Whether you only use your freezer for ice cream or it’s currently stuffed to the brim with leftover chili, bagged vegetables, and homemade cookie dough, there are a few surprising things that should absolutely be in there.
Stash the stuff on this list in the freezer and you’ll save money, cut down on food waste, and prolong the flavors of summer for just a little longer.
Stored in the freezer, dry yeast will keep for a long time past its expiration date. “I bought instant yeast three years ago and it’s seriously still alive and well because I keep it in my freezer,” says Assistant Food Editor Sheela Prakash. The freezer puts the yeast in a state of suspension. You can use it straight from the freezer; sprinkling it into room-temperature liquid wakes the yeast right back up again.
2. Whole-Wheat or Whole-Grain Flour
Whole-grain flours are high in nutrients and oils, which means they’re more prone to spoiling and can go rancid pretty quickly. The shelf life is relatively short (just a few months), whereas all-purpose and other refined flours will keep for up to two years. Putting these flours in the freezer, however will slow down the spoiling process — and doing so also protects them from pest infestations. Store the flour in an airtight container, like a Mason jar or a big zip-top freezer bag.
More on Whole-Grain Flours
3. Homemade Pesto
If you have herbs that are wilting, don’t waste them! Just turn them into pesto and then freeze it. But don’t do it in ice cube trays the way everyone else on the Internet tells you to. Sheela has a better idea: Freeze your pesto on a small baking sheet (like a quarter sheet pan or even the tray in your toaster oven) and then slice up all sorts of shapes and sizes, so you can pick what you need later.
Although breadcrumbs are inherently pretty stale, you don’t want them to get any more stale than they have to be. If you don’t go through them all that quickly in your household, stash ’em in the freezer. Then when you need to use them for, say, breading chicken cutlets or as filler in meatballs, just measure out what you need. If you’re using the breadcrumbs on top of pasta, give them a quick toast in the oven.
5. All Things Tomatoes
Buy up all those juicy summer tomatoes! All of them! We promise they won’t go to waste because basically anything you can make with tomatoes can be frozen. Heck, you can even freeze plain ol’ whole ripe tomatoes.
4 Tomato Things to Freeze
What else do you put in your freezer?