Everyone knows the power of a well-stocked fridge brimming with perfectly plucked ingredients just waiting to be used! But full freezers? They’re underrated.
To give perishable ingredients a longer lifespan, you can prep and freeze big-batch meals—and keep that freezer full. After all, freezing food doesn’t mean sacrificing quality.
Making meals ahead of time and freezing them for later will ensure you’ve got non-perishable meals on hand should you encounter a busy week at work or find your fridge running—gasp!—a little low on fresh foods.
The best part? You can give just about any dish the freezer treatment just as long as you take the right food safety precautions, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Some general rules of thumb include:
- Freeze items sooner rather than later—there’s no need to wait for freshly cooked items to cool on the countertop or fridge.
- Rewrap frozen foods if packaging is torn or opened.
- Cut away freezer-burned areas before eating. (Freezer burn doesn’t make food unsafe; it’ll just make it dry.)
- Thaw frozen foods in the fridge, where it can slowly defrost; in cold water; or using your microwave’s defrost setting.
Ready to get cooking (and cooling?). Check out these SmartPoints®-friendly recipes that freeze particularly well. Tip: Consider doubling the recipe and storing in single-portion containers for an abundance of grab and go meals.
Lucy Shanker is a copywriter at WW (formerly Weight Watchers). Beyond WW.com, the Chicago-born, NYC-based food and culture writer's work has appeared on Consequence of Sound, The Independent, Spindle Magazine, and more.