10 savvy foods to always keep in your freezer (and why)

A well stocked freezer is an invaluable resource for the home cook. We’ve pulled together the top 10 ingredients our food team always keep in their freezers, plus a few nifty ideas on how to use them.

From freezer stalwarts like frozen peas to some clever and unexpected ingredients (grapes, anyone?), keep scrolling for the 10 most savvy foods to keep in your freezer. Icy does it…

10 savvy foods to always keep in your freezer (and why)

Move over fish fingers and mystery leftovers. These are the 10 most useful ingredients you can keep in your freezer, plus some clever ideas from the delicious. food team on how to use them in your cooking…


This is an obvious one, but peas really are the poster child for frozen food. They’re picked, processed and frozen in a matter of hours and can be cooked from frozen with ease. And unless you’re in peak pea season and podding them straight into a dish, it’s almost impossible to get them any fresher than frozen – just 24 hours after harvesting, peas lose a lot of their sweetness; freezing them quickly retains the flavour.

How to use Make a quick purée by boiling frozen peas for 2 minutes, then whizzing with a knob of butter, some salt and pepper and a few mint leaves. Or simply throw into fried rice straight from the packet and stir-fry.


Knobs of ginger

How often have you rummaged in your fridge for ginger, only to find a wrinkly  dried knob of the stuff that’s been used only once? Keep ginger in the freezer and it’ll last forever – you can grate it directly into curries, stir-fries, salads and smoothies from frozen.

How to use Grate over curries before serving for a fresh hit of fiery flavour, or fold into biscuit dough before baking.

Veg trimmings

Getting into the habit of putting vegetable peelings, trimmings and herb stalks in a freezer bag rather than the food waste bin is something we hugely recommend – eventually you’ll have enough to make stock. The trimmings pack down easily so they don’t take up much space and it ensures every bit of veg gets used.

How to use Throw all your collected trimmings in a saucepan with a chicken carcass or beef bones, add a few peppercorns and a bay leaf, then cover with water. Simmer very gently for 2-3 hours, then strain, chill and use. Or portion and put back in the freezer for another day.

Asian dumplings

Frozen dumplings are one of our favourite ‘ready meals’ – they can be steamed, boiled or fried from frozen and there are countless varieties out there – especially in Asian supermarkets. Everything from simple gyozas and wontons to top-end dim sum can be kept on hand for those nights when you need something tasty ready in minutes.

How to use Fry gyozas or wontons in a wide frying pan until cooked through and crisp, then tip in beaten egg to create ‘egg skirt dumplings’. Garnish with sliced spring onion, soy sauce and chilli oil.


Packs of finger or bird’s eye chillies often contain far more than you need for one dish, and you end up with half a bag slowly mouldering at the back of your salad drawer. Take them out of the fridge and freeze them instead – they can be grated or whizzed up from frozen for spice pastes in seconds. Especially useful if you have specialist fresh chillies or a homegrown glut.

How to use Whizz green chillies with garlic, fresh ginger, salt and a splash of oil to make a quick flavour bomb for all sorts of Indian dishes, or finely grate into zesty salad dressings for an extra kick.

Curry leaves

A vital ingredient in a huge array of southern Indian and Sri Lankan dishes – but the dried leaves are a pale imitation of the flavour the fresh ones can deliver. Fresh curry leaves are sold chilled, in bunches, at Indian and Asian grocers, but will only last a few weeks. Freeze them and they’ll last for months and give you the same flavour as fresh.

How to use Throw them straight from the freezer into hot oil with mustard seeds, garlic and cumin to temper dal, or use in all sorts of south Indian dishes – they open up a whole new world of recipes.


Have you ever had a frozen grape? If not, go out and buy a bunch, then stick them in your freezer right now! The freezing process intensifies the sweetness and sourness and because of the high sugar content, they turn sorbet-like in texture rather than rock solid.

How to use Enjoy as a snack, stir into yogurt or use like ice cubes in white and rosé wine for extra chill.


Much like peas, berries are often frozen within hours of being picked so they retain their sweetness. Unlike peas, however, they often turn to mush when defrosted. That isn’t an issue if you’re making smoothies, jams, crumbles or coulis – anything that doesn’t rely on the texture of the berry can be made with frozen.

How to use Make a simple coulis by putting 300g frozen berries, 50g caster sugar and a splash of water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stir for 5 minutes (until the
berries break down), then whizz until smooth. Sieve to remove any seeds.



Unless you live by the coast or near a good fishmonger, frozen fish is generally the best choice. Fish such as cod and haddock are usually flash-frozen at sea, resulting in a fresher product once defrosted. A lot of ‘fresh’ fish in supermarkets is thawed once it arrives on land, so you end up with a small window to use it in. Shellfish (especially those not found in British waters) are best bought frozen too.

How to use Buy frozen cod, haddock and hake fillets to have on hand for all manner of dishes. Defrost in the fridge overnight or, if you’re short of time, put the fish in a resealable bag and submerge in cold water – it should take around 30 minutes to thaw.

Sliced bread

It’s another obvious one, but sliced bread is a lifesaver when you’re cobbling together a meal from things you need to use up. It won’t defrost back into its original state very well, but it makes good toast. And you can put almost anything on toast!

How to use For grilled cheese sandwiches, pan con tomate or any toast-based dish you can think up.

Need more inspiration? Take a look through our freezable recipes.

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