I’m in love with my deep freezer. Our relationship started in 1993 when I bought it and it’s still going strong after 22 years. It’s survived three moves and outlasted my marriage. It’s helped me through postpartum exhaustion, celebrations, busy summers and long winters. I don’t know of any home appliance that works so hard, quietly doing its job, all to save me time and money.
Yet, some people don’t understand the potential of their freezer and what it can do for them. They use it to store convenience food and ice cream and that’s about it. If this is you, do yourself a favor and let your freezer help you out.
ix Reasons To Use Your Freezer More
- You don’t have to go to the store as often, which saves time and money.
- Keeps items you use infrequently from getting stale, saving money.
- Take advantage of really good deals you find and stock up, saving money.
- Have things on hand for impromptu cooking or baking, saving time not running to the store.
- You can freeze food that is already prepped, saving time.
- Have baked goodies ready for breakfast or snacks all the time, saving time and money.
With all that time saved not going to the store you’d think I might have time to defrost and organize my freezer, wouldn’t you?
Here are over 50 things to freeze to save time and money. I’ve frozen all of them and probably have the majority in my freezer right now. I won’t bother to mention things you buy already frozen as I would assume you realize you can freeze them.
50 Things to Freeze to Save Time and Money
- Bread-Extra loaves go in the freezer so they stay fresh until we get to them.
- Chips, Pretzels, & Crackers- Get them when they are on sale or just to keep them fresh. Cold and crispy chips are the best.
- Cereal-Available for breakfast, snacks and rice crispy treats
- Margarine & butter
- Hamburger & hot dog buns
- Chocolate chips
- Flour- Storing it in your cabinet, bugs can hatch in it. Yuck. Freeze it instead.
- Brown sugar
- Meats- Buy it when it’s reduced and put it straight in the freezer. You can save 40% on meat!
- Wheat germ, wheat bran, flax seed, sunflower seeds, etc.Sometimes a recipe calls for something you don’t use that often. Freeze it until the next time you need it.
- Nuts- almonds, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, mixed nuts, in the shell or shelled, sliced, chopped or whole
- Fruits- buy fresh berries when they are on sale and *flash freeze on a tray then bag them for storage in the freezer. Great for smoothies because you can just grab a handful and they make your smoothie nice and cold.
- Vegetables- Slice bell peppers or onions into strips and flash freeze. When you need just a little green or red pepper you can take just a few strips out of the bag. This is great for us as we have a hard time eating a whole pepper before it goes bad.
- Jalapenos- I slice in half and flash freeze for use in salsa year round. Otherwise, I’d be heading to the store for one silly jalapeno when I get a craving for chips and salsa.
- Waffles- If I’m going to make waffles, why not make a double batch and freeze the extra? I break them into quarters and freeze between layers of wax paper in a plastic bag. Defrost and heat in the microwave or pop them in the toaster if you like them crispy after they’ve defrosted.
- Pancakes- same story, different breakfast.
- Panko Crumbs- I don’t want them to get stale, so in the freezer they go.
- Yeast– Yes, you can freeze yeast. I buy it in bulk in one pound bags. It’s so, so much cheaper than buying it in jars or little packets. I first did this at Sam’s probably 10-15 years ago and bought two bags. It still worked great until I ran out recently. This time I bought it on Amazon. I kept a jar from a previous yeast purchase and refill it from the bags.
- Shredded cheese- I used to buy shredded cheese and freeze it. Now I shred my own, and still freeze it. It will clump together more as it doesn’t have the cornstarch, cellulose, sawdust, or whatever that white stuff on shredded cheese is, on it to prevent it. You can defrost it in the microwave a little and then break up the clump with your hands.
- Herbs- Why must you buy cilantro and parsley in quantities large enough to last a year when the herbs will barely last a week? I got tired of throwing cilantro away so now I chop it in a food processor with a little olive oil to help it stick together, flash freeze it in one tablespoon balls or clumps on a tray and then store in a plastic bag for future uses. Just take out a little ball of cilantro when you need it. I use it in fresh salsa all the time.
- Hamburger Patties- I don’t buy them in patties, I make my own, season, flash freeze on a tray, then freeze them separated by wax paper in a plastic bag. This way I can take out however many patties I need and I’ve saved myself some time.
- Pizza sauce-I have the same problem with pizza sauce as herbs. Whether I make my own pizza sauce or buy it, I always end up with more than I need. Freeze the extra for next time. Otherwise it will turn green before you make pizza again.
