Earlier this week I talked about the new initiative [here] between Bird’s Eye, Hotpoint, Love Food Hate Waste and the British Frozen Food Federation who want to encourage the nation to combat the issue of food waste by using their freezers properly. Do you know how to use your freezer to save money? Turns out, I don’t!
Their research has discovered that the average family household throws away £700 of food and drink every year – and this could have been avoided if we had frozen the food instead of throwing it out.
Do you throw away food?
I frequently find myself throwing food away from the fridge because there is little room and the kids tend to rifle through the yoghurt stash and ignore use by dates.
My worst crimes are against bagged salad and mouldy vegetables! (Did you know you can even use green sprouty potatoes?) I think it’s as important to use your fridge correctly as it is to freeze your leftovers.
Time to use your freezer to save money
For many of us, our food shop is the highest weekly bill and it makes sense to make every penny count.
I didn’t realise that I could freeze a wide range of foods, from eggs (out of their shells) to cake! I knew you could keep herbs in there but not that you can freeze cooked meat.
Apparently one in five women believes that food will only last for two weeks in the freezer but my problem is that I leave food for too long and I’m realising that it’s really important to label the food correctly.
How long can you freeze foods?
So how long CAN you leave various food stuff in the freezer?
Here’s a list of basics and the NHS also has some very useful information about food safety and frozen food.
For example, you should never refreeze raw meat (or poultry or fish) that has been defrosted, and you should never put ice-cream or frozen desserts back in the freezer once they have started to thaw.
(Oh dear, certainly guilty of that one with those jumbo tubs of ice cream!).
The basic list (based on the foods eaten most in the Hobbis Household)
- bananas – 8 months
- bacon – 3 months
- bread – 3 months
- butter – 9 months
- chicken (whole bird) – 1 year
- chicken (raw pieces) – 9 months
- chicken (cooked) – 4 months
- fruit juices – 1 year
- ham – 2 months
- ice cream – 2 months
- leftover casseroles & lasagna – 4 months
- rice (and other grains) cooked – 4 months
- steaks – 8 months
- Vegetables, commercial frozen – 1 year
Hmm. Think I’d better have a freezer clear out!
Choose a fridge freezer to suit your family’s lifestyle
The point of course is that if I am using my freezer effectively, there should be a constant turnover of the food in there.
I never seem to have enough space!
Even if you don’t buy much frozen food, you still need a decent sized refrigerator, particularly if you are to make the most of shopping BOGOFs and other special offers.
What you need to decide is the ratio of fridge space to freezer space that best suits your family.
Your choice should also take into account how many shopping trips you make each week.
There are some fabulous fridge freezers on the market now [click here] which combine the best of both worlds and I am finding that as the kids grow and eat more (at last!), fridge space is equally at a premium.
The American style fridge freezers, in particular, seem better designed to meet the needs of larger families (or those who do a lot of home cooking / food preparation) and who need lots of fridge space.
They have lots of useful features such as an ice maker, special shelves for deli products and adjustable shelving so you can store your shopping more efficiently.
I’m hoping that as we get ourselves organised, we will be doing more home cooking using fresh produce and being more diligent about storing leftovers.
That £700 per year we could be saving could go towards a new fridge/freezer!
Do you know how to use your freezer to save money?
*A collaborative post.