Sometimes, being a Fussy Foodie can be expensive. Most free-from products are that little more expensive than their standard equivalent and healthy snacks out & about often seem to cost more than unhealthy ones.
Living within your means is something that is as important as ever in the current economy and over the years, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks to help keep healthy without it putting too much of a strain on your budget.
This week, I’m going to focus on freezing food. A few years ago I lived in a teeny-tiny little flat with no room for a freezer apart from the ice-box in the top of our fridge. It was frustrating as I would never have time to eat a whole loaf of free-from bread before it went stale! When we moved into a new flat, the first thing I did was buy a freezer, and I’m sure that I’ll never take them for granted again!
The obvious use for a freezer in a Fussy Foodie household is, as mentioned above, to freeze expensive items such as free-from bread so you can eat it as you need. Given that many loaves taste better when they are warmed through, you can just take it from the freezer and pop it straight into the toaster. This is especially useful in households such as mine where I am the only person who eats free-from products.
I find you can generally freeze most things – often if a label says something isn’t suitable for the freezer, it is often more because the freezing / defrosting affects the texture of that particular food rather than the taste. I think the best thing to do really is experiment. I often throw in things that would otherwise just go in the bin, and I’ve also been known to cut a small bit off something and do a test freeze. Most of the time, it works fine.
Freezing also means you can take advantage of ‘reduced to clear’ prices or special offers at the supermarket. I once got a pile of gluten-free scones on special offer and was eating them for weeks afterwards! You can also freeze leftover meals so you can have something you can pop in the microwave after a long day. Freezing staples such as cooked potatoes and rice mean it is a lot quicker to prepare a Fussy Foodie meal making it less likely you’ll spend money on an expensive convenience-food alternative.
Stuff that I freeze:
- Gluten-free breads / cakes etc
- Soy milk (it turns a bit yellow when frozen, which I think is something to do with the fat in the milk but it seems return to normal and taste ok when defrosted!)
- Nuts – especially ground almonds as I always have some of them kicking around
- Chopped vegetables
- Apples – I often make a big batch of stewed apples in my slow cooker, put them in portion sized pots and defrost the night before use.
- Boiled and baked potatoes
- Cooked rice – frozen rice is great as storing cooked rice can be a bit tricky due to the possible presence of bacteria. You should cool the rice as quickly as possible (I run it under cold water) then freeze immediately.
- Cheese - I find cheese can turn a bit crumbly when defrosted but if you aren’t too fussed about this, freezing is good way to store it. Cut into portion-sized chucks and wrap well.
- Soup, stock and sauces – if you have any leftover stock / sauces, you can freeze it in ice-cube trays or small portion-sized boxe
- Vegetable scraps – I’ve not tried this but I’ve seen online that some people have a box in their freezer where they freeze unwanted vegetable scraps which they then use to make stock.
The internet has loads of sites that list foods that you can freeze, how long they keep and the best way to defrost them.