Everyone could use a little help stretching their food budget, and we happen to think that getting fresh, organic produce delivered to your door is a pretty great way to save up to 40% on your grocery bill. Still, we know that not everything can be used in one sitting, let alone one week sometimes, which is why we put together this list of surprising ways you can freeze your fruits and veggies. You may even find some unexpected produce on this list that you can freeze, thaw, and reuse later!
Berries are a common fruit to freeze, but you may be doing it wrong. Wash and dry mixed berries, removing any stems and leaves, and place berries in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze overnight. The next day, put berries in a freezer-safe bag, removing all of the air.
How long? Freeze for up to a year and when you’re ready to use them, toss frozen berries in smoothies in place of ice.
Like berries, a great way to freeze and reuse carrot tops is to wash, dry, and chop the tops and freeze them in a layer on a baking sheet. The next day, transfer chopped carrot tops to a freezer-safe bag and keep on hand for dishes like pesto, broths, sauces, dry rubs, and even as a garnish in place of parsley.
How long? Like other blanched and frozen veggies, carrot tops will be good up to a year.
Lemons and Limes
No cutting necessary! You can freeze whole citrus fruit. Then, when you’re ready to use them, place lemons and limes in the microwave for 30 seconds to get the juices flowing. Additionally, you can freeze individual lemon and lime slices, which are great additions in cocktails.
If you only use half a lime at a time, squeeze the remaining juice into an ice cube try and pop it in the freezer. Then, you’ll have perfectly-sized portions of juice to add to smoothies and other recipes.
How long? Citrus will last about 3 months in the freezer.
Without freezing, onions last a pretty long time if you store them in a dry, cool, dark space. (Think: a pantry or garage.) Even peeled onions can last in the fridge for two weeks. But if you’re really overflowing with onions long term, they can be tossed in the freezer, too. Simply peel and quarter onions and store in airtight containers for up to a year. Then, simply toss frozen onions in a pan and let them thaw as they cook. You can also caramelize a big batch of them and put in ice cube trays for freezing and adding a hit of umami to soups, stews, or pretty much anything.
How long? Like over veggies, onions can be stored 8-12 months in the freezer.
First, remove the stem and seeds from the pepper. Then, cut peppers into thin slices and place them on a baking sheet, making sure that the slices aren’t touching, and freeze.
How long? Once frozen, you can store peppers in an airtight container for up to 1 year. When thawed, bell peppers will lose most of their crunch, but you can still use them for sauces and stir fry recipes.
Like many other leafy greens, you need to blanch your kale before freezing. Remove the hard stalks and blanch leaves for 2-3 minutes. Pat dry and freeze kale leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, put leaves in an airtight container and grab leaves as necessary for smoothies, stews, and soups.
How long? Blanched and frozen kale will last 6-8 months in the freezer.
You can freeze whole ginger, but make sure you peel it first! Then, store ginger in freezer-safe bags for up to six months. Whenever you need freshly grated ginger, just grab it from the freezer and grate as normal—no thawing necessary.
How long? 6 months.
Unlike other veggies, it’s generally better to freeze pre-cooked eggplant due to its high-water content. Slice eggplant into 1-inch-thick rounds and bake for 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Once cool, freeze eggplant slices in an airtight container or freezer safe bag, placing wax paper between the slices so they don’t stick together.
How long? Remove eggplant after 6-8 months in the freezer. Use thawed slices in your favorite eggplant dishes, salads, and sauces.
The easiest way to freeze corn is to place the entire corn—husk and all—into freezer-safe bags and toss them in the freezer. When you’re ready to cook, frozen husks are much easier to remove than fresh husks! You can also remove corn kernels from the cob and place them in freezer bags. To cook with them, toss kernels in a pan with butter, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs over medium heat and cook until no longer frozen.
How long? Corn will still be good after 8-12 months.
Garlic is one of the more versatile foods you can freeze because you can freeze it in every single way: peeled or unpeeled bulbs, peeled whole cloves and chopped cloves, too. Frozen garlic will lose some of its crunchy texture, but the flavor is just as good as raw, fresh garlic.
How long? Store it in an airtight, freezer safe container for 10-12 months and then cook with it as normal.
Slice avocados in half and remove the pits. Brush each side of the avocado with olive oil and lemon juice and tightly wrap the halves in plastic wrap. Place in the freezer and use them as normal whenever you’re ready!
Another way to freeze avocado is to remove the pit and scoop out the avocado fruit, blend it with fresh lemon juice, and freeze it in an upright cup or ice cube tray. Then, use frozen avocado for smoothies or even guacamole.
How long? You should remove avocados from the freezer after 6 months.
What’s your favorite way to freeze and re-use fruit and veggies? Let us know in the comments!