Sustainable living has never been more crucial for protecting the environment and, like a lot of the important changes we make in life, a good place to start is our own homes. It’s not surprising that one of the ways we’re most wasteful at home is with our food. The average Irish household produces one tonne of food waste per year!1
If you want to reduce the amount of food waste in your home, freezing leftovers will be your saving grace. If you’re unsure of what food can or can’t be frozen, or how quickly it needs to be consumed after thawing, follow our guide below.
Milk needs to be frozen in an airtight container, with some space left at the top so it can expand when freezing. It can be safely frozen for up to three months. When thawing the milk, just let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. Be sure to use it within two to three days when it’s defrosted.
Tip: If your thawed milk has separated in the container, simply place it in a bowl and give it a good whisk.
The best way to freeze cheese is by grating it or chopping it into smaller cubes and keeping in a reusable container. Freezing large blocks of cheese can make it dry and crumbly when defrosted. You can keep frozen cheese for up to six months. As with milk, thaw in the fridge and consume it within two to three days.
You can freeze yoghurt in ice cube trays and leave them as is or place the cubes into a reusable container. They can be kept in the freezer for up to two months. Leave them to defrost in the fridge for best results. Alternatively, you can freeze yoghurt safely in its original container.
Tip: If you freeze the yoghurt in cubes, they are great to pop into your smoothies before you blend them!
If you want to freeze fresh veg such as broccoli or carrots, you’ll need to blanche it beforehand. Blanching is recommended before freezing most fresh vegetables to keep it fresh and prevent it from turning mushy when thawed. To blanche, just steam it for five minutes or boil it for three minutes. Then place in an airtight container or freezer bag and keep in the freezer for up to six months. If you want to freeze leftover cooked broccoli, the same steps apply minus the blanching! Defrost in the fridge and use it within three days.
Tip: If you defrost the broccoli in the microwave, you should consume it that same day.
Another great way of being sustainable with your vegetables is to avoid buying from the supermarket completely. Grow your own veggies with these easy steps—no Diarmuid Gavin expertise needed here!
It’s best to freeze eggs by cracking them into baking trays and freezing overnight. Remove them from the bun trays and keep them in freezer bags for up to three months.
Tip: Eggs freeze best if you whisk each egg before placing into your baking tray for freezing. You can also freeze in ice cubes if you have less space—each cube will equal around half an egg.
Want more ways to be clever with your food? Try these seven ways to make savings on your weekly shop.
Peel your bananas before freezing them. You can freeze them whole or sliced up. If you want to freeze them sliced up, you’ll need to spread them on a tray and freeze for a few hours before putting them into a container to avoid the pieces clumping together. They can then be stored for up to six months. Defrost the bananas by leaving them in their container and placing in a bowl of warm, but not hot, water for five minutes.
Tip: Bananas are best to freeze when they’re quite ripe, and brown spots have started to appear on the skin this way they retain their sweetness.
For more tips on sustainability in your home, check out our back to basics guide.
Did you know that with Aviva home insurance, we cover loss or damage to frozen food caused by a rise or fall in temperature, fridge leaks or fumes? Read this and more surprising things covered by our home insurance.
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