TO ICE ICE BABY…OR NOT

My grandmother froze everything. I remember opening her freezer and there’d be all these little parcels wrapped in aluminium foil in her deep freeze and they contained everything from a scotch finger biscuit to 2 rows of cadbury chocolate, a whole lemon to half a baked chicken. Her freezer was full of these little parcels and I used to love going through it, unwrapping, to see what I could find.

Anyway, she passed this habit onto my mum who also freezes everything – from bread to cheese to pasta to whole cakes on platters ready to pull out and put straight onto the table for afternoon tea (they almost always defrost in time). In fact if you want something you’ll often find it in the freezer not in the fridge. There’s literally nothing my mother won’t ice and if I ever suggest that, for example, you can’t freeze avocado she replies with a simple “rubbish” then pulls a avocado out of the freezer.

But the “freezing gene” has skipped a generation and I’m to the other extreme where I’m even hesitant to freeze meat – which is ridiculous because meat is actually one thing that does freeze well.

Which somehow gets me to this:

One of my partner’s old flat mates used to freeze his own poo. Yep I said poo.  He was detoxing at the time and part of the routine involved regular inspection of ones own faeces. Anyway there is a point to sharing that story – which we often laugh about – and it is this –

                              just because you CAN freeze something – doesn’t mean you should.

Welcome to my world of what can be frozen and what can’t. Here’s a list of some foods you might not be sure about…..

CAN… 

FRESH MEAT – Yep, you’re supposed to take it out of the supermarket tray, wrap it in tight plastic etc but honestly who has time to do that? Not me. Ice it the tray I say!

GRAPES – Kids love them frozen and they’re good for using as ice cubes in wine.

WINE – Not likely I know but on the off chance you haven’t finished the bottle freeze in ice cube tray and use for cooking.

BANANAS – Peel them first, chop and store in ziplock bags.

EGGS – Cracked and beaten they can be defrosted and used for cooking and can be frozen for up to a year. Egg whites freeze really well on their own too.

BERRIES – They’ll be a bit soggy once defrosted but good for smoothies or adding to muffins.

STEAMED RICE – You can freeze it in portions and just microwave when you need it.

NUTS – Most nuts freeze really well however they will lose their fresh crunch once defrosted, so probably not so great for eating with a beer but perfect for baking and cooking.

HOME MADE CAKES AND BISCUITS – I sometimes cut individual pieces and wrap in cling wrap before freezing in a Tupperware container so they’re easy to grab and put into the kids lunchboxes (or take out to have with a cup of tea). I do the same with cookies.

CAN’T…

MOST FRESH FRUIT AND VEG INCLUDING SALAD GREENS – (too high in water content so they’ll never return to original state once thawed. They discolour and go soggy. No one wants to eat a soggy apple)

ANYTHING BATTERED OR FRIED (that’s already been cooked) – because there won’t be any crispyness or crunchyness left in the food once defrosted. Some things you may be able to reheat in the oven to try to regain some former glory but this tends to make whatever it is dry.

PASTA – don’t do it. For me cooked pasta doesn’t freeze well. Some people say it works if the pasta is al dente but I’m such a pasta lover I only want to eat pasta at it’s best and that is just after it’s cooked.

EGGS – In their shell they’ll expand and crack.

MILK IN THE CARTON/BOTTLE – The milk will expand and leak all through the freezer. Also, why would you??!

CREAM/YOGHURT – just don’t.

SOFT CHEESES – I have friends who freeze soft cheeses and then I see them cutting the entire outside of the cheese wheel off because it’s discoloured and dried out – leaving only half the original size. Why bother? If you have soft cheese in the fridge that’s nearing it’s used by date – EAT IT NOW and ENOY IT!

CONDIMENTS, MAYONNAISE, BOTTLED SAUCES  – They last for ages in the fridge anyway.

AND JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD…

HARD CHEESES – I have tried but the cheese never has the same consistency once it’s been frozen and defrosted. I suppose if you’re not putting it on a cheese board or having it on a cracker it’s fine but cheese lasts for ages in the fridge anyway so why ruin it with ice?!

HERBS – Some people say yay but I say nay. When ever I freeze herbs I end up throwing them out once they’re defrosted because they’re lifeless and discoloured and they look awful. FRESH IS BEST with herbs.

MILK –  I have a problem with drinking defrosted milk that’s past its used by date. Whether it’s a mental thing or not – I can taste difference. Some people (my mother) freezes dairy all the time and then uses it in cooking so I suppose that’s ok.

POO – Even though technically poo can be frozen and defrosted no problems at all it’s not a good idea for hygienic reasons and well, you don’t want visitors or the kids mistaking it for chocolate.

Let me know if there’s something you’ve frozen successfully or unsuccessfully!! Or if you have any funny stories about what you’ve unexpectedly found in your freezer…….

Mars X

mm

Marie Patane

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