Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

The do’s and don’ts of successful batch cooking and freezing

Prepped meals.

The ins and outs of batch cooking and freezing remain a mystery to some.

What are the best dishes to create in bulk? Which foods should I avoid freezing? Are there more cons than pros to cooking and freezing in bulk?

The questions are endless. But Lisa Kelbie, owner of Aberdeen’s Bistro Verde, has the answers.

Explaining that she has always enjoyed going to the gym, healthy eating and studying nutrition, Lisa launched her own food delivery service, known as Prep My Diet, in March 2019.

The business offers clients diet plans, nutritional advice and support, as well as calorie counted meals delivered straight to their door.

These meals include chipotle chicken skewers with vegetable cous cous and mini corns, Jamaican chicken curry with rice and greens, sweet chilli beef with teriyaki noodles and garlic broccoli, herby chicken with baby potatoes and greens, and more.

Given her in-depth expertise on the topic, Lisa has shared her top tips on all you need to know about batch cooking and freezing.


Bulk freezing

Lisa says that while most foods can be frozen, she recommends bread, fruit, stews and soups above all.

On the other hand, noodles, vegetables, rice or fried foods should be avoided.

Lisa Kelbie.

“Food with a lot of water or fried foods tend to go a little mushy when defrosted,” she added.

“If you don’t freeze, defrost and reheat any food correctly then you are at risk of harmful bacteria being present in the food.

“As a general rule, you would never freeze and reheat high risk foods such as shellfish or certain dairy products. Again, and in very simplistic terms, this is due to harmful bacteria being able to multiply very quickly in certain foods.

“However bread, fruit, stews and soups all defrost well and by freezing fruit and bread you save waste if you aren’t going to use it before it spoils.

Chicken curry, one of the prepared meals by Prep My Diet.

The do’s and don’ts

According to Lisa, a benefit of bulk freezing includes having a supply of homecooked meals while the main challenge is storage.

She also said a common misconception among people is that it can prove difficult to remember when to defrost meals, however, that the routine is quick and easy to build.

When it comes to bulk freezing:

Do:

  • Label and date containers
  • Use good quality airtight containers/bags
  • Get as much air out of bags as possible
  • Store neatly
  • Seal containers properly

Don’t:

  • Refreeze food once it has been defrosted
  • Forget what you have made – this is where good labelling comes into play
  • Freeze hot food
  • Forget to rotate food – make sure you are rotating new dishes with ones you have made in previous weeks

Batch cooking

Batch cooking is a great way to cut down time in the kitchen and means you can always have homemade meals to hand, providing you have given yourself the time to cook the dishes in the first place.

It is convenient and suits those who lead a busy life.

And batch cooking doesn’t just mean you have to individually store dishes as they can be stored in bulk which is especially useful for those with big families, too.

Not only that, Lisa says it is ideal for when you aren’t in the mood for cooking or are pushed for time as you can just grab something quickly.

She admits that it can also save you money as you aren’t spending it on takeaways or grabbing unhealthy convenience foods as much, and it helps cut down food waste, too.

A selection of Prep My Diet meals, which are made at Bistro Verde in Aberdeen.

It can also support the local economy if you shop locally.

Like bulk freezing, storage can be an issue. But Lisa adds that the benefits outweigh the negatives.

“People think that it’s hard work, confusing and very time-consuming, but it isn’t.

“Above all, curries, chilli, stews and soups are all ideal for bulk cooking.”

The do’s and don’ts

When it comes to bulk cooking:

Do:

  • Measure ingredients correctly
  • Weigh after cooking to ensure correct portion size
  • Consider the temperature – if you are reheating dishes and want to add toppings like cheese and cream etc. then be sure to not add them into the dish while batch cooking
  • If cooking rice for two, separate the dishes and cook it all together
  • Have patience

Don’t:

  • Get too ambitious too fast – best try the recipe first before attempting a large batch
  • Don’t forget to properly adjust weights and times
  • Be sure to cook an amount that you can store
  • Don’t batch cook food until you are sure you enjoy that particular dish

For more like this…

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]
Tags

More from The Courier Food & Drink team

More from The Courier