- Cookie Dough- Freeze in a log shape and wrap in plastic wrap, then in a plastic bag. Just as convenient and way better than refrigerated cookie dough you buy. It doesn’t take that long to thaw and if you’re in a rush you can defrost in the microwave. You can also freeze it in balls in a container, but that takes up more space in the freezer.
- Granola bars- When I make homemade, I freeze them for lunches and they are thawed by the time you’re ready to eat.
- Baked Cookies- Occasionally I’ll bake several batches of cookies at once and freeze some for later. I use 5 Qt. ice cream containers to freeze them in.
- Cooked Shredded Chicken- Whether I make a whole chicken specifically for this purpose or just shred the leftovers from dinner, having cooked chicken in the freezer is way, way cheaper than buying it precooked.
- Browned Ground Beef- It’s the preparation that tends to take time in cooking. If I have ground beef already browned (and drained) in the freezer, dinner can be ready in half the time. Great for tacos, spaghetti with meat sauce and casseroles.
- Soups-I love to make a big pot of homemade soup and freeze the extra in individual size containers for lunches (assuming you have a microwave available). I use the little plastic containers you can buy deli meat in. They hold around two cups. Homemade soup is cheaper, healthier and will be the envy of your coworkers.
- Pizza Crust-You can freeze pizza crust after the first rise in flattened discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and then put in a plastic bag. Once thawed completely, pat or roll out on your pan and you’re ready to top your pizza.
- Ripe Bananas- Peel and either flash freeze individually or just pop them all in a bag. Flash freezing just means you’ll be able to pull out one banana without it being frozen/stuck to others. These are great for banana bread and smoothies.
- Pie Crusts- Similar to the pizza crust. Freeze it in a disc, thaw, roll out and you’re one step closer to PIE.
- Popcorn Kernels- Sometimes I’m lazy and buy microwave popcorn. Thank goodness the bag of popcorn kernels is stored in the freezer so they don’t get stale during my times of laziness.
- Coffee- It’s cheaper to buy it in the big can, but how long will it take one person (not me, coffee=blech) to use that much coffee? Keep some out, freeze the rest! It will stay fresh.
- Cake-There was a time I would bake a cake and it would take us quite a while to eat it. My solution was to bake it in two 9 inch round pans and freeze one for later. (Do not frost it prior to freezing.) It was great. Now I have teens and I don’t have that problem.
- Buttercream frosting- For frosting the cake, of course. Once it is thawed, stir it well and it’ll be good as fresh.
- Homemade stock- Chicken or vegetable
- Marinating Meats-If you’re like me, you always forget to marinate meat until 5 minutes before you’re supposed to put it on the grill. Solution? Freeze the meat and the marinade together in a plastic bag right after you come home from the store or the next day. Then it will be marinated whenever you want it. The night before you plan to grill, move it to the refrigerator. The next evening, it will be thawed, marinated and ready to go.
- Vegetable peels & scraps for stock-I keep a plastic zippered bag in my freezer door for onion and carrot peels and other vegetable scraps to use when I make vegetable or chicken stock. I don’t keep potato skins or any greens. The dry papery onion skin is the best as it will give your stock the nice dark color you want.
- Quick breads such as pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, banana bread
- Hot cocoa mix- the recipe I use makes a big batch.
- Leftover lasagna
- Pot stickers- flash freeze
- Graham crackers
- Candy coating, leftover melted chocolate
- Zucchini- Because if you grow it, you’ve got a lot.
- Pre-Made Smoothie Bags-1/2 cup fruit & 1/2 cup yogurt in a freezer bag. Freeze. When you want a smoothie thaw slightly under warm water to break it up just a little then dump in blender. Add 1/2 cup juice or milk and blend. Experiment with ingredients.
- Ice-Yes. Ice. Because why pay for frozen water when you can make your own and save it? And because a full freezer is more energy efficient than a half full freezer.
*Flash freeze* – Lay wax paper or parchment paper on a cookie sheet or tray. Spread items out on the tray without touching each other and freeze until frozen solid. Then put them in freezer bags. They will be frozen individually and won’t clump together (as much) so it is easy to take out how much you need.
Always remember to label and date what you put in the freezer.
You would think, looking at the amount of food I keep in my freezer, my grocery bills must be huge. But it’s just the opposite. I’m able to make more things from scratch and save money because I keep items I use on hand in the freezer. There’s less temptation to go out to eat or get take out when you have a freezer full of food. This can go a long way to help you achieve your savings goals.
Help me spread the word by pinning this post to Pinterest or sharing on Facebook. That way more people can see how I need to defrost my freezer!
What kinds of things do you freeze that help you save time and money? Let me know in the comments. I plan to share some of my recipes for the freezer in the future. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you get them!