Obviously, freezing is a principal tenet of the $35-a-week plan—so much so, in fact, that we invested in an auxiliary chest freezer. (If you’re in the market for one, I highly recommend staying away from Craigslist—most older chest freezers are notorious energy hogs, which is probably the reason they’re on CL to begin with. Look for a newer Energy Star model; we found ours for only $220 at Costco and haven’t noticed any increase in our power bill.)
Freezing to extend the life of your food is perhaps the easiest, quickest, and most accessible way to save a few bucks, so with that in mind, here’s an addendum to the original 5 things you probably didn’t know you could freeze post.
1. Sourdough starter.
Dissuaded from owning one because of the maintenance? Freeze it! Once you’re ready to bake bread, take it out, feed it for a couple of days, and it’ll be good as new. Click here for directions on how to start your own from nothing but flour and water.
2. Cheese rinds.
Parmesan rinds (or the rinds from any good-quality hard cheese) are great to throw in soups for a little added flavor. Better yet, accumulate rinds in the freezer. Once you have enough, boil them together for a couple hours—about 1 ounce of rinds per quart of broth—to make cheese broth (which can also be frozen). It makes a great substitute for chicken broth in Italian dishes; cooking liquid for absorbent pasta, like orzo; or even a sauce on its own.
Why sit around and wait for good-quality butter to go on sale? Buy it in bulk! It lasts forever in the freezer, and if you’re not a big butter user, you only have to take one stick out at a time.
4. Leftover coffee.
No sense in wasting perfectly good joe. This is a great one for the summer months. Take any leftover cold coffee you didn’t drink and freeze it in ice-cube trays. (Believe it or not, a lot of coffee shops make their “iced coffee” this way.) Remove the cubes to a plastic bag. On a hot day, simply add them to a fresh cup of coffee to cool it down, let them melt a bit for iced coffee, or even reheat them in the microwave.
5. Over-ripe bananas.
I thought this one was kind of obvious, but my husband didn’t, so I’m including it for his sake. Bananas nearing the end of their useful life? Just throw them in the freezer whole to use later in muffins, cookies, or banana bread. When ready to use, run them under warm water to rub the skins off or simply carve the skins off with a paring knife, then slice or mash. (DO NOT…I repeat, DO NOT simply leave them on the counter to defrost. You may never eat bananas again.)