The freezer is my best friend when it comes to saving money. I am a firm believer that almost anything can be frozen. And since I started freezing anything and everything, I’ve wasted less food, saved a ton of money, and gotten more creative in the kitchen. Below is my money-saving list of freezer hacks. Let’s get chilly!
If you’re one person, you might have a hard time finishing a whole jar of salsa before you start saying, “How long does salsa last?” Luckily, salsa is my favorite thing to freeze. I just pop the jar into the freezer (with the lid ajar until it fully freezes so it won’t crack the glass) and it’s good…forever? The freezing does change the texture of the salsa a little, so I don’t use it as salsa again. Instead, I use it as a base for soup. Green salsa (aka salsa verde) makes an incredible soup starter for posole verde. Red salsa is a great base for chili or tortilla soup. This is such a great hack to save time, money, and food, and it’s really, really delicious.
If you’re not freezing your cheese, you are basically throwing money into the trash. Any hard or shredded cheese can (and absolutely should) be frozen. I love to keep a bag of shredded Mexican blend around to make quesadillas or toss into scrambles. I buy a large bag at Costco and just put it in the freezer immediately. Whenever I want it, I grab a little handful and toss it into my dish. You can do the same thing with blocks. Just cut them into serving-sized chunks, throw them into the freezer in an airtight container, and throw them into the fridge to thaw as needed. The fact that it’s frozen doesn’t change the taste or texture whatsoever, in my opinion. Since I started doing this, I have not wasted any money throwing away a weirdly wet, half-full bag of shredded mozzarella or a moldy block of cheddar.
Applesauce is another product that freezes wonderfully with almost no difference in taste or texture after the fact. To cut down on plastic, I buy large jars of applesauce instead of tiny cups. A typical jar of applesauce is around 24-48 ounces. I could never use that much before it went bad. Luckily, the freezer exists. You can portion it out into one cup size servings in reusable bags or containers for baking, pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze for fall-themed cocktails or smoothies, or just toss the whole jar into the freezer if you’re feeling lazy and decide what to do with it later.
Keep your cookies in the freezer! I would shout it from the mountaintops if I could. I love to buy those clear plastic containers of chocolate chip cookies from the bakery section of my grocery store. If you leave them out for more than a day, however, they turn into hard bricks of inedible sweetness. I like my cookies soft. That is why I always store my cookies in the freezer. You can take a cookie out of the freezer, pop it into the microwave for a few seconds, and then enjoy a perfectly soft and delicious cookie.
Pesto freezes like a DREAM. That’s lucky for me because our favorite pesto is the jumbo-sized container from Costco’s Kirkland brand. Use as much as you need and then toss the rest in the freezer when you’re finished. It’s nice because you don’t have to have pesto pasta five nights in a row to keep from wasting this massive and delicious container of the basil-based sauce.