Dairy produce can be frozen if you follow some simple rules:

Butter: You can stock up when cheap. Wrap the blocks in foil. Salted butter keeps 6 months, while unsalted keeps 12 month.

Cheese: Whole piece of hard cheese may become crumbly. It freezes best when grated. Storage time: 6 months.

You can freeze cream cheese containing over 40% fat. Rich, cheese dips also freeze well. Storage time: 3 months.

To thaw, place in refrigerator overnight, and allow one day at room temperature for the full flavor to return.

Cream: Double cream or thick cream (over 40% fat) freezes well. Pipe cream rosettes on foil and open-freeze. You can then pack them in polythene containers and use them to decorate puddings and cakes. Storage time: 3 months.

Eggs: Place the yolks in a plastic container, add enough cold water to cover them, and keep them covered in the fridge for two days. If you want to keep them longer you can freeze them. However, as the yolks thicken or gel when frozen you must beat in the yolks 1/8 teaspoon of salt or 1 ½ teaspoons of sugar per ¼ cup of egg yolks, that is about 4 egg yolks. Label the container with the number of yolks and date, and don’t forget to mention whether you have used salt or sugar. You can freeze them for a maximum of four months. You can use 1 tablespoonful of thawed yolks for 1 large fresh yolk.

Egg whites can be kept in the fridge in a container for about a week. You can use them to make meringues or omelets. If however you want to keep them for a longer period of time, you can freeze them. Place them in a freezer container and seal tightly. Again, don’t forget to label the container with the number of whites and the date. You can use 2 tablespoonfuls of thawed egg whites for 1 large egg.

Freeze eggs in small quantities, so that you don’t defrost more than you need. It is not a bad idea to put them in ice cube trays and when frozen you can transfer them to a freezer container and label accordingly.

Margarine, lard and cooking fat: Wrap tightly in foil. It will keep for 5 months.

Milk: Only homogenized mile can be frozen. Keep it in its carton. Storage time: 1 month.

Useful standbys

Baby foods: If you have babies, it is worth the effort to puree the baby’s food, pack it in old yogurt containers and freeze it. The small containers will hold enough quantity for one meal and it will cost you far less if you compare it with canned baby food.

Breadcrumbs: Freeze fresh white breadcrumbs. Weigh, pack and label. Can be used for sauces and stuffing.

Sandwiches: You can safely freeze sandwiches. Use very fresh bread, butter very well and remove crusts. Avoid fillings which do not freeze well. (See freezing part 2 to see what foodstuffs don’t freeze well). Wrap the sandwiches in foil individually and pack in polythene bags. Label. Storage time: 6 months.

Chicken carcasses for stock: Pack in polythene bags, freeze and store in freezer until you have two or three carcasses. You can then boil them to make chicken broth which you can freeze into concentrated stock cubes, or in polythene bags inside polythene boxes, so that you have nice blocks of stock. If there is any meat on the bones, I pick it off and keep it in a separate polythene bag. You can use handfuls in omelets, in soups or if you have enough chicken meat, you can make a nice chicken pie.

Sausage rolls: Make a large quantity of rolls. You can either use home made short-crust pastry or ready made puff pastry. Bake, cook and seal in polythene bags.

Hot-cross buns. Freeze as soon as they have cooled down after baking. Thaw as required and you can reheat them in the oven.

Next week: Freezing of vegetables, blanching.

 

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