I’m a fan of eating fresh and healthy foods but they can sometimes be expensive and they often go bad rather quickly.  Learning to utilize your freezer helps minimize waste, allowing you to stretch your grocery budget further.  Knowing you can freeze ingredients and/or leftovers for later also decreases the pressure to “use up” produce and food that is close to going bad.

Over the years I have learned that you can freeze almost anything.  When I first started cooking more at home I would often google “how to freeze _____”.  It’s not very often that I learn about something that can’t be frozen.

I thought I’d share a few posts detailing my experience with freezing different types of foods.  Today I’m going to share how I freeze soups, broth, and sauces.

Soups:  You can freeze just about any leftover soup, stew, or chili.  I’ve frozen all three.  I pour my leftover soup into freezer bags, glad storage containers, and freezer friendly glass jars (for smaller portions).  Because I know I can freeze the leftovers I almost always make a double batch when I cook soup.  Most soups are even better when re-warmed.  Leftover soup makes a great weeknight meal.  I serve ours with chips (for Mexican soups or chili) or crackers.  I love having full meals just sitting in my freezer waiting to be used when life gets busy.

When ready to eat, I pull it out of the freezer to defrost in the fridge.  Then I just warm it on the stove in a sauce pan.  If it’s still frozen, you can pull it out and run some hot water over it until it loosens from it’s container and can be put in a pan.  Turn the burner on to medium-low and let it defrost.  Once defrosted turn the heat up to medium until it’s ready to eat.

There are a few ingredient that change when soups are frozen.  Potatoes and sometimes beans can kind of fall apart when re-warmed from the freezer.  This doesn’t bother us though.  It just thickens the soup.  Also, soups with a creamy base will separate when first warming up.  But once warmed through and mixed well with a whisk the cream will reincorporate.  Tomato bisque is a great example of this.  Once it’s warmed through I whisk it really well and it tastes just like new!

Some of my favorite soups & chili to make and freeze are White Turkey Chili, White Chicken Chili, Beef and Vegetable Soup, Sausage, Kale, and White Bean Soup, and Chicken Noodle Soup.

freezing soups

Just a few of the soups in my freezer right now: lentil soup, broccoli and cheese soup, tomato soup, and tortilla soup.

Broth:  I make my own homemade chicken stock and freeze it in freezer safe glass mason jars, glad plastic containers, and ice cube trays.  You can also freeze leftover store bought broth.  Have you ever made a recipe that calls for 1/2 cup of broth and you wonder what to do with the leftovers?  Don’t waste it!  Freeze it.  Freeze it in ice cube trays and then put the cubes in a freezer safe bag and pull out what you need when you have another recipe that just calls for a little bit of broth.  I’ve frozen chicken, beef, and veggie broth with great success.

Sauces:  I freeze all sorts of sauces as well.  These are usually put in freezer safe jars or frozen in ice cube trays and then transferred to freezer safe bags.  Here are just a few:

  • Marinara or pasta sauce, tomato sauce, tomato paste, pizza sauce, etc – Just thaw it out and use it in your favorite pasta dish.

IMG_3746

  • Pesto – when you are ready to use it, pull it out to thaw in the fridge and then let it come to room temperature.  If it’s a little bit thick, just add some olive oil and give it a good stir.  I have frozen both homemade pesto and store bought.
  • Salsa – this is one that changes texture when thawed.  You probably wouldn’t want to use it as a dip for chips but it works well in Mexican crock pot recipes that call for salsa or you can add it to your taco meat the next time you make it.  It adds great flavor.
  • Yogurt dips (like tzatziki) – I make yogurt dips for falafel or salmon patties and I always freeze the leftovers for next time.  It thaws out just fine.  If you have a carton of yogurt that is about to go bad, freeze it for the next time you need it in a recipe.   Or add a little fruit and maple syrup and make these yogurt drops.
  • Hummus- freezes and thaws out beautifully.  I freeze leftovers in ice cube trays and pull one or two out for the boys’ lunches.
black bean and traditional hummus

black bean and traditional hummus

  • Sour cream – freezes well but loses its texture when thawed.  It’s another one that works well in recipes that call for sour cream but since it doesn’t hold its form you couldn’t put a dollop on top of a potato.
  • Guacamole – I have only frozen guacamole that doesn’t have big chunks of tomatoes and onion in it.  It freezes and thaws well and can be used like normal when thawed.  I buy the big tubs of organic Wholly Guacamole at Costco and freeze it in cubes.  When I need some I pull it out of the freezer to thaw.

freezing guacamole

I’m sure there are a ton of sauces that I left off the list.  If you have others you are curious about, just google it.  It’s amazing how much information there is out there about freezing foods.  I’ll be back soon to share other foods that freeze well.

A few things that are helpful for freezing:  freezer safe bags, ice cube trays, freezer safe glass jars, and larger freezer safe containers.

Are there other soups, broths, or sauces that you freeze that I left off the list?

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