My tip for today: FREEZE!

This isn’t a stick up, I mean your food! Or to be more precise, your ingredients. I was chatting my friend Lai at work this morning about her new chilli plant. She offered me some chillis as she couldn’t use all her current crop. As we have chilli plants ourselves I declined but suggested she freezes her chillis for future use.

I regularly freeze ingredients if I know I’m not going to be able to use them whilst they are fresh. After all, you’ve got nothing to lose. If I doesn’t freeze well and you have to bin it, you’d have only thrown I away anyway. But the chances are your freeze will be a success. So not only will you have lots of handy ingredients to make healthy meals, but you’ll also reduce waste AND more importantly save money!

Some suggestions for which ingredients freeze well (just check the label first to make sure it’s safe to freeze):

  • Chillis – freeze whole. To defrost, leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes or ping in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Ginger – peel and cut into chunks. Defrost as for chillis.
  • Lemongrass – freeze the stalks whole. Defrost as for chillis.
  • Roast chicken or other leftover Sunday roast meat – defrost in the fridge and use in stir fried rice, fajitas or risotto.
  • Fresh gnocchi – boil from frozen for a few minutes longer than when fresh.
  • Cheese – sounds daft but grated cheddar freezes very well. Means you can use a bit as and when you want it. Use straight from frozen.
  • Breadcrumbs – whizz stale bread up in a food processor or mini chopper and freeze the crumbs. Use straight from frozen to give cauliflower cheese a crunchy topping or use to make a quick bread pudding. Just make sure you label the bag as garlic bread pudding might not be everyone’s cup of tea!