How to Save Money with a Deep Freeze
Getting a deep freeze was one of the best purchases we ever made. I like to call it the “4 month freezer”, because we stalked the hell out of the thing to make sure we were getting the best deal. In doing so, we watched for sales, kept watching for sales, and when it became clear after observing these cycles what was a good price and what was not, we pounced!
Now just to begin I want to say that we live in a place that is small. And by small I mean absolutely, ridiculously small. However we decided that it was going to be totally worth it to MAKE FUCKING ROOM for a deep freeze!
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4 Reasons Why Getting Deep Freeze is Totally Worth it
- Frugal Shopping and buying in bulk- We live in Canada where food is crazypants expensive. I always see these sites that say FEED YOUR FAMILY FOR TEN CENTS AND A HUNK OF BELLYBUTTON LINT or whatever, and that shit simply doesn’t fly here. Having a freezer means cruising the sales and loading up on meat, veggies, frozen fruit, etc. The key is to figure out the things you usually eat each month that are freezable (such as meat, fruit, and veggies) and keep an eye out for sales to stock up. If buying meat then portion it out (if freezing without preparing first- we will get to this next) and pop it in the freezer so it’s ready to go.
- Batch Cooking- This is where you cook many things at once and freeze them so that they are ready to go later. This saves a ton of time on busy nights (think soccer practice and busy shit like that) and also helps to quell the urge to wind up balls deep in the drive-through when you haven’t got a plan. A few things that we batch cook around here are: hamburgers or meatballs, chili, burritos, spaghetti sauce, salsa, tomato sauce, and shredded beef/chicken/pork, quiche, twice baked potatoes and other pies/casseroles. Now that we are establishing a from-scratch whole foods pantry we have started batch cooking beans as well, since we wont be getting them from a can.
- Saving food before it spoils- A third of my freezer is taken up by bags of fruits and veggies that have been stashed away before they could spoil. If I have strawberries, blueberries etc. that look like they are getting a little sad, I tuck them away to quickly add to smoothies. The same works for nut milks, yogurt, greens (lettuce/spinach/kale/mixed greens). If you pre-cut your veggies and they are about to go past their prime, pop them into the freezer to add to stews, chili, jambalaya and soups. Pretty much anything that wont suffer from any texture changes. This makes it so that if you are making something like chili, you can “shop the freezer” for cut up peppers, celery and onion which helps cut the prep time and saves the need for any last minute store trips.
- Saving up leftovers- If you have made a big batch of something and have some leftovers that you don’t anticipate getting to before they will spoil, freeze them in individual portions. When we make a baked ham we save the leftovers in portions to add in quiche, when we bake a chicken we save it in packs to add to quesadillas or pot pie.
Having shredded meat is a great way to make it stretch further. If you are trying to reduce your meat intake (as we are here) shredded meat is easy to use “as a garnish”.
Ice trays are good for freezing herbs, vegetable or chicken stock, tomato paste, etc. You can also use muffin tins, freezer bags or containers. Once you get into a groove of using your freezer you will find which ways work best for you for each item.
Other Things you Can Freeze
Did you know you can freeze dried beans, rice, flour, some baking mixes and nuts?!
This is great to know if you are buying in bulk and building a stockpile. This means that even if you don’t have the space to keep these items in your cupboards, you might be able to keep them fresh in your freezer. Just be aware of how you are storing them to ensure maximum freshness, and for how long you store them for.
Baby food! Homemade baby food is made with love and saves you a ton of money.
Meat marinade packs! Make your marinades on your batch cooking day and separate your meat into portions and freeze in the marinades.
Pizza dough and pie shells! If you have a good base mix, you can have dough on hand to pull out to make a variety of items.
Healthy deserts! These can include smoothie pops, homemade date energy balls, or coconut butter candy.
Leftover coffee or tea! Freeze in ice trays and pop into iced coffees, teas or smoothies/blended ice drinks.
Veggie scraps– can use these to make veggie stock for adding to your recipes.