March is now classed as National Frozen Food Month thanks to NFRA.The National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association plans this annual event to encourage consumers to visit the frozen food aisles and often works with supermarkets and big name brands to provide substantial discounts on frozen products! But while we are massive advocates of eating fresh wherever possible to get the best nutrients and flavour from your food, as chefs, caterers and big foodies we still see the importance of freezing food in this day and age and the great benefits it can bring.
For the modern day time poor family, batch cooking is a great way to ensure you get a decent homemade meal every night of the week. Meal planning, prepping and batch cooking everything to freeze into portions takes the stress and pressure of whipping up a hearty honest meal after a busy day, just reach into the freezer, defrost/heat up and serve!
There are so many breakfast, lunch and dinners you can freeze from soups, curries, bakes, bread, pies and desserts like cakes, scones and crumbles. You can even freeze gravy and sauces! Two great places to find recipes and ideas for frozen meals are BBC Good Food and Jamie Oliver’s own website.
Anything that helps to reduce food waste can only be a good thing financially and environmentally. Food prices have risen by 20% since 2006, far higher than the average salary increase. Which? researchers state that UK households typically spend about £76 per week on food, yet the UK continues to waste a combined 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink, every year – costing an estimated £12 billion. That means the average household throws away £630 of food and drink every year!
Veggies coming to the end of their life? Chop them up and freeze them down! Meat need eating up? Make into a pie or bake to freeze! Even fruit, as long as you cut them, core them and de-stone them correctly are perfect to freeze!
Batch cooking and portioning as we talked about above is a great way to keep you on track with your healthy eating regime. We have all been known to get home and grab the first thing we see to eat if we are way too tired to cook, or running late first thing in the morning with no time to prep a healthy breakfast. But freezing healthy portions in advance means there’s no excuse not to achieve your healthy eating goals!
Fruit is great for this, you can even bag a mix of fruit together perfect to throw in with some milk or juice and seeds etc for a smoothie breakfast on the run. You could even stew the fruit down and make compotes to defrost and stir in to porridge. Energy balls freeze well for that perfect snack boost throughout the day.
Embrace your freezer!