Why you should stock up your freezer for the New Year!


Why you should stock up your freezer for the New Year


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When you’re done with the Christmas leftovers and have spent what feels like the whole of December cooking and entertaining, what’s next? I don’t know about you, but before Christmas I tend to try and run the cupboards, fridge and freezer down to make space for all the Christmas food and drink…which means that when December has been and gone, the kitchen’s looking a little bare.

For me, that’s the perfect time to stock up the freezer. Here’s why – and what I fill it with.


Why I restock my freezer in January

January is a pretty rubbish month, if truth be told. The weather’s miserable. Everyone’s on a Christmas comedown. Nobody has any money, the wait till payday seems to last three times as long, and nobody wants to go out.

Not going out means more cooking at home. In all honesty, though, weekly shops and cooking every night seem like effort after all of the December entertaining. Frozen food makes it so much easier – and, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t reduce the nutrient content of your food.

When funds are tight, stocking the freezer is also a good way to save money. I buy yellow stickered items in the supermarket and freeze them. Our local Post Office/village shop does £3 bags of fruit and veg that are nearing the end of their life: I prep them and freeze them. It all makes a big difference!

It means that if I’ve nothing fresh in the house to make a meal from, there’s always something I can grab from the freezer. Here’s what I fill it with…


How I fill my freezer

There are five key things that I always make sure I stock my freezer with, so that I’ve always got the makings of a meal.


1. Frozen fish and meat

If you’re planning a meat or fish-based meal, consider buying a larger quantity than you need. Generally, the bigger the quantity the better value for money it is: freeze the rest (raw) in portions and use it for another meal down the line.

If you’re short on freezer space, think about buying smaller cuts (like fish fillets instead of whole fish, chicken thighs and drumsticks instead of a whole bird). You could even pre-prep your meat – like dicing chicken or beef) so it’s even easier to use when you’re ready to.

Freezing fish and meat also helps you to keep it far longer – the use by dates on this type of produce are generally pretty short. Freeze it yourself, or you can buy frozen fish online – from cod to crab, monkfish to mussels, the quicker fresh fish and seafood are frozen after being caught, the better the flavour will be.

While meat generally needs to be defrosted before cooking, fish can often be cooked from frozen which makes a speedy midweek meal even easier – try a fish stew or a warming curry!


2. Fruits and vegetables

I’ve generally got a bag of frozen berries in the freezer as they’re great for breakfast smoothies in the morning – add a bit of honey, some oats and some milk, blitz in the blender and they’re surprisingly filling.

Vegetables are a staple. I’m not ashamed to admit buying bags of frozen veg from the supermarket, but like I said earlier, I also prepare and freeze various vegetables so they can be served as a side dish or chucked into sauces, stews and stir-fries.


3. Batch-cooked meals

Whether it’s stews, soups, pasta dishes, curries…winter is a great time for batch cooking! Instead of making enough of something just for one meal, I buy the ingredients in bulk and make extra portions for the freezer, being sure to label the containers with the contents and the date it was made. If I have an evening when I don’t want to cook, I just pull out a container and put it in the fridge the night before so it’s ready to simply reheat the next day – and to serve with some of those pre-prepared vegetables that are also in the freezer!


4. Bread

Most types of bread freeze pretty well and are quick to defrost. I don’t tend to freeze huge loaves – partly because of space, partly because I find them trickier to thaw. Generally, though, you’ll always find things like wraps, crumpets, flat breads and bagels in my freezer – and once again, I’m a sucker for a yellow sticker discount on bakery products!


5. Herbs & spices

I keep meaning to grow more herbs in addition to the pot of basil I have on my kitchen windowsill, I just haven’t got round to it yet… There’s no denying, though, that fresh herbs are vastly superior to jars of the dried stuff.

Sometimes I’ll chop herbs and freeze them in oil in ice cube trays, popping them out when frozen and transferring to a labelled ziplock bag. Sometimes I’ll cheat and buy bags of chopped frozen herbs from the supermarket.

I’ve also got bags of chopped ginger in my freezer, as well as a few chillies from my mum’s chilli plant. I find chillies so much easier to chop when frozen!


What’s in your freezer? Do you keep it well-stocked or rarely use it? What are your frozen essentials? Let me know in the comments!



The post Why you should stock up your freezer for the New Year! appeared first on Bristol Bites.

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