In a university kitchen, you usually get a couple of cupboards, a drawer (if you’re lucky) and a shelf in the fridge and freezer. The latter is sometimes the least used space, even though it can be so useful!
Here’s a little guide on how to utilise your freezer and what things you should definitely keep in your designated drawer!
1. Frozen Veg
Yes, that might sound boring but everyone, student or not, should keep frozen vegetables in their freezer. They are a cost-effective, waste-reducing product that you can add to dishes or serve alongside a meal. They are cheaper, as you aren’t wasting your money buying a lot of fresh food and then literally throwing your money away when you don’t eat it all because it has gone off. This food waste also impacts the environment, with a lot of it ending up in landfill.
Recommendations for frozen veg include chopped onions, if you don’t want to spend ages chopping and crying; frozen spinach, a great way to bulk up dishes, whilst adding plenty of nutrients and flavour; frozen peas, a classic served with chips and a main of your choice; frozen herbs, not strictly a vegetable but so useful to add a splash of flavour to any dish!
2. Extra Portions of your bulk cook
It is very common for students to batch cook foods like curries, spag bol or a casserole, then proceed to eat the same meal for the next week. This doesn’t have to be the case!
After you’ve cooked your dish, portion it out into plastic food bags or tupperware and label them with the name of the dish and when you made it. Let these cool completely before putting into the freezer! This way you won’t defrost any other food around it and it refreeze or raise the temperature of the freezer, which could both ruin the food or cause food poisoning!
3. Nuggets and Chips
Sometimes, an easy meal is exactly what you need after a long day at uni or a late night out. This easy meal usually takes the form of a type of nugget (chicken, veggie or vegan) and chips. Yes, we all know this isn’t the best meal for us health-wise but sometimes this meal hits the spot perfectly!
This is the kind of meal that only requires an oven tray, around 20 minutes in a 200oC oven, and no forethought. So, make sure you keep a bag with your chosen quick meal and side in your freezer drawer!
4. ‘Emergency’ Ready Meal
Similar to the aforementioned easy, oven-ready meal, having an ‘emergency’ ready meal in your freezer means you can have a meal on your plate in around 5 minutes. Even simpler!
This ‘emergency’ ready meal is useful for when you’re having one of those manic, rush around days and you don’t have time to cook. A quick meal out the freezer and straight in the microwave is ideal.
Make sure to stir the food during the cooking time to make sure it’s hot all the way through!
5. A Frozen Treat
Sometimes, you need and deserve a treat! This could be something you can eat straight from frozen, like ice-cream, or perhaps something you can cook from frozen, like a hot pudding!
This is also a great way to save money by preventing you from ordering sweet treats to your accommodation. Plus, you can have it at whatever time of day or night and not have to rely on delivery services.
So, here’s a variety tips and tricks to make the most of the freezer space you’ll get at uni and to make sure you always have food ready and waiting for whatever situation!
In collaboration with Social Impact Lab Southampton