Summertime is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to stock your freezer with… corn? Sure, you might ordinarily spring for those on-sale tubs of Ben and Jerry’s or you might ambitiously attempt to make your own frosé, but the truth is, there are so many more things you can freeze. And doing so might just make your life easier.
Leftovers and sweet treats find their spot in the freezer more often than not, but chances are there are some things on your countertop or in your fridge that could benefit from a bit of time in chillier temperatures. For one, you’ll easily extend their shelf life, and two, you’ll find that meal-prep might just become faster, easier, and generally just better.
These 10 unexpected foods deserve a spot right next to your stockpiled bags of frozen veggies and your trusty ice cube tray. Just make sure you leave enough room for your favorite frozen dessert.
Avocados and Guacamole
It simply isn’t summer without a cold margarita and a bowl of zesty guacamole dip for poolside snacking. Unfortunately, both avocados and guacamole have a short shelf life and a reputation for browning quickly. But never fear—both can be frozen at their freshest for creamy avocado goodness anytime. The key to maintaining that vibrant green hue is airtight storage, making plastic freezer bags an ideal solution. For preserving plain avocado, peel and mash the fruit into a paste, add a squeeze of citrus juice to prevent browning, and store in freezer bags with all excess air removed. Prepared guacamole can be preserved in the same manner. Tip: When freezing large amounts, divide into individual portions for easy thawing and serving.
Try: Classic Guacamole from Cooking Classy
Actually, all chocolate can be frozen to preserve shelf life, but for an especially freezer-friendly chocolate recipe, try this twist on chocolate bark. Made with a simple combination of four ingredients, this summertime treat is like frozen yogurt chopped into fun bark-like pieces. Full-fat Greek yogurt provides the richness of ice cream, while honey, cocoa powder, and bananas add plenty of yummy flavor.
Try: Chocolate Banana Frozen Yogurt Bark from My Fussy Eater
Fresh Corn on the Cob
We all look forward to that sweet spot every year when summer produce is at its freshest, tastiest, and most affordable. When the time is right, stock up on sweet summer corn and store the excess in your freezer because yes, you can freeze fresh corn. Straight from the farm, the ears can be popped directly into the freezer inside the husk. Or for easier meal-prep, husk and blanch ears first and allow to cool before freezing in airtight storage containers.
Try: Grilled Cilantro, Lime, and Paprika Corn on the Cob by Blissful Basil
Nothing compares to the flavor of homemade hummus, and it’s easy to prep in large batches. Store extra servings in the freezer for a readymade snack anytime. Tip: To prevent your hummus from drying out, top with a layer of olive oil before storing.
Try: Homemade Hummus from A Couple Cooks
You’ve probably never thought to freeze mushrooms before, but it’s totally doable and a great summertime grilling shortcut. To freeze, chop mushrooms and toss in melted butter before tossing into the freezer. Use to top grilled pizza, burgers, and fajitas or throw into a pasta sauce for added flavor and texture.
Try: Baked Parmesan Mushrooms from Damn Delicious
Ok, so maybe beets don’t top your list of favorite foods, but it’s hard to resist the electric pink hue of this honey and beet frozen yogurt. Five simple ingredients, including Greek yogurt and honey, create a flavor that’s creamy and sweet—and yes, that shocking pink color is 100% natural.
Try: Honey and Beet Frozen Yogurt from My Diary of Us
Along with cheese and eggs, milk can also be frozen to extend shelf life. Divide into individual portions or consider using an ice cube tray for manageable serving sizes. Always defrost in the refrigerator and shake to redistribute fat that may have separated during the freezing process.
Try: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Milkshake from Salty Canary
Surprise–cooked pasta can be frozen too! Just be sure that the pasta is dry and sealed well before placing it in the freezer. Tip: This hack also applies to fresh pasta, which will otherwise spoil quickly due to the inclusion of fresh eggs.
Try: The Coziest Pasta Lemon Bowl by How Sweet Eats
Isn’t it funny how much rice expands when it cooks? If you suddenly realize you’ve made too much, allow it to cool and then pop the extra into the freezer. Leftover rice is ideal for dishes like fried rice, which cook better when rice is allowed to lose some of its original moisture. We also like the idea of this garlicky rice, which is the perfect pairing for summer mains like grilled shrimp, pork, or chicken.
Try: Garlic and Fresh Peppercorn Fried Rice by Playful Cooking
If you like to cook, chances are you’ve come across a recipe or two that calls for a small amount of grated fresh ginger—but what to do with the rest of that ginger root? Skip the fridge and store in the freezer instead. It will be just as fresh the next time you need some—like in a batch of these yummy ginger popsicles.
Try: Chamomile Ginger Popsicles with Lemon and Honey by Port and Fin