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Frugal ways with a freezer

PUBLISHED: 09:01 11 August 2018

There's very little food that can't be frozen, according to Love Food Hate Waste.
Picture: Getty Images

There's very little food that can't be frozen, according to Love Food Hate Waste. Picture: Getty Images

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There are lots of things you can do without when you’re attempting to live life a little more thriftily but a freezer probably shouldn’t be one of them, write thrifty living columnist Sheena Grant.

A freezer is your friend in frugality, sometimes in the most unexpected of ways.

Mine’s doubled as an impromptu air conditioning system this summer. Opening the door and embracing the rush of ice-cold air for a few seconds on particularly sultry days has felt like a life-saver at times.

There are, of course, also more conventional ways that a freezer can save you money and cut down on food waste, which is a huge issue in the UK, with households throwing away £13bn of edible food every year, according to the charity Wrap (Waste and Resources Action Programme).

Its Love Food Hate Waste campaign champions freezing food as a way of extending its life for up to six months, maybe even longer. It conducted a survey which found almost 80% of people interviewed had recently thrown away food that was nearing its date, without realising they could freeze it and keep it for later. Apparently, 20% of us don’t know we can freeze eggs, 17% of us don’t realise we can freeze milk, 16% cheese and 16% for fruit.

Love Food Hate Waste suggests slicing and freezing lemons for use straight from the fridge in iced drinks; boiling potatoes for five minutes and freezing them (when you want them, thaw overnight and roast the next day). Mashed potato also freezes well; freezing whole chillies and chopping them while they’re still frozen; making a batch of cauliflower or broccoli cheese and splitting into individual portions for freezing (great if the veg isn’t going to last much longer or you’ve bought too much).

Milk can also be frozen (it will expand so pour out a small amount - for example, in a cup of tea - to allow for this) and so can cheese - try grating Cheddar and then freezing it for use as toppings on pizza or shepherd’s pie.

Other ideas include mixing yoghurts nearing their use-by date with over-ripe fruit. Add a stick, pour into lolly moulds and freeze. They’re also great for smoothies. You can also make stale bread and leftover crusts into breadcrumbs by whizzing up in a food processor.

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