Food: Fresh is best but Freezing is fine

Good garnish...who uses plain ice cubes any more?
Who uses plain ice cubes any more?
YES, you CAN!
YES, you CAN!

Except when your freezer goes on the fritz and unfreezes everything which is what just happened to me. (I haven’t experienced a meltdown in a looong time). Not the one in my house but the extra one we keep in the garage, which is used for overflow and is usually chock full of vodka, meats and frozen fruit.  What to do with all that food? I don’t like to waste good food so last night I went to work and baked lots of ribs and chicken. Tonight it’s fish tacos.  There will also be crockpot stew and leftover ribs & chicken. Everyone’s invited!  The dogs get to have more variety than usual and hopefully none of us will pack on extra pounds on account of a few weeks days of over eating.  You know; waste not to waist got. How many of you have experienced this most annoying circumstance?  At least it was detected in time so that nothing spoiled.

I don’t know about you but in general my freezer is always more full in the winter months.

We tend to use more frozen goods in the winter and thaw them as needed for convenience.  Notice how even the quality seafood stores that we rely on to buy fresh fish in the summer now sell previously frozen fish? Things like wild salmon, halibut and sablefish.  If they’re out of season,  they are sold from having been frozen.  It doesn’t sound as inviting but if cooked properly the taste should remain.

Gosh...what a Good Garnish!
Gosh…what a Good Garnish!

I’ve also learned what to freeze, what not to.  Most of us are used to freezing meat, sauces, etc. but you might be surprised at some of the things that freeze well that you never thought to stick in the freezer before.  Things like butter (I buy in bulk when on sale & freeze it for making desserts mostly), milk (including almond milk), yogurt, guacamole, salsa (although it tends to come out more watery – but if you buy the family size say from Costco you can divvy it up and freeze it – take out what you think you’ll use as required), barbeque sauce, cheese (great for cooking purposes, adding to scrambles or sauces & a little gorgonzola is great for steak or pasta), lemons, limes (freeze the zest separately in another container).  Once the lemons/limes are at room temperature they will be softer but the juice will be as good and you’ll find them even easier to juice.  You can also freeze them in ice cube trays.  You can freeze wine too.  It won’t retain it’s original quality but will be great for cooking purposes.  That’s if you have any left over of course. FYI: a frozen grape at the bottom of a wine glass is a pleasant surprise – green for white, red for red.

I also freeze some spices and of course fruit for smoothies, crumbles and pies.   You can also freeze the whole pie.  I recently bought a large pumpkin pie, cut it into individual serving slices and froze them – they thaw out perfectly and good for when you just want a piece now and again and again.

I cannot over emphasize the importance of labelling frozen containers.  I freeze a lot of things and for the most part everything is properly labelled & dated.  Once in a while I skip labelling – but only when I’m certain that I really know the contents.  But here’s what also happened to me the other day:

I placed 2 frozen beef/veggie soup containers in the fridge overnight that I intended to serve for lunch the next day.  Next day:  left containers out on counter and got pot ready to warm up the soup.  Then I opened the first container and dumped the contents of it into the pot and turned on the element.    I was about to do the same with the second one but something didn’t smell quite right as it started to heat up.

Well….wouldn’t you know that I unfroze a chocolate/rocky road homemade ice cream container instead complete with little marshmallows & chocolate chips.  When frozen it looked dark like the soup so I didn’t even question it.  If I had paid more attention I would have noticed there was no orange colour to mark the carrots.

All the improvising in the world cannot improve the taste of ROCKY ROAD BEEF SOUP. Lesson learned!

Here’s a link for a previously posted recipe for a delicious winter crumble using frozen fruit:

Winter Fruit Crumble
Winter Fruit Crumble

What do you tend to freeze the most?

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