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Since I like my meals to be fresh, I don’t freeze prepared meals, instead, once a month I make a freezer meal prep plan.
I don’t buy prepared frozen meals, and I prefer to have my meals freshly cooked.
So I use the freezer to store meal prep so that I can still cook fresh but save time with these frozen meal preps.
Different types of food can be stored for months and be there when you need it.
So here is what you’ll find in my freezer:
To the left is a chart of my usual storage system, but there are naturally some exceptions to it (though not as many as in French grammar!)
It refers to my first post: The Time-Saving Vegetables Rule
Whether cooked or uncooked, most proteins can be stored in the freezer: Meat, Fish, Cheese, Eggs (not whole).
I always freeze meat and fish uncooked and in 4-person portions, so each time I will defrost only the quantity needed for our family meals.
Bread also stores well in the freezer.
If you let it defrost overnight on the kitchen counter, it will be like fresh the next morning.
If you warm it up for 2 minutes in the oven once completely defrosted, it will also have the same fragrance as newly baked ones.
I usually only freeze vegetables that will be cooked or baked afterwards, in stews or quiches for example.
Most defrosted vegetables tend to be mushy, but that won’t matter for those types of recipes.
I do buy frozen peas and spinach because they freeze well and they are handy “back-up” vegetables to have on hand when you run out of fresh ones.
I also always freeze leftover meals…if there’s any left!
When freezing and defrosting food, I follow these basic safety rules:
- If I want to freeze the meat or fish I’ve just bought at the store, I do it immediately, i.e. without letting it sit in my fridge for days.
- It’s best not to thaw food on the kitchen counter at room temperature, but I do. However, I always make sure to put them in the fridge as soon as they are completely defrosted.
- I never re-freeze thawed food.
- Food can be refrozen though if it has been gradually thawed in the refrigerator, although I never do this.
This is an additional safety precaution I always use:
- We have a lot of lightning storms here in the region, especially during the end of the summer, and often the electricity gets cut off.
- So this is what I do to make sure the food in the freezer is safe, especially if we are not at home or we are travelling.
- I always leave a cup filled with ice cubes in the freezer.
If on our return I find a frozen cup of water instead of the ice cubes, then I know something happened.
The temperature was not maintained at freezing level, and so the food is no longer safe to eat.
In using the freezer, what really helps me to save time with the daily meal-making are the Base Ingredients and the Stocks that I prepare and freeze over a boring, rainy weekend.
Just 1 hour spent every other month saves me hours on a weekly basis:
- Mirepoix: Carrots, Onions and Celery
- Grated parmesan
- Homemade Chicken Stocks
- Homemade Br0wn stock
- Homemade Fish stock
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