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8 Foods to Store in the Freezer for Quick Meals

In a hurry? Tired of seeing your food go to waste? Discover eight foods you can store in the freezer for cooking with limited flavour loss.

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Pasta

Pasta, plain or filled, can be cooked from frozen. All it takes is a simple sauce to transform it into a complete meal.

Freezer storage life: Up to 1 month.

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Raw Shrimp and Other Shellfish

Raw shrimp and other shellfish can be cooked from frozen, as can fish fillets, to make a variety of quick meals.

Freezer storage life: Store frozen fish according to the ‘use-by’ date. If freezing fresh raw fish, store white fish for up to 3 months, oil-rich fish for up to 2 months. Most shellfish that is sold as ‘fresh’ has been frozen and should not be frozen again.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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Bread

Bread is better frozen than stored in the fridge (it goes dry and stale). Slice it before freezing and you’ll have slices that will thaw quickly or can be toasted from frozen.

Pita bread can be toasted from frozen, and part-baked breads can be baked from frozen.

Freezer storage life: Varying according to the type of bread. Commercially baked or homemade brown and white bread will keep up to 6 months; flat breads 4 months; milk, fruit and malt breads 3 months. Breads with a crispy crust will keep for 2 weeks; after this the crust tends to break off as they thaw.

(Photo: Digital Vision/Thinkstock)

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Frozen Fruit and Vegetables

Frozen fruit and vegetables are nutritious and convenient – their vitamin content doesn’t diminish during freezing.

Fruit and vegetables thaw quickly or you can cook them from frozen. Excess vegetables and fruits can be frozen, although they may not be as nutritious as bought frozen produce, which is frozen within hours of picking.

Freezer storage life: Vegetables can be stored for 10-12 months; fruit packed alone or as a purée will keep 6-8 months, packed in syrup or sugar 9-12 months.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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Grated Cheese

Grated cheese can be used from frozen in sauces or casserole and pizza toppings.

Freezer storage life: Up to 6 months.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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Herbs

Herbs can be frozen in stock or water in icetrays, or open-frozen and then packed into freezer containers or bags. Add the cubes to dishes as they are heating.

Freezer storage life: Up to 6 months.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are good for casserole toppings and can be used from frozen – the crumbs remain separate. Crumble day-old bread, or make large quantities in a blender, and freeze in plastic bags or plastic containers.

Croutons are another useful freezer item.

Freezer storage life: Up to 3 months.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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Grated Lemon, Orange or Lime Zest

Grated lemon, orange or lime zest, added frozen, will give instant flavour to many quick dishes. Open-freeze the zest on a tray and then pack into containers or bags.

Freezer storage life: Up to 12 months. You can also freeze the juice of the citrus fruit in icetrays to add to sauces.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)