Freezer is a lifeline to reduce food waste

In Canada, the average household wastes about 275 kilograms of food each year. Much of this waste is unnecessary. A better understanding of how to freeze foods safely could significantly help us to reduce our staggering amounts of discarded food.

Inaccurate portion sizes, confusion about safe consumption and sell-by dates, and the low cost to households of over-purchasing and wasting food are among factors blamed for our wasteful behaviour.

Our freezers can be a lifeline to rescue food and drink from being discarded.

Research published by the Food and Standards Agency in the UK identified a number of “myths” that prevent people from using their freezers to reduce food waste. Results of study showed that 43% of those interviewed think that food should only be frozen on the day of purchase to be safe; 38% incorrectly said it is dangerous to refreeze meat after it has been cooked; and 36% wrongly believe that food can become unsafe to eat while in the freezer. Their research also found that 90% of people said there are foods they would never freeze. Almost a quarter (23%) of those surveyed would never freeze meat that was cooked after defrosting, with 73% of these people said they had concerns about food poisoning.

Learning about using our freezers as an effective tool for reducing waste and preserving food will definitely expand the Zero Waste solutions we can enact at home.

The freezer is like a “time-out” for foods that may be discarded because the “use by” or “ best before dates” are approaching. Once the food if frozen it will not spoil, and then when you want to use it defrost in the fridge and use within 24 hours. It is a pretty simple lifeline to rescue food.

We can save all kinds of food in the freezer.

bowl of blueberries

Here are some of the foods that can be frozen

Eggs: eggs can be frozen but not in shell

Potatoes: cooked potatoes work best for freezing ; you can boil for 5 minutes and freeze for later. You can also freeze left-over mashed potatoes and other cooked potato dishes.

Milk: remember that as a liquid milk expands when frozen  so it is important to make sure there is space in container for milk to expand. Shake well when thawed.

Cheese: all cheeses can be frozen, but do keep in mind that freezing can affect their texture and character. This is why thawed cheeses are best used for cooking. You can freeze cheeses, in pieces of 500 g or less, for up to two months. Make sure they are carefully wrapped in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight freezer bag. As with all types of cheeses, it is important to cool before freezing, and to allow the cheese to thaw slowly in the refrigerator, which allows it to regain the humidity lost while frozen.

Bread: wrap bread snugly to reduce air space.

Flour: freezing your whole grain flours greatly slows down how quickly these flours spoil, and protects them from pest infestation.

Spices: freeze fresh herbs

Left-over meat: leftover cooked beef, pork, or chicken can be frozen. Freezing can add up to three months to the safe storage life of most types of meat.

Rice: cooked rice is better frozen than stored in fridge.


Before tossing food consider throwing it a lifeline by freezing and rescuing for use.

jar of pumkin soup with 4 pumpkin seeds added as garnish