How to use your freezer

Video guide to making the most of your freezer

Claire: Hi, I'm Claire.

Lucy:  And I'm Lucy and today we're going to show you how to use your freezer.

Freeze leftover wine

Claire:   If ever you have any wine left over, a really good idea is to freeze it in an ice cube container and then when you need it for a sauce or a casserole, you can just pop them out of the freezer and pop it in the saucepan. The best idea is to freeze it in an ice cube container first and then once they've frozen, you can put them into one of these and they take up less room in your freezer.

Freeze fresh stock

Lucy:  OK, I'm going to write on the freezer bag wine, otherwise you could end up with some interesting people thinking things were ice cubes. OK, wine, and I'll put the date and let's just pop them in there. And another good thing to do, if you've got any leftover stock or you bought some stock you're not going to use it or made some home-made stock, you can do exactly the same with stock cubes and you can add them to gravy and sauces. Let me just get another freezer bag and we'll bag those up and put them in the freezer.

Claire: If you don't want to tie a knot in the top of your freezer bag, I've got some very handy little tags that you can put round them, which makes them easier to open and close, so that you can just pop in here whenever you want, a little portion of wine.

Lucy: There you go. Can I grab one as well? If I tie a knot, I'll obscure the date and what's in it and, as we know, it's all about labelling when it comes to your freezer. There we have it, two bags ready for the freezer.

Freeze fresh berries

Claire:   Lovely. Here I've got some lovely looking berries which we've frozen because they're in season. The best way to freeze berries is to put them on a tray and freeze them individually so they don't all squidge together.

Lucy:   And another great thing to do with frozen berries is just to take a handful, put them in the blender and they work brilliantly in smoothies. And as they freeze pretty much just like ice cubes, they also make a great alternative to ice cubes in summer drinks.

Claire:  That's a great idea.

Lucy:   Right, shall we bag these up? Shall we do it all together?

Claire:  Yeah.

Lucy: I'll hold, you do.

Claire:  They freeze really hard so you can see that it'll be very easy to get them out later.

Lucy:  You could make a lovely pavlova or a summer tart.

Claire: In the middle of winter.

Lucy:  Exactly. Great, OK.

Claire:  Would you like a tag?

Lucy:  I would love a tag. Let's give it a bit of a twiddle. Now, although it's pretty obvious what's inside, I am going to label it so I know exactly when they went in the freezer.

Freeze slices of lemon

Perfect. Right, another good thing to do is if you're partial to a gin and tonic and you like to have yours with ice and a slice but you don't want to break into a whole lemon, you can actually cut the lemon already, cut a whole lemon and freeze it in exactly the same way as you did the berries, individually. Then when you fancy a drink, you can just go into the freezer and get a slice out. And also, because they're frozen, it acts as a chiller to the drink as well, so it works on every level.

Claire: Right, I'm just going to pop these in the freezer.

Lucy:  Perfect.

Freeze the ingredients for a crumble

Claire:  Here we've got some apples and pears which freeze brilliantly. They've been cooked with a little bit of sugar and water and then bagged up like this. Perfect for a pie or a crumble.

Lucy:  Or even you could do something like an apple sauce for pork. When I make a crumble, I bulk make the crumble mixture and then I just put it in bags in the freezer, because it freezes really well. When I want to make a crumble, I just take a bag of fruit out, bag of crumble mixture out and there you have it, a very easy, simple, easy-to-do crumble.

Claire:  What a brilliant idea.

Freeze bread

Lucy:  Bread is something else that really freezes well, but you should freeze it the day you buy it so it's nice and fresh. If you don't want to eat it in sandwiches or anything, you can put it in a food processor, whizz it up and you've got breadcrumbs that you can use in lots of different recipes. And now the herbs.

Claire:  Generally, you buy them in big bunches and you might not want to use them all at the same time, so this is a great tip. Place your herbs on a piece of cling film and then you just roll.

Lucy:   You just do it nice and tightly. That's sage in there but can you use any herb?

Freeze herbs

Claire:  Yes, parsley, basil, tarragon, whatever you want.

Lucy:   What a great idea, what a great way not waste anything.

Claire: And then seal the ends. So when you're ready to use it, just get them out of the freezer, get your scissors, snip off as much as you want and then reseal the pack and pop it back in the freezer.

Lucy:  It's important that you reseal the pack because if you have food exposed to the freezer, it doesn't tend to keep very well. So that applies to anything; meat, vegetables, fruit, you must make sure it's tightly packed.

Batch cooking

Talking of meat, let's just get these over here. Whenever I cook for the family, I always try to cook a bit extra so I can freeze it, because it makes a perfect mid-week supper. Things like bolognaise sauce freezes really, really well, chicken stew. Just make a bit extra, put it in a freezer container, pop it in the freezer, then you can just take it out the night before, if you're very organised and let it defrost in the fridge. Then you've got a perfect easy midweek supper. It's all about portions and being organised.

Claire:  And don't forget, really important to label things because you don't want chicken stew on your ice cream.

Lucy:  It's really important that the food goes into the freezer cold, it mustn't go in hot.

Freeze dairy products

Claire:   One thing that lots of people don't realise is that dairy freezes brilliantly so you need never run out of milk. Always have two pints in the freezer and your tea will never go without.

Lucy:   Butter as well, butter's a really good thing to freeze. And double cream, people sometimes don't realise you can freeze cream. But double cream, the best way to freeze it, lightly whip it then put it in the freezer. Then you can have pavlova at any time.

Claire:   You can defrost at room temperature but don't run anything under hot and cold water.

Lucy:  It's all about organisation, it's about portions, it's about labelling and it's about defrosting food in time.

Claire:   And that's how you use your freezer.

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