Introduction: How to Freeze Meat Dairy Meyers Lemons Herbs Green Chilis

I read an article about the high cost of groceries and it got me to thinking if people could find ways to save on their grocery bill it would save them a bundle. My husband and I don't have the expense of eating out because I cook at home. Most of the time I do not shop the middle section of the grocery store because I cook from scratch. I buy produce in season and will purchase from the local farms when produce is available. I also buy meats in bulk.

My husband was raised on a ranch and was fortunate enough to have plenty of grain fed beef in the freezer. After we moved to the city he would complain about the low quality of meat sold in our area. I started buying meat in bulk from Sam's Club and he quit complaining.

I have saved money re-packaging the meat for two people; and on produce. I make it a practice to freeze food just before the expiration date to reduce food waste. I have learned different ways to save on my grocery bill every month. In the past I could not buy milk because it would sour before we had a chance to drink it. Now I can buy milk without it going to waste.

This instructable will show you how I save money by purchasing some of my perishables in bulk and how to freeze them. Let's get started.

Step 1: What You Will Need

Supplies:

  • Cutting board

  • Knife

  • Cookie sheet

  • Freezer bags or glass containers with lids

  • Ice cube trays I use the large ones

  • Permanent marker

  • Juicer

  • Grater

Step 2: Grocery Returns

When I put the groceries away I will save the receipts in an envelope and clip it to my refrigerator. If anything I bought is spoiled, I have the receipt and put them in the freezer if needed, labeling them return to "name of store". The next time I go to the store; I grab the item and the receipt; place them in the store's bag and return them. You might be surprised at how much money you can save by returning things that are inconvenient to do so. If more people would take the extra time to do this; I think stores would be more careful about the quality of food or items they sell.

I have decided that I will be writing the suppliers a written letter in the future and express my disappointment in their product. I don't know if any of you have noticed a higher volume of returns. In one week we had 4 items to return at 3 different stores, hmm I should have estimated driving time, waiting in line at the store, and gas. It might be a good thing to mention in the letter.

Step 3: Freeze Chicken Broth

I usually purchase whole chickens because I can make broth from the chicken backs and skins; and I have a dog so I cook the chicken bones to make bone meal. This method uses all the chicken parts; not to mention the last time I checked prices a whole chicken was about 50 cents a pound cheaper than the cut chicken.

I try to cook the chicken backs (for broth) very soon after purchase and will cook them at the same time that I make a chicken entrée. This saves me cooking time.

After the broth is made; I remove the chicken bones and cook the bones in water in a slow cooker until the bones are soft and mushy. The dogs love it and you can freeze bone meal.

I pour the broth into a (labeled) gallon freezer bag and let the air out of it and seal it. Then I lay it flat in the freezer and freeze it.

It takes about an hour to thaw.

Step 4: Freeze Green Chilis

We live in an area where they grow a lot of green chilies. I will purchase them in season and the stores here will roast them for you. It is best to freeze them with the skins on because it preserves the roasted flavor.

Lay the chilies on a cookie sheet with the skins on.

Make sure they do not touch one another.

Freeze them until lightly frozen and a crust forms around the edges.

Place them into a labeled freezer bag with the date.

Before using them, run a little water over the frozen chili and the skins will slide off.

Step 5: Freeze Fresh Herbs

I like to combine fresh herbs with dried herbs in my recipes. I buy dried herbs in small containers because dried herbs loose a lot of their flavor if stored too long. Fresh herbs can be frozen several different ways. They can be frozen in water, oil or butter. I like to freeze them in ice- cube trays that hold 1 Tablespoon of liquid.

Wash the herbs

Mince if desired.

Place the fresh herbs in the ice cube tray and top with distilled water.

Place the herbs in the ice cube tray and top with oil or melted butter.

Remove them from the trays.

Freeze in small labeled freezer bags.

They are usually good for about 6 months.

Step 6: Freezing Dairy Products

You can freeze milk, butter and eggs. I freeze them if I don't use them up before the expiration date. They all freeze well. I do not recommend freezing milk for a long time though. Milk can separate during the freezing the process and if it does; you can use it for cooking but for drinking it might not be so good. I have not had any trouble with milk separating but I have used it up fairly soon after freezing. Don't know if that is why it did not separate.

I buy butter in bulk and put the box into the freezer and use as needed.

