Keep it fresh Keep it fresh

Get more out of your groceries and reduce food waste with these simple home freezer hacks.

Can buying in bulk reduce your food waste and extend the lifespan of your groceries? If you know how to prepare, plan and use your freezer properly, the answer is most certainly ‘yes’, according to avid cook, renowned food writer and presenter Jane de Graaff.

The beauty of freezing food and beverages is, of course, about keeping your groceries fresher for longer; however, it’s also particularly useful to have ready-made meals on hand for those occasions you haven’t planned for or if you are short on time to cook.

There is an art – and science – to freezing produce well. With her four easy-to-action tips, Jane says, you can’t go wrong.

Jane de Graaff
Frozen berries
Green fruit and vegetables

1. Reduce waste and make your food go further

“If you are going to freeze leftovers or fresh food like mince, always date and label each item and freeze in flat and useful-sized portions. The biggest mistake people make is freezing a lump of mince in one big chunk. It takes ages to defrost. If you break it into 500g portions and press it flat in a Ziplock or reusable bag, you’ll be able to quickly defrost what you need without wasting anything. Portioning and freezing flat is the most useful tip there is when it comes to freezing.”


2. Enjoy in-season produce all year-round

“I always freeze mango cheeks when it’s mango season. Frozen pieces of mango are a delight in the middle of winter. Same goes for peaches and nectarines. Buy them when they are inexpensive and portion them up to use when the days are grey. It’s such a luxury!

Frozen fruit also makes a great, quick ice cream substitute. If you blitz up frozen banana or mango pieces with some coconut cream or Greek yoghurt, then you have low-sugar, dairy-free ‘nice cream’ in about 30 seconds. A great surprise when you think you’re out of dessert.

Frozen dumplings, noodles and meat
Woman taking container out of fridge
Freezer stocked with ice cream and ice
Green fruit and vegetables

3. Temperature matters

“Air flow keeps the temperature regular and helps things freeze and maintain a good temperature. If you overfill your freezer then the airflow is limited, and your freezer won’t be as efficient. Remove excess ice crystals from the walls for the same reason and never put hot things directly into the freezer as it will raise the temperature, causing bigger ice crystals and compromising other items in the freezer.”


4. Put quality in to get quality out

“Freezing is best if you freeze things that are in good condition. Don’t freeze something right on or past its best. It’ll be just as questionable when you defrost as it was when it went in.

So only freeze good quality stuff and then you won’t be disappointed when you defrost it.”


Originally published in The Costco Connection, Mar/Apr 2022. Pick up the latest copy at your local warehouse or read it online.