I love this time of year, the leaves on the trees are just magnificent, even if they're falling rapidly, and the colours of Autumn inspire me to cook hearty recipes that I can make in bulk (batches) and freeze for when I don't have time, or the inclination to cook them fresh (yes I'm human and sometimes I just don't want to cook).

Stews, casseroles and curries come to mind as do thick hearty soups and sauces that can be added to pasta, rice or couscous for a quick meal.

Not everything freezes well though so here's a few things to think about when you're considering batch cooking …

  • Don't freeze whole curries, that is, the sauce and the meat or vegetables. Instead, make the sauce (which takes the time to prepare) in a slow cooker or pressure cooker, and freeze that in batches, then when you're serving the curry, cook the meat and vegetables fresh and add the sauce towards the end of the cooking time. It will also take up less space in your freezer.
  • Don't freeze thin soups like broths and consommés, unless you only freeze the stock and add the other ingredients fresh. They tend to thaw out watery and lose their flavour.
  • Lean meats will dry out when thawed, so when making dishes that sue lean meats such as chicken, and fish particularly, make sure the pieces are large or add them fresh to the sauces when reheating.
  • The best recipes for freezing at those that have been cooked for long periods of time either in slow cookers or pressure cookers and that incorporate ingredients that hold their shape.
  • Don't be afraid to freeze foods in zip lock bags. They seal well and when flattened out, take up much less space in the freezer.
  • Make sure you check out my freezing hints and tips as well before freezing your batch recipes.

And, if you're inclined to do so, invite a few friends around to help you cook, promising them some samples to take home for their freezers. It's a fun way to spend some time together and rewarding as well. Until next time, Happy Cooking!