What do you do with egg whites when you make something that requires only the yolks? Most cooks store them in the refrigerator and forget about them. Instead of running the risk of throwing them away, put them into a plastic container and freeze them. Later you can use them to make more volume for a meringue, make an angel food cake, and other cooking projects.

When you use a recipe that needs only the whites, you can also freeze the yolks. The yolks tend to thicken as they get cold and don't blend very well with other foods when they are thawed. To keep that from happening, a half teaspoon of salt may be added if they are going to be used in savory dishes, or one and a half tablespoons of sugar if they are used in sweet recipes, for each cup of yolks. For a quarter cup of yolks (four yolks) use one eighth teaspoon salt or one and a half teaspoons of sugar or corn syrup. Then freeze in an ice cube tray. One cube equals two egg yolks. One tablespoon of thawed yolk equals one large fresh yolk. Thaw frozen egg yolks overnight in the refrigerator or under running cold water. Use yolks as soon as they're thawed.

If you want to have fancy pats of butter for a dinner party (or something special for a family dinner), you can do them ahead and put them in the freezer. Use an elegant decorator tip on a plastic bag that has slightly softened butter in it (a plastic bag makes clean up easier when you're finished). After freezing on a baking sheet they can be put into a bag in the freezer.

Your bananas are getting brown and you just don't have time to make banana bread. What to do? Mash them in amounts that you use for banana bread or any favorite recipe, and put into a plastic container in the freezer until you have time to bake. You can even peel the bananas and freeze them whole in plastic bags.

A block of cheddar cheese often gets mold on it before getting all used up, and then has to be thrown away. A good way to prevent this is to use what you need for a recipe, and then grate the rest and put it in the freezer. The trouble is, when you take it out to use it, the cheese is in a big clump. Here's a great solution. After grating the cheese, put it in a zip lock bag, leaving several inches at the top. Then sprinkle a small amount of cornstarch into the bag and shake it until all the cheese is coated. The exact amount doesn't matter because the cornstarch is tasteless and doesn't change anything. The next time you need grated cheese, measure out what you need and return the rest to the freezer. You'll never have a big glob of cheese again.

Chopping nuts is always a nuisance when you're in the middle of baking. When you have a little extra time in the kitchen, chop a bunch of nuts and put them in a tightly sealed jar in the freezer. It'll be great having them ready when you need them.

These are just a few ways that using a freezer will help you in the kitchen.

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