For the health of you and others, it is recommended we avoid public places. One way to reduce your trips to the grocery store is to invest in a freezer. Not only can a freezer reduce trips to the store, but it can also help you save on groceries, save you time, and it is an investment that usually gets you your return within one year or less.
Food will last a lot longer in a freezer than in a fridge. How many times have you seen a good deal on items at the store, but you think there is not enough room in your fridge or that you would never eat all of it up in time?
Freezers allow you to buy in bulk without fear that food will go bad. Its also a great way to preserve fresh vegetables, fish, and fruit. Since many crops are seasonal, you can store produce and have it available on your table year-round. You will also save money since the price of these same items in the supermarkets, when they are out of season, are usually higher.
The best method to freeze vegetables is to blanch them. That means dunking them quickly in boiling water and then drying them off. Pack them tightly into airtight bags. Most items should last up to 18 months in your freezer. When it comes to fruit, you can either freeze them whole or in their syrup. Most fruit will last up to a year in a freezer. If you love the taste of fresh tomato sauce on your pasta, you can store tomato sauce in the freezer too.
Buying in bulk is a great way to reduce your grocery bill. Generally, the more you buy, the less the cost is per item. Unfortunately, if you are a single person or a small family, buying in bulk can mean you end up throwing out unused items because you cannot use them up before they go bad. There are many products that you can purchase in bulk that will save you money. Meat, which is one of the most expensive items in your cart, is lower in cost when purchased in bulk. Meats will keep for about a month or more in the freezer. Larger cuts, including roasts, whole chickens, and turkeys or steaks, can keep up to a year.
Other pricey items are nuts. If left on the shelf, they usually last for a few months. In the freezer, they can last for up to two years. Grains and whole-grain flour will last roughly double their shelf life in the freezer, and they will be protected from mealworms.
I am a fan of freezing bread. If you are like me, there are so many varieties that I love. There is no way I would be able to have my choice without a freezer. A freezer allows me to keep all types of bread handy, and I defrost whichever one I crave.
Soft and hard cheeses will keep up to six months. If you purchase your coffee in bulk, another higher-priced item, it is best to store it in airtight packages that are portion-sized.
Since many folks here in the Bay of Banderas don’t own cars, having a freezer can save you money on a cab, Uber, or bus trip to the store.
With a freezer, you are more likely to stay home to eat than head out to a restaurant. If you are not sure what to make for dinner or you do not have the right ingredients on hand, it is easier to head to a restaurant. Although we should treat ourselves to eating out, it can get expensive if done too often. According to research, home-cooked meals average around MXN 100 per meal. Restaurant meals can cost anywhere from MXN 140 for fast food to MXN 1000 for fine dining. Some options for heat and eat meals are chili and lasagna. When you substitute a freezer meal for a restaurant meal once a week, you could save more than MXN 15,000 in one year.
When looking at purchasing a freezer, there are three things to consider. Check out next week’s column, where we will cover how to buy the right appliance.
Ready to purchase? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.