After a long and uncertain Summer, schools are settling back in and it’s time to start getting back to some kind of routine. Whatever the new normal might bring, some things remain the same, and by lunchtime kids will be looking forward to lunch! If your mornings rush by in a frantic blur, it might be best to get ahead and freeze sandwiches for the week.
On a recent visit to ITV’s This Morning, I joined Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes in the studio kitchen to share some of my top tips for prepping ahead.
More ideas and helpful packed lunch tips can be found on my This Morning item which you can view here:
I’ve been freezing sandwiches for many years, picking up lots of dos and ‘definitely don’ts’ along the way. As with all my recipes, tips and ‘how tos’ up to date testing is crucial, to avoid soggy sarnies or deep freeze disasters. So, ahead of my trip to London, we put a number of packed lunch favourites through their paces in the Test Kitchen.
My team and I tried a variety different breads, baguettes and wraps. We loaded them up with various fillings and froze them for a few days before looking at the results.
We explored the best ways to wrap the sandwiches (both pre and post freezing) and a number of methods of defrosting before sitting down to the taste test.
One of the most satisfying was leftover roast chicken which was seasoned with a spice mix and accompanied with a small amount of mayonnaise. The seasoning added an extra dimension to the flavour of the chicken whilst the mayonnaise kept it moist and bound it together. A great way to use up roast turkey this Christmas too!
Ham and cheese, egg mayo, salmon and cream cheese and tuna mayo all froze and defrosted with excellent results.
That’s not to say you can’t freeze other fillings such as jams, chocolate spread and peanut butter (be sure to check if your child’s school allows it). It’s always best to experiment first before you freeze a big batch as some fillings and brands work better than others.
My secret is to take them out of the foil and re-wrap the sandwiches in kitchen paper before popping them into your lunchbox. Keep cool with a suitable ice pack and by lunchtime they’ll be thawed and ready to eat. And, honestly, they freeze far better than you might imagine – especially if you follow a few golden rules.
• Choose good quality bread.
• Don’t freeze salad ingredients, serve them alongside instead.
• Keep mayonnaise and dressings to a minimum (it’s healthier too).
• A thin spread of butter creates a barrier that stops sandwiches from going soggy.
• Wrap snuggly in foil before freezing and label with a permanent marker.
• When you take them out of the freezer, remove the foil and re-wrap in kitchen paper to absorb any moisture whilst thawing.
My book Freeze also has lots more information on freezing sandwiches as well as 120 delicious recipes and everything you need to know to make life just that bit easier.