Home cooks and chefs alike can agree that food doesn't exactly come cheap these days. So, when we see items we love on sale, we want to stock up. From occasional parties to dinner every night, some products make necessary and repeated appearances — and they’re worth buying in bulk. But rationality kicks in as you realize buying ten packages of butter or twelve industrial blocks of cheese, despite the great prices, isn’t a good idea.
However, if you plan to use it within the next year, consider filling up your cart. Meet your new best friend: the freezer.
Surprisingly, foods you typically wouldn't think of putting in arctic temperatures can not only be frozen, but sometimes are better for it. Nuts on sale for ten cents a pound? Load them up! Bushels of fresh herbs overflowing in your garden? Make a home for them in your freezer. Better yet, almost any food you can think of will actually keep well when defrosting time comes. If saving money isn't enough motivation, freezing can help effectively store and portion meals so you don't overindulge.
With some heavy-duty aluminum foil, plastic bags, and plastic wrap, you can store some of your essential everyday and party food for months. Now clean out that freezer to make room for your new finds.
Going on vacation and absentmindedly bought a whole gallon of milk? Waste not, milk lovers! You can actually freeze milk with few repercussions. Simply pour out a little milk to leave room for expansion, and pop in the freezer. Once you return home, remove from the freezer and thaw in refrigerator for a day or two. Before use, give it a good shake to prevent drinking any separated milk. It’s best to freeze milk at its freshest, and it shouldn’t be kept longer than four to six weeks.
Especially handy when stocking up for baking season, freezing butter is easy. Simply place butter in its original wrapping inside of an airtight bag, or tightly wrapped in foil. When ready, simply remove from the freezer and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before use. Butter usually lasts for up to six months, though other foodies report enjoying butter a year after freezing.
Additional reporting by Emily Jacobs, Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.
*This article was originally published on July 9, 2014