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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Under pressure: The foods you can freeze now to get ready for Christmas

Christmas has a way of sneaking up on us. This can be especially challenging if you’re the host of the food-centric holiday.

Luckily, there are numerous foods you can freeze now to get ready for the big day. Produce for example freezes up great.

When produce is in season, you will find great stock-up prices. If you find a good deal on fruits or vegetables make sure to stock up and freeze them for later on.

Stocking up and freezing when the price is right can decrease your grocery budget dramatically, too.

Here are some of the foods you can buy and freeze for later use.

Herbs. Picture: Asya Vlasova/ Pexels

Herbs

Chop the herbs, place them in one or more ice cube trays, and add a little water or olive oil (depending on the dish you want to make later), and they will be ready to use for any occasion.

Fruits. Picture: Jane Doan/ Pexels

Fruits

Before freezing fruit, make sure it is washed, dried, and divided up into smaller portions. This will make it easy to quickly grab what you need without defrosting the entire batch.

You can pretty much freeze any fruit you plan to use in smoothies because it will get mashed up anyway. However, don’t plan on freezing fruit simply for eating – it will be really soggy.

Prawns. Picture: Dana Tentis/ Pexels

Prawns

Prawns are a Christmas staple, and prices often rise in the week leading up to Christmas. Most prawns caught at sea are frozen and then thawed before the sale. You can pick up good quality frozen prawns well in advance.

Sweet potato. Picture: Loren Castillo/ Pexels

Sweet potato, pumpkin, or squash

Simply cook, mash or puree and then freeze in bags or other containers for your pies and side dishes. They can be defrosted and warmed.

Nuts. Picture: David Disponett/ Pexels

Chocolate chips and nuts

Both of these are great for freezing, and when you open them up, they are nice and fresh. You can even toss in frozen chocolate chips to cookie recipes, and they will bake the same.

Cake

Make sure to slice it up before you place it into a freezer-suitable container. To prevent the slices from sticking together, it’s best to put a piece of aluminium foil between each slice. To defrost, leave the slices to stand at room temperature for two to three hours.

Cheese. Picture: Polina Tankilevitch/ Pexels

Block cheese

Cheese can be expensive, but you can also find cheese at rock-bottom prices. When you find a great price on cheese, stock up. The cheese will last in the freezer for about six months. Shred your cheese prior to freezing to prevent it from crumbling.

Ginger. Picture: Joris Neyt/ Pexels

Ginger

Cooking with frozen ginger is ridiculously easy. In fact, you can freeze whole pieces of unpeeled ginger by wrapping them tightly in cling wrap and placing them in a resealable freezer bag.

When you’re ready to use some ginger, there’s no need to defrost: Just scrape with a spoon to peel the ginger (if you need to) and then grate it. You can then toss the ginger into stir-fries and soups, and use it to make tea or to bake.

Have you checked out the latest IOL Food & Drinks digital magazine? Read it here.

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