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The Unexpected Place My Mom Kept the Milk

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Grocery shopping with my mom always felt like a game. First, there was the hunt for a perfect parking spot. Next, the best cart. Then, as we weaved through the aisles, we’d keep our eyes peeled for the best bargains, a chance to outsmart the store and stock our pantry.

My mom wasn’t a couponer—this was before Extreme Couponing tranced the nation—but she hated the idea of wasting money. Each quarter, she kept an eye out for the sales grocers rotated from item to item, loading up the cart when she saw a discount.

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Some items lent themselves to storage: paper towels, canned goods, cereals, ice cream. But others, like fresh vegetables, eggs, and milk, required some creativity.

My mom first heard about storing milk in the freezer from her sister. My aunt has nine children and they drank gallons like they were fish. To save herself several grocery runs a week, my aunt froze her stockpile.

Yep, milk is freezer-friendly! When frozen, it’ll keep from 3 to 6 months (any longer and it’ll start to absorb the other flavors in your freezer). And thawed milk is just as safe and nutritious to drink as fresh milk. It can separate while chilling, so just stir or shake it after thawing in the refrigerator.

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Another thing to keep in mind: Like most liquids, milk expands when frozen. To prevent bursting, make sure you have enough headspace in your container, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches.

While our family of four didn’t fly through milk like my aunt's, my mom thought freezing the gallons she got on sale was a smart idea to game the grocery store. Mom: 1. Supermarket: 0.

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What's a staple ingredient you freeze? Beans? Bread? Let us know in the comments below!

Tags: Freeze, On the Cheap