By Karla Mikkelson
One day, fresh green beans were on sale for 99 cents per bag at a local grocery store. I stacked five full bags into my cart and went on my way. It wasn’t long before I ran into my neighbor. “May I ask what you are going to do with all those beans?” she asked. “Freeze them!” I proudly replied.
While I realize the value of using them fresh, I also know my budget. And at that price, they were a great buy at no more of a cost than canned.
My habits are similar for any great buy that can be frozen and used within one to six months, depending on the product. If you’re ready to stretch your shopping budget, I recommend an upright freezer, a stack of freezer bags and a Sharpie to label your food. Be sure to add the date you froze it. This will allow you to use the earliest items first.
Organize each shelf by food group, and always look to the freezer first for meal inspiration and planning.
As the months go by, you’ll save many a trip to the store, as well as hundreds of dollars.
Fruits & Veggies
- Sweet corn (blanch and cut off the cob).
- Garden green beans.
- Garden asparagus (great from a local farm).
- Squash (slow bake, mash, add butter and brown sugar, freeze).
- Strawberries (toss with a bit of sugar so they make their own juice, then freeze).
- Tomatoes (blanch, pull of skins, freeze. Great for chili).
- Apples (cut or dice so they’re ready for apple crisp, apple pancakes, etc.).
- Applesauce (great for lunch boxes and a healthy substitute for sugar in recipes).
- Green, red and yellow peppers (dice small for use in omelettes and other recipes).
- Onions (chopped small for omelettes and casseroles).
- Chopped carrots and celery (ready for fast homemade soups and casseroles).
- Soups (double the batch and freeze for quick, healthy lunches).
- Wild rice (pre-cooked with beef boullion, onion and celery, this makes a great fast, homemade soup).
- Chicken, fish and red meats.
- Meatloaf/meatballs (bake extra and freeze to save time later).
Desserts, Cookies, Breads
Make extra banana and pumpkin breads to have on hand for quick breakfasts and drop-in guests. Warming a homemade pie in the oven will impress guests every time. They’ll never know it was frozen.
Don’t see it on this list? Be creative. You never know until you try it.