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10 freezing tips to simplify your christmas preparations

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Some holiday favourites—like meat pies, meatballs and shortbread—are obvious choices for preparing in advance and popping in the freezer. But what else can you freeze? Here are ten easy tips to make your holiday preparations that much easier.

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1Prepare your pie crusts.

Pie shells are a breeze to freeze in their ready-to-use format. Just prepare the dough and roll it out into two circles measuring 15 centimetres across, then cover them in plastic wrap before freezing. All you’ll have left to do is add the filling and press the pieces together!

2Serve fresh-baked cookies.

Want to offer your guests some sweet cookies right out of the oven without having to prepare them the same day? Just mix the dough in advance and cut or press the cookies into the desired shape. Freeze the cookies individually on a baking sheet and, once frozen, store them in a freezer bag. On the day of your get-together, put them straight in the oven and bake for a minute or two longer than usual.

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3Pile up the meat pies.

Pre-cooked or not, meat pies freeze really well. If you’ve already cooked them, make sure they are fully cooled, then place in the freezer for an hour before covering them in a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil. On dinner-party day, heat them slowly in the oven. The procedure for uncooked meat pies is the same, except that you need to partially defrost them prior to baking. Add an extra 15 or 20 minutes to the initial cooking time.

4Stock up on fresh garlic and ginger.

Freeze your unpeeled garlic and ginger and they’ll stay fresh longer. You can even peel and chop them when they’re still frozen. That’s a handy time-saver!

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5Save your leftover tomato paste.

All too often, extra tomato paste ends up in the garbage. Never again! Freeze it in a small plastic container, ice cube tray or even in plastic wrap so that the paste can be sliced into portions to suit your needs.

6Make a spread that’s both healthy and tasty.

Get the benefits of olive oil by filling a small dish with some of the oil and placing it in the freezer. Just like that, you’ll have a delicious olive butter to spread on toast. Perfect for appetizers!

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7Keep fresh herbs on hand.

Parsley, basil and mint. Freeze your leafy green herbs so that you’ll always have some on hand during the holidays. Simply remove any moisture by letting them air-dry, then freeze in a plastic bag or aluminum foil. Another option is to chop them up, place in an ice cube tray and cover in oil before freezing. Practical and delicious!

8Freeze your pureed vegetables.

Planning on serving mashed root vegetables as a side dish? Prepare them in advance, allow to cool completely, then freeze in a freezer bag. On party day, just let them defrost a few hours before dinner, then reheat on the stovetop.

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9Save your cheese.

Firm and semi-firm cheeses keep really well in the freezer. This means you can keep an eye on sales and stock up before the holidays. Similarly, if you have some left over from a dinner party, just pop it in the freezer!

10Prepare for the unexpected.

Are your guests suddenly going to spend the night? No problem—especially if you have some scrumptious crepes or pancakes stashed in the freezer. The best way to freeze them is to let them cool and then stack them. Make sure you place a piece of wax paper between each one. Then just reheat and enjoy!