Freez­ing Foods

Reader's Digest (India) - - Rd Food - The ed­i­tors

If you freeze foods, do so when they are at their peak of fresh­ness. For best flavour and nu­tri­tion, veg­eta­bles—es­pe­cially peas, sweet corn and broad beans, which con­vert su­gar to starch within hours of be­ing picked—are frozen as soon as they’re har­vested. Left­over foods can be handy if you freeze them soon af­ter your meal.

Most peo­ple don’t try it, but you can freeze cur­ries and eat them af­ter sev­eral days. Be­fore eat­ing move it from freezer to fridge so that it thaws grad­u­ally and then heat or mi­crowave be­fore serv­ing.

Freeze cha­p­atis and bread. Just see that they are kept in freezer bags or in just any air-tight bag or con­tainer so that they don’t ab­sorb any wa­ter. Be­fore eat­ing, you can warm frozen sliced bread di­rectly in a toaster, or in a mi­crowave for no longer than 15 sec­onds. With cha­p­atis, af­ter they thaw and reach room tem­per­a­ture, heat for a few sec­onds over a flame be­fore serv­ing—much bet­ter than mi­crowav­ing.

Don’t freeze un­cooked fleshy fruits or veg­eta­bles. They be­come rock solid, but lose their tex­ture and are of­ten use­less af­ter they are thawed.

But try this. Pick spinach leaves and re­move the stalks. Blanch the leaves for a few sec­onds in boil­ing wa­ter or, al­ter­na­tively, fry them in a lit­tle olive oil. Drain, squeeze out any ex­tra mois­ture, and freeze in serv­ing-sized por­tions. Frozen spinach is a great stand-by for cooked dishes.

Don’t waste the zest—outer skins—of cit­rus fruits. Be­fore squeez­ing, pare the zest and store it in an air­tight con­tainer in the freezer, adding to it con­tin­u­ally. Use it as de­sired, to flavour some dishes.

Freeze herbs in ice-cube trays. First, wash and chop the herbs, then place a small por­tion in each ice-cube com­part­ment. Cover with boil­ing fil­tered wa­ter and place the tray in the freezer. When solid, trans­fer the cubes to a freezer bag. Toss into sauces, casseroles or soups.

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