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Tuesday's Tips: Yes, you can freeze that!

Stock your freezer with these surprising foods to save time and money.
Stock your freezer with these surprising foods to save time and money.
Denise M Montville

Everyone uses their freezer for regular items like ice cream, frozen dinners, and meats; but there are a lot more ways to use your freezer to help save you time and money. Some of them may even surprise you.

Cheese- You can freeze a block of cheese, and to avoid it becoming crumbly be sure to defrost it all the way before you use it. Or, another option is to have it already grated. If the cheese is grated, you can use it right from the freezer.

Chips and crackers-Yes, you can freeze your chips and crackers. This is a tip people who live in humid areas have known for a long time. The chips don't get stale so quickly and you can eat them right from the freezer!

Eggs- If there's a great sale on eggs, don't be afraid to stock up on some and put the extra in your freezer. They need to be taken out of the shell first. You can put them in ice cube trays and freeze them, they will work perfectly this way when baking cakes and cookies. Or, take them out of their shells and store in freezer bags with a little salt added. Thaw in refrigerator and use as you normally would to make French Toast, scrambled eggs, or your favorite quiche.

Corn-on-the-Cob- You can freeze your corn as is, with all the husks still attached. When you want to cook up a few ears for dinner, place 2 ears in the microwave-straight from the freezer- and microwave on high for about 5 minutes. One ear can be microwaved for 4 minutes on high. The husks protect the corn as it thaws and cooks.

Milk- This one seems to shock a lot of people. Milk can be frozen! The best way to freeze milk is to remove about a cup of milk first and then freeze. Milk expands when frozen, so this works the best. Other people have said that they freeze the entire plastic jug as is, that there is enough play in the jug to expand. I haven't tried it that way. Thaw milk completely in your fridge and shake well before using.

Fruit- You can freeze everything from blueberries and strawberries to raspberries and bananas. For the bananas you will remove them from their peel and freeze in freezer bags. Over-ripe bananas are perfect for freezing. You can then use them in your favorite banana bread recipe or, toss them in a smoothie. When freezing other fruits like the strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries it is best to lay them flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze flat. Then you can put into freezer bags for storing. This way they don't freeze into a blob, they are frozen individually.

Rice- Cook up a large batch of rice, lay out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze. The rice can then be stored in serving sized containers or freezer bags. This works great for brown rice that takes a bit longer to cook. On those busy work nights you have cooked rice ready quickly.

Fresh Herbs- Freeze your fresh herbs when you have an abundance and you can be cooking with fresh herbs year round. Freeze as is, or put into ice cube trays with either olive oil or water. Once frozen store in freezer bags, The cubes are then ready to be tossed into any recipe.

Butter- Stock up when butter goes on sale and freeze. You just put it in the freezer as is, thaw when ready to use.

Breads and Baked Goods- Keep your breads, cookies and pies in the freezer to have them last a lot longer. You can even bake cookies and pies ahead of time and freeze them for whenever you want that special treat.

Mashed Potatoes- Scoop mashed potatoes with an ice cream scoop and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, put into freezer bags to store. You then have individual portions ready to go on a busy night. Mashed potatoes can last about 2 months in the freezer.

There are also casseroles and leftovers that can be frozen in individual serving sizes to make weeknight cooking easier. You can also make a bunch of pancakes or waffles to freeze and then have a fresh homemade hot breakfast on those busy mornings.

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