Wednesday, March 02, 2011

You Freeze THAT?!!!

March is Frozen Foods Month. So in honor of all frozen things, I thought I'd explain my freezer usage. You name it, I have tried to freeze it. With a great success rate also, I might add. My theory is if the big food companies can freeze it, I can also. Waffles, cookie dough, bread, applesauce. Veggies, milk, sour cream (but only for cooking, not glopping on tacos) and of course any meat, cooked, seasoned or raw. I have a Food Saver machine to shrink wrap the meat, but the bags are sooooo expensive for it, I have a hard time justifying the cost vs. double wrapping the meat in plain Saran Wrap. We eat the meat so fast, it usually doesn't get a chance to freezer burn.

Now some things are just easier to make than to take up space in my freezer. Pancakes for instance, I never freeze.

Most herbs you can dry, but some are not meant for drying. Dried chives for instance, turns into tasting like dried hay. But if you freeze them, bingo! they are great.

Did you know you can freeze eggs? Take a dozen eggs, whisk lightly, and pour into an ice cube tray. One large egg will fill an ordinary ice cube square. (This doesn't work when your hens insist laying jumbo sized eggs, like mine do) Use them for baking, although we have made scrambled eggs from these with moderate results.

The weirdest things I've successfully frozen?

  • Shredded slaw mix(used it in egg rolls)

  • Chocolate Easter Bunnies found on clearance and saved a WHOLE year for the next Easter(what's most amazing about this, is that Chocolate Boy didn't find them for a whole year.)

  • yogurt, especially plain, individually frozen in ice cube trays for "starters" for homemade yogurt

  • fishing grubs, oddly the fish don't seem to mind (believe me, the grubs in the freezer was NOT my idea, Fishing Boy likes to "try" new things.)

  • paintbrushes full of paint. I'll explain: When I have to stop painting in the middle of a job, I don't rinse the brush out, I just put the brush into a plastic grocery bag, press most of the air out, and then freeze. The next day (or week) when I am ready to paint, I take the bagged brush out, let thaw out, and I'm ready to paint. Also works with paint rollers. Saves tons of water/cleaner fluid. I have also heard that you can use the frig instead of the freezer, which makes sense.

Things that don't really work well frozen:

  • mayo

  • lettuce

  • canned goods, unless you partially open them first

  • forgotten cans of pop (soda) unless you crave cleaning out your freezer afterwards

Our freezer is an upright. I know chest freezers are supposed to be more energy efficient, but I feel that all the time I spend rummaging thru a chest freezer negates the efficiency, so I chose an upright that I can organize easier. In case of power outtage/freezer defrosting, I organize the freezer in this order:

  • top shelf: breads, frozen french fries

  • middle shelf: veggies

  • bottom shelf: meat store wrapped (rolls of hamburger, turkey burger, bologna)

  • bottom drawer: meat in saran wrap, freezer paper

  • door shelves: bagels, flax seed, boxes of rice, flour, graham cracker crumbs(mostly short term storage, just to kill off any bugs that might be packaged in the grains)

I say "in case of freezer defrosting" because if we do have a melt down, at least the meat juices won't leak onto anything and contaminate the bread or veggies, which could still be used if thawed out. This also helps me to be able to send the kids down to the freezer for something, if I try to keep the items in the same spot all the time.

Now, I'm off to enjoy the last frozen month before spring!

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Please be kind and don't shrink my jeans!