Learn how you can save your favorite kitchen staples from going in the trash and save money by freezing grains, beans and produce.
A big part of me always feels bad when I throw away leftover quinoa or rice, or when I use two tablespoons of herbs and have to throw the rest away. I’m trying to be more mindful of what I throw away– how can I save these kitchen staples for future use? It’s a bad habit to kick, throwing away leftover food. But it really doesn’t take that much longer to batch-cook or get your produce ready for freezing!
I made great strides with this effort when the other day, instead of throwing away the other half of a yellow onion, I diced it up and threw it in a freezer bag. Now I have half an onion ready to go next time I need one! Last week I shared a video for how I make freezer friendly breakfast sandwiches— this is one item I do make regularly and keep stockpiled in the freezer.
Let’s take a look at some great ways to batch cook/freeze common kitchen staples.
Cassie over at Wholefully has a great tutorial on how to cook dried beans and freeze them for later use. She points out that can of beans costs $1.50 – $2 and over time, this adds up! I notice that the reduced sodium beans cost even more per can, which are the ones I buy. You can get a whole pound of beans for the same price and that makes about 6 cans worth!
Natasha over at Natasha’s Kitchen also has a tutorial on how to cook dried beans and freeze them. She suggests freezing the beans with liquid to keep them wet and keep them from drying out.
Batch cooking rice can save you a ton of time and money. For a while I was buying Lauren over at Lauren’s Latest shows how to batch cook brown rice and how you can unfreeze it later by microwaving with a couple tablespoons of water!
Cassie at Wholefully also shows you how to batch cook quinoa! She uses a unique method to cook her quinoa– baking it in the oven with chicken or vegetable broth. I’ve always cooked it over the stove, I can’t wait to try this method! She recommends taking it out of the freezer an hour before dinner to let it defrost.
Kimber over at The Pinning Mama shows you how to make cauliflower rice that you can freeze! I’ve bought pre-made cauliflower rice from Trader Joe’s and it’s amazing, but expensive. I think it was $3-4 for a small bag, when you could make several bags from one head of cauliflower! Riced cauliflower is great to add to soups. It adds a potato-like texture. You can also stir-fry it to serve with Asian dishes!
I have a real problem with tomatoes. They always look so pretty at the store, so I buy a bunch of them and expect myself to eat ten tomatoes in one week (my husband doesn’t like tomatoes). But I can never eat them all before they get wrinkly. Next time I’ll follow Laura’s steps over at Southern Made Simple to freeze the extra!
I need to buy an ice cube tray so I can save my extra herbs. I love using dill, sage, basil and thyme. In the winter months I have to buy these herbs from the grocery store (in the Spring/Summer I always have them growing on our balcony). Katerina over at Diethood has a gorgeous tutorial on how to do freeze fresh herbs in olive oil!
For many of these kitchen staples, it only takes a couple extra minutes to freeze leftover produce or make extra grains to freeze. Imagine how much time and money you could save by following these tips!
What are your favorite kitchen staples to freeze? I’d love to hear your tips on how you reduce food waste and save money by freezing!
Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!
Jennifer @ Fit Nana says
This is brilliant! I’ve cooked and frozen beans before (SO much better and cheaper than buying cans of beans all the time!) but I never thought about quinoa and rice and tomatoes. I’m totally doing this!
Awesome collection of freezer tips! I could not live without my freezer and now I have even more ideas about how to use it well. Thank you!