Growing up in a hot country, a freezer is a must. Mum was obsessed with hers – households didn’t have freezers when she was a kid. She must have passed this obsession on to my sister and me.
As a single person, it is invaluable as so much of what we buy is (understandably) packaged for families. I can’t eat 500g of meat at a sitting (it would be a little frightening if I could) so I freeze meat in single servings. I also like to batch cook as it is as easy to make five or six portions of something like a bolognese sauce as it is to make one.
My most important freezer rule is to defrost anything frozen overnight in the fridge. I only use the microwave for things that are already cooked, like bolognese sauce.
I have divided my freezer as follows but do whatever works for you. I fully accept all this makes me look a bit mad but I hate rummaging around looking for things in a really cold drawer and have a pathological dislike of food waste.
Drawer 1: Meat
Drawer 2: Prepared meals, pasta sauces, cheese, pastry/dough
Drawer 3: The Freezer Drawer of Flavour (see separate post), vegetables & fruit
Drawer 4: Bread & bread rolls, breadcrumbs, sweet things, sundries
In order to make the most of the space, I take everything out of the hard packaging and freeze it in single servings. For example, I freeze two regular sized sausages per bag. I freeze burgers with a double layer of greaseproof paper between each one making it easy to separate and then defrost the number of burgers needed.
All pre-cooked meals and pasta sauces are frozen in single servings. If, by chance, I am cooking for other people, it is easy to know how much to take out of the freezer.
For raw meat, I always note how much longer the food has until it’s ‘use by’ date on the freezer bag or label. Then, I know how long I have to use it once it is defrosted. So, if the label says ‘1’, I know I must to use the food the next day.
When I make a pizza, I make more dough than I need. It freezes beautifully. I just divide the dough into pieces large enough to make 1 pizza and wrap each individually before putting them into the freezer.
Cheese takes a bit of preparation to freeze well. I grate mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan for ease of use. You can freeze posh cheese but you need to put in a little bit of effort. Divide into smallish portions (about 100g), wrap in three or four layers of cling film and then tightly in kitchen foil. Defrost overnight in the fridge. The texture may change a bit with freezing so best to use any defrosted cheese in cooking, rather than for a cheese board.
If there is any pastry left after I have made whatever I am doing, I put it in a bag. We all know pastry freezes well.