Safety and maintenance:
- Cool down any hot foods to room temperature before putting them in the freezer or fridge. Putting hot food in your freezer raises the temperature of other foods.
- The temperature of a freezer should be -18 C or 0ºF.
- Don’t let ice build up on the walls over a centimetre or two.
- Keep your freezer 2/3rds full at least. An empty freezer uses more electricity.
- Even if your freezer is self defrosting, give it a clean every six months.
Plastic boxes are one of the banes of my life. Apart from the dangers of BPA, the health hazards of microwaving your leftovers in phthalates-producing plastic, here is a famous infographic about how you can never find the right-sized lid for the box. Lakeland have come out with colour coded boxes which in theory makes it easier, but I prefer the clip and lock style boxes. Some design genius needs to make them colour coded too.
- horseradish and wasabi
- lemon grass
Herbs and leaves:
- Holy basil
- Curry leaves (splash these liberally with water so they don’t go black)
- Coriander stems (for stock).
- Lime leaves
- Vine leaves (freeze flat in bags then defrost with boiling water for dolmades)
- Banana leaves (wrap around fish for cooking ‘en papillote’. They are cheapest ready frozen in the Asian supermarket.
- Seaweed (Fi Bird, algae expert and author of Seaweed in the Kitchen lives in the Outer Hebrides and often sends me bags of unusual seaweed, bright green sea lettuce or purple dulse to keep in my freezer; useful for crumbling into bread, oatcakes, rice or even on pasta)
Broth, soup and stock:
- Bread, cake, pies, brownies, scones, cinnamon buns, fruit crumbles.
- Tortillas, flat breads, pittas. I make them from scratch, half bake them and keep in the freezer.
- Pizza base. If making fresh, make extra, roll it out into a thin flat circle(s) separated with greaseproof paper and freeze. You can bake these from frozen, just add topping.
- Bread crumbs and biscuit crumbs: for gratin or for cheesecake bases.