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Is your kitchen ready for winter? Surprising things you can freeze

The freezer is the food saver’s friend at the best of times, and when it’s freezing outside, freezing inside can help to tide you over if the usual routine gets disrupted by the winter weather.

Helen White, Special Advisor on Household Food Waste at WRAP gives her top tips.

Helen White from WRAP

You can freeze just about anything – and freeze food right up to the Use By date. There are, of course, a few foods that don’t freeze well, but most of us aren’t thinking salad in a cold snap!

You can freeze more than you think!

A survey for our food waste campaign Love Food Hate Waste found that 17% of us don’t realise we can freeze milk, 16% cheese and 16% fruit. But you can freeze all these things … and more.

Milk is best frozen as soon as possible after buying it. The plastic containers will expand, so pour out a small amount – perhaps make yourself a cup of tea? - before freezing. Thaw in the fridge and shake well before using. Larger containers take longer to defrost, so better to buy a couple of smaller ones instead.

Bread toasts brilliantly straight from the freezer. Tap a sliced loaf on the table or worktop before freezing and the slices will separate more easily. You can also freeze cheese. Grate, which makes it much easier to use, into freezer bags and scatter frozen to top pizza, shepherd’s pie or indeed, toast.

You can freeze oranges and lemons? Yep, and you can still grate the rind, and juice the fruit, from frozen. If bananas start to go speckled, peel and freeze them. Blend or mash the frozen bananas as a healthy alternative to ice cream for pud.

Leftover cooked meat is perfectly safe to freeze. Thaw in the fridge and use in a rich risotto or a warming curry. When using only half an onion, chop and freeze the rest in a freezer bag or airtight container for later. Get your greens with frozen veg, which is as tasty and good for you as fresh.

The store cupboard is another unsung hero. Humble herbs and spices can help to deliver a delicious dinner (when the fridge is looking a bit bare or the weather a bit brrrrr!) by transforming leftovers and packing flavour into frozen foods – and all without stepping foot out of the house.

To stock the simplest of store cupboards (parents of students also please note) choose: olive oil; dried mixed herbs; chilli/curry powder/paste; soy sauce; stock cubes; salt and pepper; tinned kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils; dried pasta; rice and tinned tomatoes.

Slipping and sliding to the shops or staying stay safe, warm and well-fed instead – thanks to some secret ingredients and a bit of freezer know-how? No contest!

For more on making the most of the food you buy and for inspirational leftovers recipes visit: www.lovefoodhatewaste.com