Aussies throw out 20% of the food they buy.
Yep, on average, if you buy five bags of groceries, the stats show you’ll be binning one of those bags before the week’s through.
fraking hell, why do we do that
If that doesn’t get you cranky enough, all this adds up to $1,036 worth of wastage per year.
According to Foodwise (where I’ve smashed and grabbed the aforementioned info), this wastage can be put down to a few factors. We cook too much food, we don’t know how to use leftovers and food is mistakenly chucked out before its use-by date.
Another reason might be that we don’t know which foods can be frozen safely.
I for one have reached into the icy depths of my freezer to find a motley crew of veggies and/or hunks of meat that look fucked, but are entirely edible.
Here are some top tips on what you can freeze and how to do so, without creating a stanky, radiating carcinogenic situation in your kitchen.
thrifting for life
COOL THAT MEAL RIGHT DOWN BEFORE INTRODUCING IT TO ITS NEW, CHILLY PLACE OF RESIDENCE
I know, I know. It’s tempting to whack the remaining portion of minestrone right into the freezer while still warm – who can be bothered waiting for anything?
But putting warm food into the freezer heats up that environment and can start the defrosting process to surrounding foods. Don’t leave the meal out at room temperature for days, but give it enough time to ~be chill~.
cool and chill
THAT SAID… FREEZE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, TOO
If you’ve got a baggie of grated four-cheese mix that you know you’re not gonna use before it goes off, chuck it in the freezer NOW!
Freezing ASAP means the cheese will keep at its most nutritional state, and will in turn be fresher when you hit it up a month down the track.
A FULLER FREEZER IS MEANS YOU’LL PAY LESS, YA GEEZER
Seems counterintuitive, but hear me out.
The less you’ve got in the stash, the harder the freezer has to work to circulate cold air. So to fill it, it’s clever to purchase things like peas, sliced bread and sale meat cuts to fill er up, cause you know you’ll use these eventually.
power bill savings like
USE PORTIONS TO AVOID FOOD ABORTIONS
If you make a big ol’ batch of pumpkin soup, and only eat two serves worth, freeze that puppy. But instead of freezing it in one big tub, divide it into single serves, so that when you defrost and reheat, you’re only treating the amount you’re gonna eat.
ALLOW FOR EXXXXXPANSION
Water expands when it freezes. This is a general rule with liquids.
Studies show 8 out of 10 times you put a can of Pepsi Max in the freezer to quickly chill, you will forget about it*. Once you forget, they will explode. Cleaning this bombdiddly out the freezer is a lengthy, unrewarding task.
* Not a real statistic, but certainly true from experience. Just put ice in the cup, bro.
FREEZER BURN SURE LOOKS UGLY, BUT IT DOESN’T MAKE FOOD NO GOOD
Freezer burn is caused by water molecules frantically trying to escape the food. It looks greyish, which is entirely unappetising. It’s not hazardous, so simply trim off the affected areas before you cook.
DON’T FREEZE RICE
Slightly unrelated, but an important PSA nonetheless.
When people think of the main culprits of food poisoning, they usually go to undercooked chicken or your raw egg. But the low-key killa is rice.
Uncooked rice contains Bacillus cereus, a bacterium that can cause food poisoning. When rice is cooked, the spores can survive, and when left at room temperature, the spores can transform into bacteria.
Messing around, taking it in and out of the fridge and reheating more than once is a big no-no. You can leave it in the fridge for one day max, but you should bin it after that. This is one foodstuff that is worth wasting for your health’s sake.
LABEL WHAT THAT THING IS
Many a thrifty punter have popped their prize-worthy curry laksa in a random tupperware container, chucked it into the freezer and forgotten what it is months later.
love this kid
It might take 10 extra seconds to do, but writing ‘CURRY LAKSA‘ in sharpie on the tub will save you having to convince your partner that it “isn’t the fuckin tofu satay for the fifth fuckin time, Renee.”
THINGS STAY FROZEN AND EDIBLE FOR A LOOOOOONG TIME
it’s been 39 years
Legend has it that you have to eat that frozen thing within 3 months of it being frozen. No!
Food will store safely in the freezer for years, but the quality of the food and its nutrients begin deterioration after the three-month mark. You’ll probably want to eat it within six, but if you don’t get around to it by then, you’ll just need to cook a little longer and slower, and add some spices to up the flavour.
AND A QUICK CHEAT SHEET OF DO’S & DON’TS FOR FREEZING:
DO: Soups, stews, braises, casseroles, gratins, potato-topped pies (Sheppards, woo hoo!), fish fillets, small fish, saussies, burger patties, seafood, butter, margarine, grated cheese (awesome to pop atop homemade pizza), sliced bread, raw pastry.
DON’T: Veggies with a high water content, like lettuce and cucumber (they’ll turn to mush when you thaw), raw eggs (they will expand and crack, like that neglected can of Pepsi I mentioned earlier), herbs go brown so skip them altogether and egg-based sauces usually seperate and curdle.
Source: The Telegraph.
Photo: Frozen / McCain / pedestrian.tv.