Seven in ten Brits have started batch cooking or the first time during UK lockdown, according to a survey of 2,000 people by Hammonds Kitchens.

People are now cooking a large meal from scratch, freezing it and reheating it later to ensure there is enough food in the freezer, to at more healthily and to save time.

But experts have warned of the hidden dangers if you don't know how to freeze properly - or what can and can't be put in a freezer.

Almost one in four admit they have ended up throwing away more food than if they cooked each mealtime.

Food health and safety expert, Kirstie Jones, from food safety and technology consultancy Navitas, said: “Home freezing is very popular these days as it saves time and money.

"In simple terms, freezing suspends the shelf life of food. Care needs to be taken to ensure what happens to the food before, during and after freezing is safe, to avoid any food safety hazards, such as survival of bacteria or cross-contamination, that might make you ill.”

More than a third of people believe cooked rice is completely safe to cool and reheat, but according to Kirstie this is a high-risk food:

“Rice is classified as high risk due to a certain type of bacteria called ‘Bacillus Cereus’ which produces a toxin that, if present, cannot be killed through cooking.

"There are links to cases of food poisoning where these foods have been handled incorrectly, particularly when cooling. Due to the high-risk nature of rice, whilst freezing is possible, we would recommend that this is avoided – ‘cook and consume’ is the message with rice because we want it to go through the least number of handling steps as possible to keep it safe.”

Eight in ten (84%) also believed it was unsafe to freeze yoghurt, 91% believed you could not freeze lettuce, 72% believed it was unsafe to freeze fresh herbs and 60% thought cheese was unsafe to freeze. All these foods can be frozen in a safe way and stored in the fridge for months.

Kirstie said: “On the whole, dairy products and salad items can be frozen safely but, as with salad and vegetables, the water content may be high so the defrosting process may affect the quality – large ice crystals can form inside the products in the freezer.

“Take care with freezing cartons of liquid such as milk too, as they may expand and split causing a big clean-up job!

“Fresh herbs can be frozen can be added from frozen during cooking without any cause for concern.”

Catherine Taylor, 28, Sales Executive from Manchester started batch cooking when the lockdown began on the 23 March. She said: "Batch cooking was something I’d always considered giving a go, but never really got round to it – I loved my convenience food!

“Since lockdown happened, I’ve had more time on my hands as I was furloughed by my work. This, combined with a little bit of worry when the supermarkets seemed to be running out of food, made me start batch cooking.

“It was a bit of trial by error first – many of my first meals were quite bland and it was boring eating them three or four times in a row. I’ve gotten it down to an art now though – batch cooking curry’s, stews, and pasta dishes at the same time so I can have a bit of variety! It’s helped me to be a little healthier as well - I would recommend it to everyone. It’s one good thing that’s come out of lockdown for me.”

Kirsty Oakes, Head of Displays and Marketing at Hammonds Kitchens, said: “It’s great to see so many people using their kitchens at this time. When done right, batch cooking helps us save time, eat healthier, and cut food shopping costs.

“If you would like to limit the number of times you go to the shops, or you’re a little worried about what’s available, it can be a great way to prep your favourite meals from fresh food, which will then last longer when frozen.

“Although it takes a bit of preparation, if you make sure you know ways to safely prepare, cook, freeze and reheat food, you’ll find that batch cooking becomes a relaxing, fun, and helpful process!”