There has been no greater need to combat food waste since the war.
In Britain – where it is everyone’s duty to shop sensibly and only when necessary – not a single stem, bone or leftover can be overlooked.
Thrifty: Cook and food writer Rose Prince won’t let anything go to waste
The irony is that for once there is time to put the knowledge of our thrifty great-grandmothers to good use.
And a modern kitchen has a big advantage: a freezer.
This allows you to shop less, which is now essential.
Our guide not only helps you prepare tasty meals from foods that can sometimes be thrown away, but also shows you which foods are best left in a freezer …
Sort freezer compartment
Prepare your freezer for efficient storage by making room for each category of food. This helps you keep track of what you have.
Use a highlighter to write a label for each drawer or shelf, for example: meat and poultry; vegetables; bread and banquet; smoked and salted foods; ready-made dishes; fruits and sweet things.
Cool in a crisis
Freeze food sooner than later when fresh. Don’t wait for the food to start to spoil.
Divide into portions according to the number in your household, then freeze anything that is not currently needed.
Maintain the low temperature of your freezer by adding new items only in small batches. Also, make sure cooked food has cooled completely before freezing
It’s a wrap!
Minced meat, fish fillets, boiled carrot), pumpkin, mushroom peel and herbs. potato and bread are prone to freezer burn, which affects the taste.
Freezer bags prevent this, especially if air is extracted from the filled bag, Double wrap with foil or paper to insulate.
Use plastic milk bottles to freeze liquids and smoothies and reuse other plastic packaging. Never freeze food in glass – it may crack.
Recipes to make your food go further
For 4 persons
- 60 g of butter
- 2 white onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium pumpkin (800 g), unpeeled, pitted and cut into pieces
- 1 liter of broth
- 200 ml of thick yogurt
Make croutons with day-old bread, torn into pieces, sprinkled with grated cheese, and baked golden brown. Melt the butter in a pan.
Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the pumpkin and stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer and cook until the pumpkin is very soft.
Cool and then add the yogurt. Wind up until very smooth. Heat without cooking and serve soup with the croutons.
Makes 1.75 liters
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- One chicken carcass (stripped of all leftover meat) or raw bones *
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 carrot, cut into slices
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or frying pan. Divide the carcass and add to the vegetables in the pan.
Stir-fry for a minute and cover with 2 liters of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1½ hours.
Strain through a sieve and season the stock with salt and pepper. Store in plastic milk cartons (it should be kept for three days) or freeze.
* Use beef or pork bones to make meat stock according to the same recipe. Use trimmings and peels from non-starchy vegetables to make vegetable stock. Includes onion, carrot, celery, leek plus tomato, green vegetables, other root vegetables (no beetroot), pumpkin, mushroom peel and herbs.
Risotto of chestnut mushrooms
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 120 g risotto rice
- 100 ml of white wine
- 750 ml stock
- 300 g chestnut mushrooms, cut into slices
- 4 heaped tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Melt the butter in a pan, add the onion and cook gently until soft. Add the rice, cook for a minute, then add wine.
Bring to boil. and add the mushrooms. Gradually add the stock, one ladle at a time.
Simmer the risotto and absorb any amount of liquid while stirring before adding the next tablespoon of broth.
When the rice is soft, add another spoonful of broth with another tablespoon of butter, stir and season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese
Risotto of chestnut mushrooms
Keep your distance
Fast freeze guards against large amounts of objects that stick together in bags. This works well with berries and cut vegetables.
It also reduces ice crystals so that food retains its shape during defrosting.
Place the items to be frozen on a baking tray, freeze them until hard, then put them in the bag. This way you can use small amounts whenever you want.
When frozen in smaller portions, the food will not take long to thaw. To safely speed up defrosting, place food in a waterproof bag and immerse it in cold water.
Ingredients with a high fat content take less time to defrost than ingredients with a high water content.
EGGS: You can freeze eggs, but not in the shells, which would break. Some frozen whole eggs cracked into silicone fairy cake molds – but be warned, the yolks become gelatinous.
Ideally, freeze a frozen egg for scrambling or baking. Protein also freezes easily.
Stir for yolks to break and add ¼ tsp of salt for every 120g to prevent gelation (an average yolk weighs 18g, a white 36g). Label the amount for freezing.
Some frozen whole eggs cracked into silicone fairy cake molds – but be warned, the yolks will become gelatinous
MILK AND CREAM: Freeze the milk you don’t need when it’s fresh and it will taste just as good.
Full fat or non-homogenized (with a wad of cream on it) should be completely thawed before use, because the fat in the milk will melt first and will be very creamy.
Shake to spread it. Milk changes color in the freezer to transparent yellow. Do not be put off, because when defrosting it quickly turns white again.
Cream deteriorates after a month in the freezer. Oats, soy and nut milk do not always keep well and can therefore be frozen in small portions.
CHEESE: Not all varieties freeze well. Ripe, low-moisture hard cheeses freeze best – the older the better. For example, Parmesan freezes better than the younger Grana Padano.
