest are still sealed.
Yeah, I think so. But just barely ripe.
Do ad ocado,s have to be ripe to freeze them
I freeze fresh squeezed lemon juice so i can just toss a cube or two like you mentioned with the wine. sometimes other fruits as well or water with chunks of fruit for use in water during the summer. Bananas are awesome to freeze for banana bread. For those that aren't vegan, I used to freeze yogurt for use in smoothies before I went vegan!
Love the freezing avocado. I freeze fruis and nuts. I have been throwing out unused avocado. Thank you for the greattip
You can freeze fresh herbs! The method I like best, is from Serious Eats. Here's a link: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/03/how-to-freeze-herbs-for-long-term-storage.html
Do you know if you can freeze fresh herbs? Or any tips on how to keep the extra for next time?
@Hadass - I love the idea of freezing rice! I hadn't ever thought of that. Thanks so much for sharing that fantastic tip!
a tip for anything you freeze in an ice tray... I only have a couple so I empty it into a ziplock bag and keep it frozen until use- at least I can use my ice tray again in the meantime...
Freeze cooked rice, easy to heat (microwave or just drop the bag in the kettle or a pan of boiling water). Perfect for adding to thicken soups.
And thanks for the great tip y'all.
Hi Dilia - So glad you found us! Feel free to reach out if there's anything we can do to help you with your transition 🙂 Reclaim your health!
I found this website and I am very happy because I want to start doing vegan meals. I have diabetes, IBS, diverticulitis. I want to get my health back in shape. I am also gluten and lactose intolerant. Doing this diet I know I will control my diabetes and lose weight. Thank you for all the information. Happy Holidays.
@S Wilson - Love this! That's a terrific idea, thank for sharing! I always have way too many ripe tomatoes by mid-summer.
Just a tip on freezing Tomatoes- you can just throw them in a freezer bag and freeze. Then when you
are ready to use, run under warm water until the skins unfreeze- they peel right off. Great for quick sauces! If you have the food saver, you can also flatten out whole basil leaves, vacuum seal and they keep beautifully.
@Mary - That is a great idea! I love having fresh lemon juice, but hate always having to remember to buy them. All great suggestions for the freezer 🙂
I buy bags of lemons at Costco (cuz I love lemons) and freeze the juice in ice cube trays. Each cube is a bit more than a tablespoon of juice. I also freeze tomatoes, rhubarb, zucchini & jalapeño peppers from my garden. The tomatoes I blanch and peel. The peppers go in the freezer whole. The rhubarb goes in the freezer cut- up. The zucchini I grate and measure out enough for my bread recipe. I just use ziploc bags because my foodsaver stopped working.
I just bought frozen muchrooms from the grocers. Does any body know how to freeze them?
@John - Yes, perfect for the gardener. We definitely hit our limit with the peas this year. They were out of control! The FoodSaver would have come in super handy.
@Marlene - Absolutely! Perfect for mashing (sandwiches, guacamole, etc.) 🙂
@Gina - I love this suggestion! I never would have thought to freeze cooked beans. Brilliant 🙂
Beans. Buy in bulk dried, soak and cook a large batch and freeze extras in portion sizes to have already made.
That is a great little device. It's cool because often foods are really cheap when they are in season, but you can only eat so many at a time. There are consequences to eating too many of anything. Also with the garden it would be great to be able to freeze some of the produce. No more feast or famine!
I didn't know you could freeze avocados! Thanks for the tip!