7 Ways to Use Your Freezer to Save at the Grocery Store

If you have been to the grocery store lately, you may be surprised by the increasing cost of food.  I myself experienced sticker shock last week when I stocked up for my freezer cooking day.  However, there are some ways you can use your freezer to keep your grocery bill in check.

  1. Buy fruit when the price is low and freeze the extra.  We love banana-blueberry-strawberry smoothies.  Buying a one pound bag of frozen strawberries costs me $2.50 to $3.00.  However, this past week I found fresh strawberries on sale for $1.50 a pound.  I bought 4 pounds; we kept one to eat fresh and I cleaned up the rest and put them in the freezer to use throughout the month.  Likewise, we always add a few Craisins to our oatmeal in the morning.  On sale, the lowest I can find Craisins is $1.50 per 6 oz. bag.  However, I ran across a great deal at the store last week—6 oz. bags of Craisins for .50 each (because they were set to expire in a few days).  I bought 20 bags and put them all in the freezer.  We won’t have to buy Craisins for many months.
  2. Freeze milk.  When I first heard this suggestion, I thought milk that had been frozen would taste odd, but it doesn’t.  We didn’t notice much change in taste.  Buy milk when it is at a low price (around $1.99 to $2.39 per gallon around here), bring it home and pour out a little bit to give the container room to expand and put it in the freezer.  Once you thaw it, shake the container to distribute the milk evenly (it can separate when frozen).  So simple.
  3. Freeze eggs.  Egg prices fluctuate wildly.  For our family of 5, I usually buy 18 eggs a week.  One week they may cost $1.69, and the next week they could cost a dollar more.  To get the best price on eggs, buy when they are cheap and freeze the surplus.  Simply crack all of the eggs in a large bowl, stir them until they are mixed well, and add a dash of salt.  Freeze in ice cube trays and then, when froze, remove them from the trays and store in a zip-lock bag.  We did this frequently during the high prices in 2008; when we used them for scrambled eggs, we could tell little difference in the taste.  (Some people do complain that there is a difference in the texture though.)
  4. Buy meat when it is discounted and freeze.  Ask the butcher at your store when they typically mark down meats that are close to their expiration date.  Besides the side of beef that my husband and I purchase yearly, almost all of our meat is clearanced meat.  When you get home, take it out of the package, divide it into the serving size you would like and wrap in plastic wrap first, then in foil.  Label and date it.  Freeze until you are ready to cook it.
  5. Buy lunch meat when it is discounted and freeze.  Lunch meat is marked down 50% or more when it is within a day or two of its expiration date.  Freeze it in a quantity you could eat up in a few days.  When you are ready to use, place it in a plastic storage container with a paper towel underneath it to gather the moisture (this helps keep bacteria at bay).  Change the paper towel frequently, and use the meat within a few days of taking it out of the freezer.
  6. Buy bread and freeze it.  While we try not to be fussy about our bread, we love Butternut wheat bread.  A few weeks ago it was on sale for $1 a loaf (normally priced at $2.30 to $2.80 a loaf).  I bought 8 loaves and put them in my freezer.  We have not had a problem with dryness.  When I am ready to make a sandwich for my daughter, I pull the bread out and microwave it for 15 seconds, just enough to make it moist and room temperature.
  7. Freezer cook.  When you find a low price on an item, say crabmeat, stock up.  Then, turn the crab into a meal that can be frozen such as crab cakes.  Make several meal size portions and put them in the freezer.  Then, on a crazy night, pull the crab cakes from the freezer and enjoy.  Not only are you saving money by not going out to eat, you are saving money by making meals with ingredients you bought at the lowest possible price.

While you can’t do much about the increasing prices on groceries, you can shop smarter to try to keep your grocery bill in check.

I shared this post at Works For Me Wednesday, Kitchen Economics,

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Comments

  1. Thanks for a great post! I always wondered if you could freeze eggs, so thanks for giving us directions about how to do it. I also buy butter when it’s on sale and find that it freezes really well.

  2. I love this post thanks so much for sharing. I do have a question about the milk, does it matter what container you freeze it in, and how long can you use it when you thaw it out?

    • We just froze it right in the jug it comes in. It is fine that way as long as you drain off a bit to give the container room to expand when the liquid is frozen. We drank our thawed milk within a week and it was just fine. Now two of us drink Almond milk, so when I find a low price for that I am going to experiment with that milk too, since it is so pricey.

  3. Cambria H says:

    Question: When you do your freezer cooking, do you let the meals cool first before you put them in the freezer? If so, for how long?

    Thanks!
    Cambria

    • Yes, I do. I let them cool on the counter for about 30 to 40 minutes, and then I put them in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. After that I put them up in the freezer in batches. They freeze more quickly that way and don’t raise the overall temperature of the freezer that much.

  4. I had to laugh. My husband thought I was crazy for freezing milk. Then when milk went to almost $4 in our area awhile ago he was so thankful we had 15 gallons in there. Thanks for the tip on the eggs. Can you do this with the farm fresh eggs too?

    • Yeah, my husband thought it was crazy too, but he soon changed his mind. I have never experimented with farm fresh eggs, so I am not sure. If you try it, let me know.

