You probably never thought to freeze avocados or a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. But these chefs say you should. Here’s why.
Cool Ranch Doritos
“Fishing in South Texas as a kid, I would keep my Doritos in the ice chest. Ice cold Doritos are a game-changer. They stay crunchier, and that cold texture is just amazing.” — PJ Calapa, owner and chef of Spaniard, Scampi, and Paloma
“Cut pieces of butter into small-sized pieces and place them into a freezer bag. Grab the specific amount you need and save the rest for later.” — Judy Joo, chef, restaurateur, and television personality
“I find that non-creaming technique cake and muffin batters freeze well raw. Before baking, just be sure to agitate by stirring well to re-activate the gluten. Just don’t try to freeze anything leavened with egg whites as the whites will deflate during freezing so the cake won’t rise.” — Tiffany MacIsaac, chef, and owner of Buttercream Bakeshop
Pesto and chimichurri
“They’re great for finishing a homemade sauce or soup. Make a large batch of hearty pesto or chimichurri and pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. Pop the frozen portions into a zipper bag and freeze up to eight to 10 months.” — Rusty Bowers, owner of whole animal butcher shop Pine Street Market and Chop Shop
“It always completes a weeknight meal. All you have to do is pop a few in the oven while cooking dinner. They come back to life perfectly.” —Donatella Arpaia, chef, restaurateur, and television personality
“I always have udon noodles in my freezer. You can find them prepackaged in the freezer section of most Asian markets. They are ready to make, and you can add stock along with your favorite ingredients, like leftover meats, chives, scallions, and soy sauce.” — Danny Ganem, executive chef of the Betsy Hotel South Beach.
“I like to keep a pound cake in the freezer. That way, you will always have dessert on hand if you need it.” — Ed McFarland of Ed’s Lobster Bar.
“Freezing sliced avocados is a great way to way to store for later use … either as a base in a soup or in a smoothie.” — Drew Adams, executive chef of Bourbon Steak at Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C.
“When making gazpacho, I always freeze the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and red onion before it all goes into the blender. Freezing vegetables causes a similar reaction to hot water blanching. The ice crystals destroy the cell walls, removing gases and breaking down the vegetable. It’s a great way to get more flavor out of your vegetables, even at the height of the season. These are then allowed to thaw, and the thawed liquid is used to soak up the bread required by the recipe.” — Ian Rynecki, executive chef of Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards.
Lime leaves and all nuts and seeds
“I buy them from the Asian market and throw them in a zip lock bag to have on hand. I like to add them to my daughter Sunny’s favorite Thai curries. I also keep all of my nuts and seeds in the freezer as this prevents the oils from turning rancid and developing an undesirable flavor.”— Janine Booth, chef, restaurateur, and television personality.
Rice, cornmeal, and grits
“I always keep bags of fresh rice and fresh cornmeal or grits in the freezer. I make sure to buy a little extra at my local farmers’ market at the end of the summer — you never know when you’ll need starch to round out a meal and the fresh rice or fresh corn grits are an entirely different palate experience as compared to the old, dry varieties at the store.” — Jacob Sessoms, executive chef and co-owner of Cultura.
Frozen flavor bombs
“I am a big fan of ice cube trays to store frozen flavor bombs. For example, I will make reduced chicken stock and fill my ice cube tray. I’ll pop the ice cubes out and store them in an airtight bag until I need them. I use these convenient flavor bombs for enriching pasta dishes or pan sauces.” — Amy Mehrtens, chef de cuisine of Copper Vine.