Freezer? I Barely Know Her.

The Tribune is keeping tabs on how long Chicagoans have been suffering through sub-zero temperatures and "Continued Bitterly Cold" is the forecast for the foreseeable future. I am wearing enough items of clothing to guarantee a win in any mean game of strip poker, though I wish I had a pair of these gloves. The inside of my freezer is actually warmer than it is outside, so I figure now is as good a time as any to discuss frozen food tips.

In college, the only things in my freezer were vodka and 99 cent "pizzas". I'm trying harder to use all the parts of the food I buy, save leftovers, and plan for inevitable evenings when I lack time for cooking proper meals.

What's in my freezer now?
1 gallon bag of blueberries
1 bag edamame
2 bunches overripe bananas
1 bag white wine cubes
1 bottle stoli orange
1 box veggie burgers
1 bag frozen mangoes
1 bag frozen pineapple
1 gallon bag celery stalks/leaves, carrot ends
1 bag leftover ham bones
some whole wheat flour

What's in my ideal freezer?
2 containers each chicken stock, veal stock, veggie stock
1 bag red wine cubes
1 bag white wine cubes
half a lamb
2 containers pesto
2 containers tomato sauce
endless supply of Ben and Jerry's Americone Dream
1 bottle Hendrick's Gin
1 bottle Hangar One Mandarin Blossom Vodka

Some freezer tips:

-Make cubes of leftover liquids to use in future sauces and gravy. I like to do this with wine, small quantities of stock, and fruit juice. Remember to wash the ice cube tray well between uses and label your baggies so you can identify your cubes.
-Keep your fridge away from heat sources to maintain consistent temperatures(not like my dumbass landlords who put it right next to the oven).
-Freeze fruits and vegetables individually first and then combine them in a bag and remove as much air as possible.
-Put the ends of your loaves of bread and crusts (especially helpful if you have a picky child) in a freezer bag to make into homemade bread crumbs or croutons when you've amassed enough.
-Poultry carcasses and bones freeze well for making future stocks.
-Once bananas are overripe, freeze them whole in their peels. These defrost quickly and will always be available when you have a hankering for banana bread.
-Freeze items when they are in season and on sale. Butter the week of Christmas and Thanksgiving is always less expensive - I found some butter for 60% off during the holidays.
-Remember that liquid will expand when it freezes, so when packing stocks, soups and sauces: leave some room at the top so the lids of your containers stay tight.

Happy thawing!

No comments: