15 Delicious Ingredients You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

The freezer isn’t just for pizza pockets and ice cubes. You can freeze all kinds of delicious ingredients so that you always have them when it’s time to cook.

15 Delicious Freezable Ingredients (so that you have them on hand whenever you're cooking)

Freeze these 15 ingredients to make quick dinners. All can be frozen as part of a cooked, finished dish (we’ll give you some suggestions), but many can be frozen alone and added later.

1. Avocados: Before they go from perfectly ripe to disgustingly mushy, you can freeze avocados. Mash them with lemon juice (1 tablespoon per avocado) and then pull them out to use in guacamole, smoothies or for other recipes. This tip doesn’t work if you want sliced avocado, but if it’s  going into a recipe, no one will know the difference.

Try it in:

AIP Summer Squash Salad (but mashed instead of sliced as the recipe specifies)

Breakfast Guacamole

2. Fresh Herbs: Chop up fresh herbs, add water, oil or vinegar and freeze the mixture in an ice cube tray. Use in everything, from soups to marinades. Or to add flavor to fancy drinks. Here’s another tip. Pesto, sauces, dressings and other homemade ingredients can be frozen for later use too.

Try it in:

15 Minute Gazpacho

Whole Foods Pesto Sauce

3. Mushrooms: This versatile and flavorful vegetable can be sliced or diced and flash frozen. Or it can be used in veggie mixtures, stir fry bags, sauces and gravies.

Try it in:

From Scratch Green Bean Casserole

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

World Famous Beef Stroganoff

4. Tomatoes: Most cooks think of preserving tomatoes by canning, but freezing is just as effective and saves tons of time and effort. You aren’t going to use them to top a fancy salad, but you can enjoy them in soups, sauces, casseroles, skillet dishes and more. Put whole tomatoes in a ziptop bag. After they’ve been frozen, and slightly defrosted, the skins will pop right off. Cool, right?

Try it in:

5-Minute Homemade Salsa

Baked Chicken with Tomatoes, Basil and Red Chillies  

5. Citrus: Use up your fruit before it’s overripe. Zest or juice your citrus and freeze. You can use this similar to the fresh herbs, but you can also freeze citrus in smoothie bags for easy breakfasts. Flash freeze slices and put them in punch bowls or use as icy garnishes for drinks.

Try it in:

Strawberry Orange Smoothie

Mango Chipotle Lime BBQ Sauce

6. Lemongrass: I don’t know about you, but I sometimes have a hard time finding fresh lemongrass. When I do see it, I want to buy a bunch, but I know it won’t keep. Enter the freezer. Pull whole frozen lemongrass stalks from the freezer to season Asian-inspired broths and curries. Or you can grind it into a paste and freeze to use as a seasoning or marinade.

Try it in:

Copycat Kashi Lemongrass Coconut Chicken

Thai Curry

7. Ginger: I usually keep my ginger in the refrigerator because I can never use up the whole root before it goes bad. But it keeps even longer in the freezer! Simply pull it out and grate or slice with a sharp knife without thawing, and put it back into the freezer for next time.

Try it in:

Asian Oven-Baked Risotto

Spiced Pear Breakfast Hand Pie

8. Cheese: You aren’t going to use defrosted cheese for your cheese tray, but you can create some amazing dishes using cheese and other dairy products without sacrificing quality. With slow, gradual thawing and possibly a little gentle stirring, you shouldn’t see any separation.

Try it in:

Easy Hot Beer Cheese Dip

Buffalo Bleu Cheese Burgers

9. Yogurt: This is absolutely doable. If you have a large tub of yogurt that you don’t think you’ll get through before it expires or if you made your own batch of homemade yogurt and don’t want any to go to waste, you can freeze it for later. This is one you can absolutely eat as you normally would. Or you can freeze it in ice cube trays for smoothies, Popsicles and for baked goods.

Try it in:

Strawberry Basil Frozen Yogurt (No ice cream maker necessary!)

Ginger Yogurt Parfaits with Cinnamon Pears

10. Rice: I always thought it was strange to freeze rice, until I started seeing it in the grocery aisle. Why not cook it ahead and portion it out yourself? It especially saves time for varieties with longer cooking times, like brown rice or risotto. Oh, and if you order Chinese food and they send all that plain white rice that nobody eats (because you’re all digging into the tastier fried rice!) put the containers of white in the freezer to add to a soup later in the week.

Try it in:

Diet Santa Fe Beans and Rice

Coconut Curry Soup with Rice and Shrimp

11. Pasta: Whether you’re taking the time to make it by hand or painstakingly assembling your family’s secret lasagna recipe, pasta keeps well in the freezer. It is best if you cook the pasta al dente and then freeze it separately from sauces or soups. This is so that it doesn’t soak up the liquid and become mushy. However, in the case of lasagnas or other casseroles, bake before freezing and simply reheat.

Try it in:

Lasagna Rolls with Chicken Cordon Bleu and Kale Filling

Tortellini Italian Salad

Spinach and Walnut Ravioli with Alfredo Sauce

12. Homemade Dressings and Sauces: We’ve listed quite a few ideas along the way, but I thought these deserved their own place. You can be ready to serve guests a gourmet, handmade meal at any time by shopping your freezer for these ingredients instead of heading to the pantry aisle of the grocery store.

13. Chocolate: There is nothing better than good-quality chocolate for dessert. But did you know that you can make these treats ahead of time and freeze them? The trick to maintaining quality is to cool your chocolate slowly by refrigerating and then moving to it the freezer.

Try it in:

Individual Chocolate Raspberry Cream Pies

White Chocolate Bark with Blueberries, Pine Nuts, and Lemon

Salted Chocolate Nutella Cookies

14. Wine: I have a hard time imagining a situation where I would have leftover wine, but I guess it could happen. Maybe you just opened a bottle and didn’t love it for sipping, but don’t want to waste it. You can easily freeze small portions in an ice cube tray and whip up one of these recipes.

Try it in:

Coq Au Vin

Easy Apple Tart with Raspberries, Thyme and Wine

15. Seafood: I know a lot of cooks get snobby about fresh seafood, but if you take proper care of your ingredients you won’t know the difference. This is a great way to add some nutrition and variety to your diet when fresh seafood isn’t readily available or affordable.

Buffalo Cod with Ranch Alfredo Sauce (the fish is cooked straight from the freezer, not even defrosted, for this one!)

Pure and Simple Crab Cakes

So those are my 15 favorite freezables. What do you love to have in your freezer so that it’s handy when you’re cooking?

 

Kim Coleman

Cooking is one of Kim’s passions, and she loves to hunt for recipes, experiment with them, and share them. The journey of pregnancy, nursing, and introducing food to babies led Kim to whole foods (or “real food”), and she is still enjoying the journey. When she’s not in the kitchen, she enjoys dating her husband, playing with her boys and reading.