    • Yes, you can freeze farm fresh eggs. Both my aunt & sister have chickens and are very generous with their eggs. Almost too generous at times, lol! When I have too many, I freeze them as described in this post.

  5. Freezing veggies works well too. We grow a ton in our garden in the summer and then freeze it for winter. Works great. We are still eating last years produce.

  6. Very interesting post. We freeze butter, bread products, fruits and veggies. I’m impressed with how efficient you are. You must have an extra freezer, right?

  7. I love our 2 freezers! I freeze whole milk a lot because I don’t have room in the fridge to hold 4 to 5 gallons of milk each week. I’ve frozen tons of stuff: homegrown veggies and fruit, side dishes, pesto, meat, cheese, bread, milk, flour, and nuts. I don’t recommend freezing blocks of cheese. The consistency changes enough for us that the cheese never slices as well. However, I do freeze mozzarella, and then defrost it just enough to grate it. It’s easier to grate when it’s still a little frozen.

  8. Good tips!! I’ve never thought about freezing craisins or eggs. How interesting! (here from WFMW)

  9. These are some great, detailed tips! I have only the freezer in the refrigerator, so that limits how much I can freeze, but we do stock up on some things that way. Here are some of my favorites:

    Kale is very nutritious and easy to sneak into lots of recipes, but it’s sold in very large bunches. Whatever we don’t use right away, I shred and freeze in small bags to add to later meals–it can go right in the pot without thawing!

    When we happen to get oranges that have nice thick peels, I freeze a couple of them to use later in cranberry bread and other recipes that call for orange peel.

    Whenever I make cranberry bread, Raisin Bran Bread, or other quick breads, I make 4 loaves (that’s how many pans I have) and freeze 1 or 2. Then I can thaw them for easy breakfasts and snacks when I don’t have time to bake.

  10. i never knew you could freeze eggs..do they still work well in baking? We go through alot of eggs(I buy 5-6 dozen every couple of weeks!)

    • I’ve baked with eggs frozen as described in this post. I would pull a few *cubes* out the night before and let thaw in the fridge overnight. No difference that I could tell in my baked goods.

  11. My wife is a big fan of freezing food. She cooks food good for the whole week and she’ll freeze them. Yap, she does all the other ones that you mentioned on this post such as freezing vegetables, bread, pancakes, etc.

  12. I freeze a lot, although I have never tried eggs. But I have not found that great of a price with eggs to stock up and we go through eggs very fast. I always feel so much more secure when my freezer is stocked.

    Thanks for linking up to Kitchen Economics! I hope to see you again next Wednesday.

  13. Laura Paulus says:

    Another great tip I learned for milk (sounds disgusting so don’t knock it til you try it) is purchasing powder milk and using for baking and other recipes. You cannot taste a difference and you can keep it in your cupboard for a long time and it is super easy to make up. Save the frozen milk for drinking. You can get powder milk in store brands very inexpensively and bulk stores like Winco often sell it for almost nothing. This is the milk I use for homemade yogurt too. This is not a freezer tip but will stretch the freezer milk even further!

    • Great addition to the post. We used to buy a huge bag from Gordon’s Food Store. It wasn’t instant milk; it was a powder, but you had to mix it with water and blend it then set it in the fridge to cool. We saved quite a bit of money that way.

    • Okay how do you use this for yogurt. I am looking for a way to cut the dairy bill without cutting the dairy which is what I have been doing. Could you post your recipe? I always use the pwodered milk for baking and my kids did not notice until my 13 yr old found the box and said “mom, what do you use this for?”

      • The non-instant milk worked just like normal milk in our yogurt recipe. I blended it up, refrigerated it, and then used it just like regular milk in our yogurt recipe.

  14. Great tips – I am excited about freezing eggs – my own chickens have begun to produce more than we need – I wonder how long they last?? Any ideas?

    • I am not sure how long they last. We always use ours from the freezer within a month to 6 weeks (to supplement on the weeks egg prices are high so we don’t buy any).

  15. I have seen on a web site they last for 3 to 4 months in the freezer.

  16. Janie Delia says:

    These are some good tips on freezing food when they are on discounted sales and then storing them for later – but another aspect to consider is that we tend to throw away a huge deal of food when it reaches the ‘best before’ date and in those cases we should keep an eye on upcoming dates and store the food away – this prevents us being wasteful and also helps save money in the long run. Another money saving tip which I read from these freezer tips is that if you keep your freezer ‘full’ then it requires less energy to keep your freezer running, which means lower electricity bills and more money saved.

    • Good point. Before we had kids, our deep freezer was almost never completely full, so we put water in milk jugs and put those at the bottom of the freezer to fill in the empty space and make the freezer more efficient.

  17. For meat, instead of wrapping it in plastic and then foil, put it in a zliplock bag with your favorite marinade. Squeeze all the air out, label it and freeze it.

    • Thank you for that tip. We have done that several times and it has worked great. I find recipes at food.com for “dump chicken” etc.

  18. We definitely freezer cook. Nothing is better after a stressful day at work than to come home to healthy, tasty, homemade food just a reheat away.

  19. Great post Melissa. I never thought of freezing eggs or milk.

    Just need to make sure you don’t rinse berries & fruits before freezing. We’re going to try freezing more stuff from the garden this year!

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