Handy advice from M&S on how we can better store food to reduce waste and use what we have

There are lots of foods that you can put straight in the freezer instead of the fridge. This includes meat and poultry, ready prepared meals, fresh pasta, bread – and did you know you can even freeze butter and cheese? Here’s some examples:

Milk: All milk can be stored in the freezer and defrosted before use. Just make sure it’s still sealed. It should be defrosted fully in the fridge before using.

Cheese: Some hard cheeses freeze very well, firmer types like cheddar, gouda and Swiss cope well with the freezing process and maintaining their structure. You can freeze in blocks or grate it and freeze in handy portion sizes.

Bread: Baked goods like bread, rolls, pittas, bagels and crumpets can all be easily frozen. Loaves of bread can be bought ready-sliced or whole to be sliced yourself before freezing. Most toasters have a defrost function so you can toast baked goods from frozen.

Pasta: Fresh pasta is a great option to keep in the freezer. Some pastas won’t have to be defrosted before use either, they’ll defrost once put in boiling water.

Fruit and vegetables: Our frozen fruit and vegetables in the freezer aisle are not the only option; some fresh fruits like bananas and berries when frozen make great ingredients for smoothies and for baking.

Batch cooking: Consider cooking a larger portion at mealtimes to freeze for a later date. Make sure you freeze the leftovers as soon as possible, once they’ve fully cooled and mark clearly the date it was cooked and frozen on the container for later reference. And only defrost or re-heat the meal once.

Around three quarters of our ready prepared meals and over half our desserts are suitable for freezing and have the logo on pack. Simply freeze on the day of purchase and follow the guidance on packaging for the length of time it can stay frozen. Look out for the ‘suitable for freezing’ logo on product which also includes guidance for how long you can freeze each item for.
Defrosting food safely:
Thinking about the best way to prep your food for freezing is important. But it’s even more important to defrost your food properly.

The Food Standards Agency website has everything you need to know about freezing and defrosting food safely, including:
• Make sure any warm dishes are cooled before putting them in your freezer.

• Place food in an air-tight container or wrap it well in freezer bags or freezer wrap.

• If the food has been defrosted it must be cooked before being eaten to be safe.

• Once defrosted, food should be consumed immediately.

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