Being a vegetarian, incorporating fresh fruit and vegetables in my family's diet is of paramount importance to me. I prefer to use fresh herbs, fresh fruits and vegetables in all my recipes when ever possible. On occasions, I find that some ingredients are seasonal or I only want a little quantity of it in my recipe and it can be expensive buying a different set of ingredients for every meal.
To make sure that I always have the freshest ingredients in my recipes and to avoid waste, I have started to freeze my herbs, vegetables and fruits so that they are readily available in my kitchen all the year around.
Most foods can be frozen, the benefits of freezing food is that you can retain their nutritional value, colour and flavour. Freezing vegetables that are in season is also a good way to budget, you can often buy them in bulk at a nominal cost from markets especially if you shop at the end of closing time and the produce is reduced for quick sale.
Vegetables frozen straight after picking will have all their nutrients locked in immediately so that you benefit from them more compared to other forms of food preservation.
I am very keen on freezing in my kitchen so when I read about the Dr.Oetker Ristorante "Freshness Frozen" campaign I was totally mesmerized.
The picture above is a pizzeria made from four tonnes of ice opened, for one day only, outside London Liverpool Street railway station, to promote the nation’s favorite thin and crispy frozen pizza brand. It was crafted from 34 huge blocks of ice and using 3,400 litres of water.Can you just imagine what a spectacular sight this must have been?
This magic was created by Ice experts from Glacial Art Ice Sculptors, who spent a month making the ice cubes and then spent all night setting up the pizzeria in time for surprising the morning commuters. Each block of ice contained the essential ingredients of classic pizzas suspended within its frozen walls, which passers-by could watch in awe .
The designs in the ice were made using real peppers, chilli, salami, ham, pepperoni and various herbs, which were all placed individually in the water by hand and held in place until the ice began to freeze. Sadly I missed seeing this amazing creation but below you can see a video of exactly how it was put together and how it looked when completed.
I also freeze homemade soups, vegetable stocks, chutneys and many emergency meals such as pasta bakes, stews and pre boiled pulses which makes preparing dinner after a long day at work easy and simple
Frozen fresh fruits are perfect for making icecreams and smoothies.I freeze over ripe bananas, mixed berries, mangoes and freshly grated coconut.In the summer when tomatoes are available in abundance, I wash the overripe tomatoes and puree them for freezing which are perfect for making soup, pasta sauces or adding to stews and curries.
The freezer is also handy for those moments when my family want a quick sweet treat or I have a surprise visitor for coffee, I always have some frozen cookie dough that can be made into delicious cookies in a short space of time, providing the perfect indulgent treat.
For cooked foods, I cool the food quickly then freeze them in single serving-sized portions. Your freezer should operate at a temperature of -18ºC and you must take care that it is not over filled. Most products should be consumed within three months of freezing which is why dating them is important. You must also take care not to re freeze already frozen products that are thawed and any cooked food consumed from the the freezer must be reheated properly before eating. If you keep all these tips in mind your freezer will be your best friend in the kitchen.This post is in collaboration with by Dr Oetker Ristorante as part of their #FreshnessFrozen campaign. All views and opinions are my own .