I like to have a few eggs in the freezer in case I forget to buy eggs. I always have a reserve. If there is a sale, I will buy an extra carton to freeze; so I don't need to run to the neighbors and borrow an egg. The eggs can be used for baking except the whites don't whip into stiff peaks or at least they don't for me. I do not thaw the eggs in the microwave. I have made sunny side up eggs after the eggs were frozen.

How to freeze Milk:

Pour the milk into a freezer bag.

Remove air from the bag and seal.

Lay flat to freeze.

How to freeze Eggs:

Remove the egg from the shell.

Carefully pour the egg into the freezer bag whole or you could slightly beat the egg before pouring into the bag.

Remove the air from the bag and freeze flat. I liked this method instead of using the ice tray because they thaw out faster.

How to freeze butter:

Place the whole box into the freezer and remove one stick as needed or cut the butter into tablespoons

and freeze cubes on a cookie sheet allowing a space between the cubes.

Place the cubes into the freezer bag and seal. Use when needed.

Step 7: Freezing Meat

I buy bulk steak, hamburger and chicken and will re-wrap them before freezing them. It has saved me money over the years. I only buy enough meat to freeze for one month, because I have a small freezer. I have owned a deep freezer and did not like digging through all the meat to find a cut that I needed. If you own an upright freezer you would benefit from purchasing a larger amount of meat because your freezer could be organized to find the cuts as you need them.

Freezing chicken is the same method as the red meats unless you have a whole chicken to cut into pieces and then freeze.

Method:

Set up a work station with the meat, freezer bags, knife, and a marker.

For hamburger patties:

I use a canning jar lid and ring for the mold.

I fill the lid with the hamburger and flatten the hamburger.

I remove the hamburger Pattie and place it on a cookie sheet and freeze until slightly frozen.

I will place the patties into a large freezer bag, remove the air and lay flat in the freezer.

This allows me to remove one piece of beef as needed, without thawing the whole package.

If not freezing patties I will measure what I need for frequently used recipes and place it into the freezer bag and flatten. I will remove the air and seal the bag; Mark the weight of the bag and lay flat and freeze.

Step 8: Freezing Meyer's Lemon Juice

Meyer's lemons are a seasonal item in our area. This year I ordered them from an online farm that told me they sale Meyer's lemons almost all year round. I juiced them and froze the lemon zest. I decided to freeze them to save on shipping cost. I place orders as I run out of the frozen juice. It has been nice to be able to have them as I need them for cooking and baking.I bought mine here .

Label freezer bags for Meyer's lemon juice and one for the lemon zest.

Wash lemons

Zest the peel

Place the zest in a freezer bag and lay flat to freeze

Slice the lemons into wedges

Place the wedges into a juicer and juice them

Pour the juice into large ice cube trays and freeze completely.

Remove the frozen cubes and place the cubes into a labeled freezer bag removing the air and seal the bag.

I am not sure how long they will keep in the freezer but I would estimate at least 6 months.

Step 9: Sunshiine's Final Steps

Now you can enjoy the fruits of your hard work and I am sure you will find a way to use the extra money for a vacation, kids college, a new car, or a larger savings account. You might find that you won't be eating out as often because you can thaw out smaller portions; if you are the only person that will be home that day. It has worked great for my husband and I. We don't eat out very often because I don't care for fast food and I would rather cook from scratch. It is a win for my family.

This is an entry for the budget contest and if you like this instructable, your vote would be appreciated, thanks.

I wish to thank instructables and contributors for making this a wonderful environment to exchange ideas and creations. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you can save a bundle this year by freezing food!

sunshiine~

Comments

author
Jeepdog (author)2015-02-19

Great info. I have been doing the meats for years. I however use freezer paper to wrap my meats/chicken/ground beef/etc. Then I label the package with wt/date/item. Then place into a 2 gallon freezer bag for extra protection. Then open the freezer bag and pull out what I need. We live on a farm with chickens and will try freezing the eggs.

author
sunshiine (author)Jeepdog2015-02-21

Hello jeepdog, Thanks so much for sharing. That is a terrific idea. Would you be so kind to post where a person might find freezer paper. I have not seen it around but then I have not been looking. It appeals to me to use it though. I like the idea of double wrapping, as this might prevent any chemicals from contaminating the meat. I hope your day shines,

sunshiine~

author
Jeepdog (author)sunshiine2015-02-21

Sunshine: BTW, I live in SWFlorida and yes my day is shining! ;)

author
sunshiine (author)Jeepdog2015-02-21

Nothing better than farm life. Can't wait to move to country so I can have the good life lol!