Do not freeze cheese in large lumps – the outer edges dry out and crumble. It is better to cut into 100g pieces, then pack tightly and put in a bag. Most softer cheeses cannot be frozen because they split into curd and whey when thawing.
Mozzarella is the exception. Feta and halloumi do not need to be frozen – they have a longer life than their expiration date.
Give them a good scent – like yogurt – before you taste. Grated hard cheese will last for up to a month.
BREAD: You will never waste bread if you freeze what you don’t immediately need. Wrap the rest in portions of slices and freeze in a double bag to prevent burns in the freezer.
Whole breads are always drier when thawed. To make them taste as good as new, cut a slice of the thawed bread, rub or brush with water and make toast on it.
French bread can be changed by first rinsing under the cold tap and then heating in the oven. Raw dough can be frozen.
Some of the yeast in it will ‘die’ in the cold, but the bread will rise almost as much as if it were made fresh.
You will never waste bread if you freeze what you don’t immediately need. Wrap the rest in portions of slices and freeze in a double bag to prevent burns in the freezer
CAKE: Many bakers believe that cakes in the freezer improve, making the sponge softer.
Slices of cake can be individually wrapped and frozen on a tray before being bagged.
POTATOES: Raw potato doesn’t work well because water crystals form in the pulp, which means the potato will have a terrible, spongy texture when thawed.
But mashed potatoes with a pinch of salt, a little butter or milk / cream taste perfect after thawing – always pack this creamy puree in small portions.
You can also make a sliced potato dauphinoise baking and cook it until the potato is waxy when pierced with a knife, but not quite cooked through. Cool quickly and then freeze. Bake after defrosting until bubbly and golden brown.
TOMATOES: When overripe tomatoes soften, chop them in a pan with a generous splash of olive oil, a crushed garlic clove, and a pinch of dried oregano. Cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally, and blitz with a hand blender. This makes the sauce oxygenated and turns pale red. Frozen in small portions, it makes an excellent base for pasta sauces, curries and soups.
Amazingly, avocado puree retains its color and does not deteriorate when frozen in small bags
FRESH HERBS: It doesn’t matter that supermarkets sell chopped frozen herbs, all soft-leaved herbs (basil, parsley, tarragon, dill or mint) lose all their flavor and turn into compost when thawed.
If you have soft herbs left, chop and mix with olive oil to make a paste and freeze in an ice cube tray. Use for dressings, marinades, soups and sauces. Spices can also be stored by adding them in chopped butter.
Form the herb butter into a roll, wrap in baking paper and freeze. If necessary, cut a disk from the roll (butter never freezes completely.)
AVOCADO: Amazingly, avocado puree retains its color and does not deteriorate when frozen in small bags. If necessary, use quick thawing by placing the sealed bag in a bowl of cold water.
GRANOLA: Why freeze granola? Because it’s annoying how fast it gets stale. It contains nuts, which easily turn rancid.
It thaws quickly – put it directly in the bowl of milk and fruit, and a few minutes later it tastes as fresh as it gets.
RAW MEAT AND FISH: Poultry and meat have always been frozen pillars. And again, dividing and packing portions separately will avoid waste.
Wrap meat well in the freezer. Likewise, raw fish will stay well frozen for several months, but make sure to freeze portions as fresh as possible.
COOKED MEAT: You can freeze this, but roasted meats like lamb, pork, or beef will dry out and won’t taste great in sandwiches or salads.
However, if chopped or chopped before freezing, they revive beautifully when thawed and can be used in cottage pie, shepherd’s pie or ragu (Italian meat sauce).
CREATE INVENTORY: Place two large resealable freezer bags in the refrigerator to store ingredients in stock: one labeled meat for chicken or other meat bones; the other for peelings and pieces of raw vegetables, but not potatoes, which do not freeze well. Tuck the pieces into the bag until it is full enough to make a batch of broth.
VEGETABLES: The rule is that non-starchy root vegetables, not potatoes, freeze well raw, but anything that grows above ground should be partially cooked before freezing.
But aside from peas and broad beans, partially cooked vegetables turn an unpleasant gray. Better to turn them into soups.
Likewise, lettuce, which does not freeze. Never overlook a scrap: save all stems – broccoli and cauliflower, for example – for soups.
All skins, except potato, make good vegetable stock, especially mushroom skins.
RICE: To freeze rice, boil, drain and then spread on a baking tray. When cool, brush very lightly with oil and cut into squares from one serving.
Put in the freezer and then put it in a bag to thaw in the microwave.
FRUIT: Freeze berries quickly to maintain their shape. You can freeze bananas in their skins for smoothies (they soften during defrosting) or freeze slices quickly for breakfast cereals.
Orchard Fruit: Apples, plums, peaches, and cherries are best made in portions of compote and frozen for use in smoothies or desserts. Green grapes, halved and frozen in ice trays, make a charming cooler in a spritz of white wine.
The rule is that non-starchy root vegetables, not potatoes, freeze well raw, but anything that grows above ground should be partially cooked before freezing