Sunday, April 15, 2012

How to Save Money and Food: By Freezing Butter and Cream Cheese



This happens to me a lot. I see a super great deal at the grocery store and I want to stock up on it so I buy a bunch. However I don't always use everything that I buy before it goes bad. So what do you do? Do you buy less when it is on sale and have to pay more for the same thing later? The answer for many foods is No! Many foods can be frozen for up to several months if you just know what you are doing. And if you don't know what you are doing a simple "Can you freeze ______ (insert chosen food here)" Google search will tell you exactly whether that item is freezable, how to freeze it, what to do with it when it comes out, how long it can be frozen and much more. You do have to do a little combing sometimes because there are sometimes differing opinions on things, but if you just look a little you should be able to find the information you are looking for. If you are thinking of freezing something chances are that someone else has tried freezing it. And in our very verbal share everything culture (not knocking it, obviously I am a part of it to :) chances are someone else has shared their experiences with it online. Below are my experiences with freezing two baking staples: butter and cream cheese.

Butter

I personally love to stock up at Christmas time because it seems most stores run really good sales for baking supplies around Christmas trying to draw in all those Christmas cookie bakers. This past year I stocked up like I normally do but because I was a little bit down and out (My little guy was born the week before Thanksgiving) I didn't get to making all the cookies that I usually make. So I had a ton of butter just sitting in my fridge. Now butter does actually last a really long time in the fridge, I have used it after several months in there and it was fine. But that just wasn't good enough for me. I had so much that I might not even use it all this year, so I wanted to freeze it. I did a quick Google search and turns out that butter is one of the easiest things ever to freeze. Just stick it in the freezer. It is that simple. The site did recommend wrapping butter in aluminum foil so it won't absorb the flavors of the other things in the freezer. I haven't done this and I haven't had any problems yet, but if you are worried about it or store a lot of foods with strong flavors then that would be a good idea for you.



Cream Cheese

Another thing that I stocked up on and had way too much of to use before it went bad was Cream Cheese. I love cream cheese in baked goods. Cheesecake, Cream Cheese Biscuits, Cream Cheese frosting, Cream Cheese fruit dip. Cream Cheese is yummy! Cream Cheese also freezes well. From my research I did discover that frozen cream cheese does change consistency a little bit so it needs some work to get back to smooth for spreading (you can microwave it and stir until smooth). This is not a problem for me because I don't care for cream cheese plain, I always mix it with something, but if you like to use cream cheese on toast or bagels or anything like that then you may want to try freezing 1 block and thawing it too see if the consistency is ok for you before you do several. I also read that full fat cream cheese tends to fare better after frozen than lower fat types. I like to bake with half real cream cheese and half Neufchatel (33% less fat) cream cheese, so I had stocked up on both. For the cream cheese, I took each package out of its box (to save room in the freezer) and labeled each Real or Fake with a permanent marker (because the packages look identical when out of the box), and then put four of them together in a quart size freezer bag and put them in the freezer like this. I have used these frozen cream cheeses (after thawing them) in cheese cake and cream cheese biscuits and they came out great! No problems! I haven't tried cream cheese frosting or fruit dip with them yet, but I am sure they would be fine for that too.


Sources:
http://frugalliving.about.com/od/freezingfoods/f/Freeze_Butter.htm
http://www.stockpilingmoms.com/2011/02/can-you-freeze-cream-cheese/




Linked Up To:
Frugal Girls, A Pinch of Joy, Cornerstone Confessions,



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