My family and I live in a small town. We are fortunate to have a small grocery store as well as a few gas station convenience stores just a few block from our house. However, I do the majority of our grocery shopping in the bigger city about twenty minutes away. I prefer to do a big shopping trip only every other month, so I always buy in bulk the foods and supplies that I can. I have discovered that I can freeze to dairy products with great success: milk and butter. When I find either on sale, I buy a bunch at super low prices to freeze to use later.
Two groceries that we use frequently in my house are milk and butter. To avoid the hormones and antibiotics in conventional milk, my husband and I try to stick to organic milk. Unfortunately, our little local grocery store carries a limited quantity of organic milk in smaller sizes at increased prices. When my husband or I head into the city, we usually grab at least two gallons of our favorite organic milk. We then put one gallon in the fridge and the other in the freezer. If organic milk is on sale for a great price, we will even buy three or four gallons and freeze the extra.
Freezing milk is a great way to save money. When milk is on sale, you can buy in bulk without having to worry about the milk going bad. Milk must be frozen before the “Best Before” date on the package. Freezing milk will not stop spoilage. I always buy the plastic milk jugs with the intents on the sides. The indents allow for expansion of the milk during freezing. If you buy a different type of milk carton, you will need to pour out a little of the milk to prevent the container from exploding as the frozen milk expands.
According to my research, milk freezes for up to three months. (Although, because my breast milk freezes for up to a year in a deep freezer with a constant temperature, I have a feeling that cow’s milk can freeze for longer than three months as well.) To thaw frozen milk, simply place the frozen liquid in the refrigerator. Frozen milk does take a few days to thaw, so plan accordingly. You may notice that your milk is more yellowish in color once frozen. By the time the milk is completely thawed, the color returns to white. The change in color is due to the fats separating during freezing. Finally, although some people report that frozen milk changes slightly in taste, neither my husband nor I have noticed any difference.
In addition to milk, I also buy butter in bulk to freeze. I started freezing butter two Thanksgivings ago when I found an awesome sale at Kroger that was too good to pass up. I bought ten packages of four sticks of butter for super cheap. I then froze all of the butter in my deep freezer. Over the next year, I took out the frozen butter to thaw as needed. This past Thanksgiving, I did the same thing with another batch of butter. Basically, for my cooking needs, ten packages of butter lasts me an entire year. If you find butter on sale and have room in your deep freezer, I highly suggest buying a year’s worth at one time. I did not notice any difference in taste or texture after an entire year.
What other groceries do you freeze to save money?
Organic Milk in the Refrigerator © 2013 Heather Johnson
Thawed Frozen Butter in the Refrigerator © 2013 Heather Johnson