sunshiine~

author
sunshiine (author)Jeepdog2015-02-21

Oh wow, I have always wanted to go there. I came very close; I went to Ga. but did not have the time to go visit Florida. Lucky you and I am glad your day is shining.

sunshiine~

author
Jeepdog (author)sunshiine2015-02-21

Sunshine, I usually find freezer paper near the aluminum foil at my supermarket. If you don't see it there you may ask someone if they sell it. I have never had a problem with finding it. Box looks just like Reynolds Aluminum Foil box but is sky blue in color. They also sell a freezer tape that holds up well in the freezer. I usually find the tape in the misc household supply aisle at the supermarket. Not sure why they don't have them together. I like the double wrapping as well. The two gallon ziploc stays clean since your food is wrapped in freezer wrap. So I reuse the bags by adding new stuff as I buy it. Then just open the bag and pull the item with the oldest date in order to rotate your foods. Hope this helps. :)

author
sunshiine (author)Jeepdog2015-02-21

Thank you so much, I will buy some asap! I like the idea of re-using the bags, I am featuring your comment! thanks again!

sunshiine~

author
Pdaniels47 (author)2017-05-21

this is a very great article I am so glad to have found it keep up the great work! I love all the help you've given.

author
SophiesFoodieFiles (author)2015-11-23

A few of these many tips, I knew but thank you for the other part! :)

author

Thanks so much for taking a look. Have a super week~

sunshiine~

author
satoko68 (author)2015-03-20

I like roasting sweet red, yellow & orange peppers til the skins are black, then peeling off the skin & freezing them flat with layers of waxed or parchment paper between them. This makes it easy to use for sauces, dips, curries etc. The peppers taste amazing added to nearly anything after being charred. They're expensive enough that I can't justify tossing them. I freeze cheese as well, something we use a lot of. Never had any problems. Great instructable! :-)

author
shazni (author)2015-02-23

Very useful information! Thanks loads

author
antoniraj (author)2015-02-20

congratulations sunshiine being a finalist

author
sunshiine (author)antoniraj2015-02-21

Aw gee thanks! Congrats to you also! I will visit you soon, hubby has me working in the shop. Until then keep shining!

sunshiine~

author
impied (author)2015-02-17

That's a cool trick with the herbs! I'll have to try that when my herb garden makes way too much of one herb!

author
sunshiine (author)impied2015-02-18

Thanks so much for commenting. Herbs at my house tend to go bad before I use them all up. so I gave this a try and it has worked perfectly. I hope you have an amazing day.

sunshine~

author
ashleyjlong (author)sunshiine2015-02-20

I tend to do the same --so much sad mint and basil wasted! I'm going to give this a try for sure.

author
sunshiine (author)ashleyjlong2015-02-21

Hi Ashley, thanks for commenting. I hear you about the waste. this method is much better than using water. I learned that herbs could be frozen from a friend who gave me her frozen herbs before moving. It has save me a lot of money. I hope your day shines.

sunshiine~

author
Vyger (author)2015-02-17

I too have been packaging my hamburger into sandwich bags and freezing it. Buying it in bulk and breaking it up saves a lot. I usually weigh it out into just a little over a pound since a lot of recipes call for that amount. I use a little trick with zip lock bags. I put a drinking straw in it down the side and zip the bag up to the straw. Then use the straw to suck the air out and pull it out with my mouth as I snap the bag closed. Vacuum packed! I then write the date on the bag with a large magic marker so I know to use the oldest ones first.

I found that freezing the chicken whole in the bag it comes in helps prevent freezer burn. That may not be a problem for you, you probably use stuff up fast but I sometimes don't so I don't open them but just mark the date on them and freeze them whole. I use a marker on everything rather than trust store dates.

Long time ago my mom used to freeze milk. We went through a lot of it with 5 kids. After thawing it she used to mix it with powered milk. I don't know if that was to stretch out the supply of fresh milk since we didn't like powered stuff or if it helped the frozen/thawed milk to have a better texture. Might have been for both reasons.

author
sunshiine (author)Vyger2015-02-17

Thank you so much for sharing. I had my share of powdered milk as a kid from a large family. I do use it for cooking though. I am sure my readers will appreciate your straw trick. Thanks again and have an amazing day!

sunshiine~

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Bio: I am married with two children. Spring, summer, and fall are my very favorite times of the year. I love the sunshine thus the reason ... More »
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