Matt Pre­ston:

Shares his tips for get­ting the most out of the freezer.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TASSIE LIVING - MATT PRE­STON

IF THE oven is your best friend in the kitchen, then the freezer is that friend you turn to when you are in trou­ble. Here are a dozen things that you can keep there that will pro­vide a quick meal when there’s noth­ing in the fridge or help re­vive a lack­lus­tre dish.


A packet of frozen prawns can help you MacGyver your way out of all man­ner of culi­nary predica­ments, but do buy snap-frozen green prawns and never re­freeze any “frozen for your con­ve­nience” seafood.


This is an­other ex­cel­lent thing to freeze for con­ve­nience, and makes whip­ping up fried rice a dod­dle. Spread it out to cool be­fore putting it in the freezer. Make sure you pack it in flat and thin, as the big­ger sur­face area will mean it de­frosts quicker; about the thick­ness of this fine news­pa­per (with its com­pelling mag­a­zine sup­ple­ments), I’d sug­gest.


Freeze with sheets of bak­ing pa­per be­tween each rasher for easy sep­a­ra­tion. The same goes for burg­ers.


The is­sue with stor­ing meat is the time a hunk of flesh takes to thaw, so bet­ter to freeze chicken breasts separately for por­tion con­trol and quicker de­frost­ing; or freeze raw cubed meat al­ready in it’s mari­nade. De­frost this in the fridge overnight for best re­sults.


This ei­ther needs to be eaten within 24 hours of buy­ing it or it should be frozen. Fish de­frosts fairly quickly (es­pe­cially if frozen as sep­a­rate fil­lets), and you can keep oily fish like sal­mon for up to two months be­fore us­ing and other fish up to three months. So name and date any­thing you put in the freezer.


Over-ripe bananas are magic. Blitz them and they turn into the most vir­tu­ous quick ice cream. Just peel them and break them up be­fore freez­ing. Yes, you can use them in your ba­nana bread as well.


When frozen, grapes don’t just make a re­fresh­ing lit­tle snack, they can also dou­ble as ice cubes that won’t di­lute your sau­vi­gnon blanc while you drink it in front of the fire.


Bis­cuits freeze well, too, but can­nier is to freeze salami-sized lengths of cookie dough that you can slice with a bread knife and bake to or­der when friends drop round un­ex­pect­edly for a cof­fee.


Parme­san or the like can be stored whole or grated, with the process only marginally im­pact­ing on tex­ture. Use a fine grater like a Mi­croplane to grate pretty much straight from the freezer in emer­gen­cies. Bear this in mind when mak­ing a trek out to a bulk Ital­ian su­per­mar­ket where large chunks of good parme­san is cheaper.


I buy mine by the dozen from the lo­cal dumpling cafe for rainy days when I can’t be both­ered to walk down there. Frozen Mal­tese pas­tizzi are also good and make a great scratch meal with some of those frozen peas!


It’s a com­mon oc­cur­rence to chop up more in­gre­di­ents than we use. But that ginger, spare zest, chill­ies or those lime leaves can all be wrapped in cling film and stored in a la­belled and dated zip-lock bag in the freezer un­til you need them again. Then, when you use them, they are chopped and ready to go.


The best way to freeze spare stock and citrus juices is in ice cube trays. Pop out the cubes when frozen, then pack in a la­belled zip-lock bag. With those ex­pen­sive left­over herbs, chop them, fill each pocket of the ice cube tray twothirds full with the herbs and top up with olive oil be­fore freez­ing. Then de­cant as above. Chuck in a frozen cube or two to what­ever braise or sauce needs a flavour su­per­charge. For my full list of 24 things to keep in your freezer, go to de­li­

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