Most of us are always looking to find an easier way to ensure our meals are easy to prepare and packed with nutrition.
With the many seasons of fresh, nutrient dense foods, one of the best ways to lock in the nutrients is by knowing what foods you can freeze.
So what foods you can freeze?
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Naturally, some foods that come to mind are: berries, mango, bananas, broccoli and green beans. These are likely top of the mind because they are some of the more popular frozen foods used in healthy cooking.
But have you ever thought about freezing fresh herbs, watermelon or even garlic and lemon peels?
These are great foods to have in the freezer for quick, nutrient-rich and flavorful additions.
Before we start freezing, let’s think about the best ways to freeze and lock in the most nutrients
When you are deciding what foods to freeze, be sure to buy in season and if possible, buy at your local farmers market. If you buy at the farmers market, you can build a relationship with the vendors and learn when and where the foods were harvested.
You should be searching for those foods that have had the opportunity to become “vine-ripened.”
This means, the fruit or vegetable has had time to reach its most nutrient potential.
Also, buying local will give you the assurance that the fruits and vegetables haven’t been lugged across the country with the potential of being picked too soon and having come in contact with unwanted bacteria or other contaminants.
So what foods are best for freezing?
Quite honestly, there may not be a fruit and vegetable that cannot be frozen.
Here are some of the best ones since they are the most nutrient dense and best tasting while grown and harvested during their peak seasons:
– Butternut squash
– Swiss chard
– Pattypan squash (this is a good one so be sure to check it out if you haven’t before).
Be sure to label what it is, as well as the current date to ensure you are using it in a timely manner.
If you enjoy a smoothie for a quick and healthy breakfast or a post-workout meal, or if you often prepare healthy stir-frys or omelets, then frozen herbs may be other considerations for foods you can freeze (you just would not use frozen herbs in a fresh salad or as a garnish since they will become limp once thawed).
What are some herbs to consider freezing?
– Lemon balm
Some other produce foods you can freeze are citrus peels, ginger and garlic. These foods are often zested, grated and minced for recipes to add a flair of flavor.
When they are frozen, it is even easier to zest, grate and mince.
What about foods that are not in the produce isle?
Fresh is always best and if you are cooking in accordance with the way your grandparents did, then you are likely making a lot of foods from scratch. These foods may be pastas, breads and sauces.
All of these foods can be made in abundance and then frozen for later use, offering you a seasonally fresh food item anytime of the year.
Freezing can also come in handy when batch cooking or crockpot cooking.
Even though crockpot cooking can be easy because you are putting the ingredients into the crockpot in the morning to then come home to a cooked meal, the actual process of preparing what is to go into the crockpot can become time consuming.
A great way to make it easier is to prepare all of the ingredients at once, toss what is needed in the crockpot for a full meal in a freezer bag for later use.
When you plan to cook those meals, you can have your ingredients in the crockpot in minutes before heading off for the day.
Another great hack is to prepare more than one of those meals to have on hand in the freezer a few times throughout the month.
Add in the idea of seasonal food items and you can have some quick and highly nutritious meals anytime.
Connect with Expert Jackie Vega