My offspring occasionally tease me about all the stuff I pack into my freezer. They’re right. You’d swear there isn’t room for an ant to squeeze in and I’ll re-arrange things and manage to find space for yet one more package. They tease, we laugh, and I threaten to write a new cook book and call it ‘Yes, You CAN Freeze It’.
They concede I know how to freeze food. Is that because I’m so clever? I know better than that. It’s just because through the years I’ve picked up tips from friends who know a lot more than I do — and it has come in handy.
Rule #1-100: Double-wrap absolutely everything. This helps prevent freezer burn and keeps the contents from drying out. Through experience, I’ve learned to pre-slice bagels, and if I don’t freeze bread until a day after purchasing it, the slices separate more easily.
I freeze turkey and chicken bones, veggies that threaten to be wasted and whatever — for soup. I’ve frozen cheese when I’ve been left with too much to consume after entertaining. The more fat in the cheese, the better it freezes, but even if the consistency changes after freezing, it can still be used for grilled cheese sandwiches or cooking. Coffee and butter — you name it. I freeze it.
It was Veronica who told me you can freeze milk. How great to have milk on hand for coffee first morning after being away. I wrap it tightly in plastic, right in the carton and when I get home, it goes into the fridge and voila, coffee in the morning — with milk. I am grateful to Veronica. I’m a tiger without my coffee to start the day.
I once had a fig tree in my L.A back yard. All the figs ripened at once and there were too many to be eaten. I offered them to neighbours, one of whom suggested I wash them, let them dry and place them in empty egg cartons for freezing. Figs have a lot of sugar, they freeze well and make a wonderful frozen dessert. And, yes, wrap the egg cartons in plastic as well. (Grapes also freeze well.)
Berries are really easy. Once washed and dried, spread them on a cookie tray and freeze. They
can soon be tossed into a container or plastic bag until you want to use them — and they won’t stick to each other. You can just take as many as you want at any time. Since I make my own jam (usually without sugar), I freeze it because I don’t know how to properly can anything, Extra berries or grapes or any other fruit I can’t use in time gets frozen. Do I have a recipe? No. I call it ‘Everything but the Kitchen Sink’ jam. I just round up all the fruit I have on hand in my freezer and refrigerator, (adding an apple because I once read one should). Then I’ll throw in some lemon peel, (usually frozen too) cinnamon/and or ginger, nutmeg, maybe sesame seeds, and after it’s cooked, if I have any, I’ll add walnut bits — a special touch.
Once uninvited bugs had the nerve to turn up in rice kept in my kitchen cabinet. I don’t like to waste food, so since then I freeze or refrigerate it until use. I don’t bake often, so flour is kept bug-free in my refrigerator as well.
After a most enjoyable visit from my U.S. children, I was catching up on laundry and discovered some sticky gum on a bed sheet. Removing it from the dryer, the warm, icky gum clung stubbornly to my fingers and the fabric. I couldn’t get rid of it. Would I have to throw the sheet out?
My oh-so-clever son, the very same guy who teases me about freezing everything, suggested I place it in the freezer. As I did so, I laughed out loud. The idea of my finding room for even something else in my stuffed freezer — and especially that HE had suggested it just cracked me up.
Well, the guy was right. It works. The gum froze into a hard blob, and came off the sheet like magic. No stain, no residue, no nothing. Another use for my freezer. I’ll have to include this one in that book too….