Bacon: "When I open a package, I roll up the individual strips and pop each one into one of the cells on a plastic ice tray,” says JennOfArk. After they’re frozen, the rolled bacon can be packed into an airtight bag or container, meaning no more having to separate slices or take out more than you need.
Tomato sauce: DeadlyAccurate smartly preserves a staple that often results in leftovers. “I have a silicone cupcake pan I pour spaghetti/marinara sauce into, freeze, pop out, then vacuum-seal the frozen lumps. It ends up being about half-a-cup of sauce each lump.” Winning Just Enough to Be a Loser (honestly, you all are so creative with your handles) notes this is an especially handy trick for those of us with kids.
Fresh juice: Freezing juice in an ice cube tray is a great way to deal with excess citrus that’s about to go off or the inevitability that recipes frequently use the juice of just part of a lime or lemon. Of course, it would work just as well with oranges or grapefruit. “Bag up the different kinds of juice separately, then thaw the preferred combo of juices when I want it,” says kmainpa. For busy days, -dbg- keeps pouches of homemade green juice in the freezer, too.
Cooked mushrooms: When mushrooms are on sale, blue lakes stocks up to slice, saute and freeze. “So handy when making pizza and you just need a few or in stroganoff, eggs, etc. So much better than canned and when you have no time to cook the mushrooms and wait for them to release their moisture.”
Mirepoix: Who hasn’t started to make a recipe for soup only to find they’re missing one or more of the ingredients for the flavorful base? ArtsyOne chops up a big batch and freezes it flat on a baking sheet. “When I need some for soup, I just break off a chunk. So much easier than making sure that I have carrots, onions and celery on hand when I get a sudden craving for a good chicken barley soup.”
Stock ingredients: While I mentioned freezing scraps for vegetable broth, BlueMoose offers additional options. “I have plastic bags in my freezer for shrimp shells, pork and chicken fat trimmings, and mushroom stems. When I accumulate enough shells or stems, I make them into stock. The fat I rend into lard and schmaltz for cooking.”
Cooked rice: “In the fridge it dries out and is inedible in a day or so (unless you’re making fried rice with it and need it dry). I pop leftover homemade or even takeout rice into little silicone cups with lids for rice-bowl-sized servings,” says Trubadore. “Pop into the microwave for a couple of minutes and you have perfect, soft rice! (Don’t underheat or it’ll have a weird texture — get it piping hot.)”
Sesame seeds: I mentioned nuts, and Mary26 chimes in with a similar point. “Sesame seeds also benefit from freezer storage — they’re high in oils, so can go rancid."
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