Flash Freezing

Let me get this straight–before last week, all perishable food bought in the UK carried the advice to ‘freeze food on day of purchase?!’ Seriously?

Happily, that is no longer the case at the major British chain Sainsbury’s, as they’ve backed off that uber-cautious advice. With the backing of the waste-reduction crew at WRAP, Sainsbury’s labels now look like this:

Here’s Beth Hart, Sainsbury’s head of product technology for fresh and frozen:

There is no food safety reason why it cannot be frozen at any point prior to the use-by date. As one customer pointed out to me while discussing the previous labelling, ‘How does the product know which day I purchased it on?’

The news has been widely reported, with the story appearing in the BBC (best headline), The Telegraph, and The Guardian. But I wish someone was asking how that silly bit of original advice existed for so long.

Anyway, while we’re on the subject, here are some useful frozen food tips, courtesy of Love Food Hate Waste:

  • Fruit: slice and freeze lemons then use them straight from the fridge in iced drinks. Frozen grapes and strawberries also make novel ice cubes which also taste great.
  • Potatoes: simply parboil (boil for about 5 mins) and freeze them for later. When you want them thaw overnight and roast the next day. Mashed potato also freezes well.
  • Milk: if you know you’re not going to use milk before the date freeze it. and then when you need some milk thaw in the fridge. Plastic containers are okay for freezing milk in, but the milk will expand so pour out a small amount (for a cup of tea for example) to allow for this, shake well before using
  • Cheese: try grating Cheddar cheese before freezing and use as toppings on pizza or shepherd’s pie from frozen. Stilton can be frozen without grating and is just as good as fresh!
  • Leftover roast meat: such as chicken and lamb. Thaw in the fridge and use as normal, in a risotto or curry.
  • Bread: use straight from frozen as toast or make sandwiches for work – by lunchtime they’ll be defrosted. Bang the loaf on the work surface before putting it in the freezer to help the frozen slices come apart more easily.
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  1. Posted February 15, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I freeze the ends of bread loaves (you know, the ‘heel’ no one ever wants?). I use them for breadcrumbs or bread pudding or stuffing. I also freeze stale bread and rolls for breadcrumbs and such, and I have a baggie of cookie crumbs in my freezer for pie crusts and coffee cake toppings.
    Leftover mashed potatoes go into a muffin tin to freeze, I use about 2 muffins per person when reheating-just microwave on half power until thawed, mash and add a little milk, then finish heating. Works well with sweet potatoes, too.
    I always freeze leftover pizza-it reheats very well in the oven on my pizza stone for lunch!
    I also freeze leftover taco meat (a little goes a long way when making quesadillas).
    I also keep a stock bag in my freezer, into which goes all veggie scraps and peels and when it fills up, I make veggie stock with it (I throw it all in a cheesecloth bag in a stockpot full of water, after cooking, I feed the cooled veg scraps to my worms).

  2. Bernie
    Posted February 17, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Um, shouldn’t that be “bang loaf of bread” after taking it out of freezer? not before – or you will just smash your loaf of bread. And cheddar on pizza? ok, it’s possible but someone should tell the Brits that pizza goes better with a little mozz and some parm – both freeze well.

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