Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Freezing Your Money

One way that I've been able to save a few dollars here and there is by freezing my own fruits and vegetables. It's easy if you have the equipment.

What you will need:
-the ability to spot a superior price on freezable produce
-rimmed baking sheet
-freezer that will fit said rimmed baking sheet
-freezer bags (or containers if you really want to get crazy)

I just bought blueberries at Stanley's, my produce market at North & Elston Aves. They were $0.49 per pint. That's pretty darn cheap. So I bought a case - twelve pints.

First, I wash two pints at a time, then spread them out in a single layer on to the baking sheet. Next, put the baking sheet into the freezer for about an hour. Empty the blueberries into a freezer bag or freezer container. Store. Repeat as needed.

Note: after washing the blueberries, they are wet. I know, you are shocked. This means that some of the blueberries will be "stuck" to the sheet after freezing. They come off pretty easily.

That is the key to freezing produce so that it doesn't freeze into a big ball - freezing it flat. Essentially, you are freezing each piece individually. Once each piece is frozen, the water from one won't stick to another.

I have successfully frozen bell peppers and onions, which I use a lot in my cooking. Occasionally, Stanley's will have, say, a case of bell peppers for about $2.50. I take them home, halve some and slice some, then freeze and bag. If you really want to be efficient, make veggie mixes to save time later. For instance, I mixed onions and peppers in a bag for omelettes.

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