Consider these items "pantry staples" for your freezer.
Attention, home cooks! These foods make cooking fast, weeknight dinners a cinch, keep for ages, and are packed with nutrition. They also all happen to be totally delicious to boot. From nuts to pesto, here are a few of our favorites:
Did you know that storing nuts in your freezer makes them last longer? Whether you're using a handful of cashews to top off a soup or sprinkling walnuts on a salad, nuts are a nutrient-dense addition to any meal. Be sure to take what you need out of the freezer an hour or so before you're planning on eating them so the nuts can come to room temperature.
2. Frozen edamame
This popular Asian bean (they're unripened soybeans) are a plant-based source of protein and offer folate, manganese, and other vitamins and minerals in every pod. Add them to your next stir fry or pasta salad. Or, sprinkle edamame with cayenne and a little sea salt for an easy snack.
A spare ice cube tray makes an excellent storage vehicle for leftover pesto. Make a double batch with plenty of fresh herbs from the garden and store in your freezer to slather over veggies and add to pasta dishes.
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4. Frozen unsweetened fruit
Blueberries aren't in season? Craving strawberries in January? They're no trade-in for their fresh counterparts but frozen fruits are great for adding to smoothies or blending into a flavor-packed salad vinaigrette. We promise won't tell if you decide to grab a handful of blueberries for pancakes.
Next time you buy fresh ginger, pop it into your freezer to extend its life and use to grate over soups, stews, and more. Bonus: It's easier to grate when it's frozen.
6. Leftover soup
Cook once, eat thrice (or 10 times, as big batch cooking enthusiasts will tell you). Ditto for freezing any leftover homemade veggie stock — you worked so hard to make it, why not enjoy it for meals to come?
7. Frozen spinach
Popeye-approved, we know this one is a "duh" but since the fresh stuff tends to wilt faster than we can eat it, keeping a frozen stash on hand gives you no excuses not to eat the green stuff.