You'll save the most on frozen foods by shopping well, cooking efficiently and keeping careful track of what's in your freezer. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- When you see produce that's in season and on sale, stock up and freeze it. That way you won't have to make do with the supermarket's frozen fruits and veggies (or expensive fresh goods) during the off-season.
- Learn what freezes well and what doesn't. The no-freeze list includes lettuces and other leafy greens, dairy products (except fat free milk and butter), eggs, grains and potatoes.
- Freeze foods as soon as you know you won't cook them.
- Know how long certain foods can be frozen. Most produce will last eight to 12 months, and meat and fish will keep three to four months.
- Figure out how to freeze different kinds of foods. Some work better in plastic containers or bags, some in foil, some in wax paper. To avoid freezer burn, squeeze all the air out of bags.
- Keep your freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below. A full freezer cools more efficiently than a half-full one, but you shouldn't pack in more than 2 to 3 pounds of food per cubic foot.
- Whenever you can, cook more than you need and freeze the leftovers.
- Label or color-code everything in your freezer so you know what's available to use.
- If you have the space, invest in a chest freezer to increase your storage. Then you can really stock up on the good buys, as well as have room for freezing homemade soups and casseroles!
Check out the next page for more information on eating frozen.