Here are our favorite ten foods that freeze well with tips and tools to help stretch the life of your food and ease the load of cooking with food allergies.
Lessons learned in the kitchen from a food allergy family
When my daughter was first diagnosed with food allergies, I remember how hard it was shifting gears from ordering take out a few times a week to cooking most of our food from scratch. Like many food allergy parents, we’ve learnt a few things along the way when it comes to meal prepping and allergy-friendly cooking.
The freezer can be a tool to help ease the load of cooking with food allergies
Using our freezer as a tool to manage our family’s food allergies has been one of the most helpful appliances in our kitchen. We even bought an extra freezer to store food when we batch cook. An extra freezer isn’t always necessary or realistic but we hope our list of ten foods that freeze well can help you save time in the kitchen cooking with food allergies.
Ten foods that freeze well
Citrus is a freezer-friendly food
- Save citrus like lemons, limes or oranges by cutting into slices. Freeze by laying flat on a baking tray until solid. Pop into a freezer safe bag or glass container. Use to flavor water or for cooking. Zest can be frozen too.
- Citrus zest can be grated to add flavor to gluten-free, nut-free and vegan desserts. In addition, zest adds flavor to savory dishes like salad dressings and pasta.
- Squeeze citrus such as oranges, lemons, limes and freeze the juice. Sometimes, we make lemonade at home with frozen fresh juice.
Gluten-free rice & lentils are foods that freeze well after cooking
- Freeze rice and defrost it the night before or in the morning. Warm in a heavy bottom pot with lid. Pour in 2-3 tablespoons of water for every cup of rice or more as needed. Cover with lid on medium low heat until fluffy and warm. Or microwave. Our favorites to freeze are brown rice. Healthy meals to freeze and reheat include this top 8 free Mexican Rice.
- Do beans freeze well? Yes! Lentils, dal and rajma thicken when cooled. To defrost; add additional liquid to desired consistency and warm on stove top. Add a tempering with oil/ ghee & spices also known as tarka.
Ginger is a freezer friendly food
Peel skin. Store in a freezer safe bag. Grate using a microplane straight from the freezer into a small prep bowl or directly into food.
Store nut-free pesto, allergy-free sauces and vegan chutneys in freezer safe bags, ice cube trays, or muffin tins.
- Freezer tools such as Ball mini canning 4 oz jars are inexpensive. Food expands when frozen so leave headspace & fill to the last line. Use jars with flat sides in order to avoid shattering.
- Freeze salad dressings like balsamic vinaigrette used in our nut-free strawberry kale salad .
Fresh vegetables & fruit
Freeze fresh vegetables but better to blanch before freezing. Here are some guidelines from Taste of Home. Baked fruit, compotes, purees and jams freeze well.
Roasted garlic cloves are vegetables that freeze well
Roasting garlic is a flavor bomb! It is similar to fresh garlic and can be used for cooking or to smear onto bread. Roasted garlic tastes great in allergy friendly appetizers like our top 8 free creamy bean dip.
- To roast garlic: peel away outer, papery layers. Trim tops of heads. Brush with olive oil. Wrap tightly in parchment and aluminum foil. Roast for 40-60 minutes for 1 hour. Once cool, store in fridge for two weeks or freeze. Here’s a detailed method by The Kitchn.
Scraps, bones & broth
Freeze potato skins, leeks and carrot peels to make broth or stock. One of our favorite soup recipes that freezes well is Roasted Cauliflower Soup.
- Don’t use: brussel sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, onion skins and carrot tops-they can turn your broth bitter. I love this method for making broth three ways from Enlightened Foodie.
- Freeze chicken poaching liquid and use it as a light broth to flavor rice, soups and stews. Freeze in muffin tins, freezer safe bags (lay flat) or glass jars.
Rough chop herbs into ice cube trays and cover with a layer of oil. Freeze and store in bags. Refer to this link for more on how to freeze herbs.
Gluten-free bread & nut-free granola
Quick breads and muffins like sandwich loaves, pita and flatbread, nut-free granola, gluten-free baked oatmeal.
- Nut-free cocoa buckwheat granola– enjoy straight from the freezer.
- Freeze baked or unbaked fruit crumble topping. If freezing unbaked crumble, no need to defrost- bake straight from the freezer. I love this nut free recipe from Ina Garten.
- Cranberry baked oatmeal -cut into individual portions. Freeze solid by laying flat on a baking tray. Store in a freezer safe container. Defrost slices in the microwave or night before in the refrigerator.
Plant-based dairy & dairy alternatives are freezer friendly foods
Freeze vegan butter, plant-based shredded cheese and dairy alternatives. Or, if you can eat dairy products; parmesan rinds, paneer and heavy cream.
- Store vegan butter directly in the freezer. Use a box grater and shred to use in baking or cooking.
- Freeze parmesan rinds and add to soups or broth. Remove the rind before serving. Or, make parmesan broth to flavor risotto and soups.
Nut-free desserts and snacks
- Freeze snacks, cupcakes, cookies and desserts like our nut-free carrot cake.
- Freeze frosted cakes by slicing and laying flat on a baking tray in the freezer until solid. Wrap individually with saran wrap and store in a freezer safe bag.
Favorite containers to store meals that freeze well
- Pyrex Meal Prep Glass Food Storage Containers– stackable with different sizes
- Glasslock Oven-Safe Glass Container Set -stackable, leakproof
- Ball mini canning 4 oz jars for allergy-free sauces, nut-free pesto & vegan chutneys.
- Pyrex glass rectangular baking dish (with lid) for dairy-free casseroles and lasagnes. If you have space in your freezer, prep a lasagne ahead and bake directly from your freezer.
- Ball 1 ½ pint jars, for vegan soups, gluten-free rice, stews and more
Plastic & Aluminum :
- Food storage Deli Style Containers BPA free, leakproof
Zip top freezer bags -gallon and half gallon sizes
- Vacuum Sealer– space saver
Tools to organize your best meals to freeze
- NYT Blog Wirecutter “Tools and Tips for Freezing Food So Nothing Goes to Waste” by Anna Perling
- NYT Cooking; “How To Freeze Just About Everything” by Melissa Clark.
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Shahla is a mom of two girls who live with multiple food allergies, asthma and eczema. Shahla is trained as a Holistic Chef who wants to share the comfort that cooking has brought her family. She believes that everyone, regardless of dietary requirements, deserves a plate full of color and flavor.