Items to freeze and keep on hand:
Jalapenos & other peppers Spices Herbs
Cornmeal Flours Fresh Fruit Fresh Vegetables
These are just a few of the items I freeze; the possibilities are endless. When jalapenos are on sale, I buy a whole bunch and put them in a Ziploc bag and freeze them. When it’s time to use, take the amount needed, and let sit on a plate to defrost. Once thawed out which takes just a few minutes, de-seeding and taking the membrane out is a breeze. When they have been frozen, it takes less time to do it than when it is fresh. In addition, the scent of the hotness (spiciness of it) is mellowed once it is frozen just by a hair. It just makes it easier to deal with when cutting it and removing the seeds and the membrane; although, I still use gloves when using any kind of a hot pepper.
When bell peppers & other mild peppers are on sale, I like to buy a whole bunch of the different colored ones from green to red. I usually cut them in half and remove the seeds, any white parts, and the stem section out of the peppers. Then I cut them in strips and put all of the strips on a cookie sheet, laying them so the strips don’t touch each other and put them in the freezer until frozen; this helps to be able to get out the quantity you need when you want to use them; otherwise, they would all be stuck together. Once they are frozen, I put all of the strips in a Ziploc bag. If I have a whole lot of different colored peppers, I separate the colors and put them in individual Ziploc bags. If I need green bell peppers for a particular recipe such as making a bulk quantity of spaghetti sauce, I will cut them in short cubed pieces and write on the Ziploc “for spaghetti sauce”. The wonderful thing about freezing peppers in strips is you can cut them again once they are thawed for any dish. They thaw out quick, so when making an omelet or making eggs and want some vegetables in with it, this makes for a quick and easy breakfast making.
Herbs & Spices
Store bought containers & packages of herbs and spices can be left in their containers and put in the freezer. I try to have extras of the spices and herbs I use most often, so I can have some extra on hand.
Cut up fresh ginger in small chunky pieces and place in a Ziploc bag. No need to peel skin off if using in smoothies. If using fresh ginger in other recipes, it will be easier to peel off skin once frozen as it will be a small section of it. Ginger is more manageable to use when cut up in small pieces even if grating it.
Cornmeal & Flours
I either leave cornmeal and flours in the packages they come in and then store in a Ziploc bag or I transfer them into a jar. When transferring to a jar I make a label of some kind, so I can know what is inside it.
An excellent way to freeze peaches is to leave them as is and put them in a bag and freeze them whole. When you take one out, leave it out on a plate until thawed enough where the skin is easy enough to peel off with a paring knife or your hands. You will find this is a really easy way to remove the skin.
Peel kiwis and cut them up at least in half and lay on a cookie sheet until frozen. Can also lay mangoes on a cookie sheet after cutting them into pieces. Once frozen put them in a Ziploc bag. Cut bananas in half (remove the peel), roll each half in wax paper, and stick them in a Ziploc bag. This makes it easy when making smoothies. Wax paper is better than Saran wrap as it doesn’t stick to the banana as much; studies keep showing how bad plastic is for us and how bad it is when it touches food, so I eliminate using it in many ways when it comes to food.
The reason for cutting some food up and laying on an cookie sheet is because some food once frozen is really hard to get apart and sometimes impossible to get apart, so this reduces or even eliminates that problem.
Freezing allows for the ingredients you use to last longer. They have a shorter shelf life when in the pantry, the counter, and even in your refrigerator.
What do you freeze? Leave me a comment, so we can share with others.