Simple Home Year: Food preserving and storage — the freezer

Rhonda mentions the freezer in the June chapter of The Simple Home as an ideal place to preserve abundance, maybe even stockpile and manage your food resources throughout the year.

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I think that in the past, many of us thought of the freezer only in terms of sides of meat or loaves of bread that may or may not have proved to be a saving. The important thing with the freezer is to have it serve you well, to ensure that it makes your cooking from scratch easier, that it offer you a means to manage fresh produce well.

For our small household purchasing and putting aside large amounts of meat isn’t a saving but there are many households where this would be beneficial. I use my freezer to keep us supplied with pre-cooked meals after cooking double portions — ideal for the nights when I can’t be bothered cooking or for single serve lunches to give variety to the usual salad and sandwiches.

If a surplus of fresh produce comes from the garden or is offered cheaply at the greengrocer’s, it can be flash frozen as is (no blanching!) so that it’s put away fresh for later preserving. Vegetables such as tomatoes work well with this method, I currently have a large bag of summer cherries waiting to be turned into jam  and do it with many other fruits and vegetables.

The freezer is a great aid for grains and flours too, toss a bag in the freezer when you come home from shopping, pull it out a couple of days later, any weevil or pantry moth eggs will have been killed. I now keep my yeast in the freezer because I had a run of poor loaves when the yeast got overheated in the summer, it can be used directly from the freezer with no loss of quality.

I’ve not yet introduced glass to my freezer but it’s on my to-do list, eliminating plastics seems to be a smart way to go and from what I’ve learned glass is not problematic if handled carefully and with forethought.

My freezer door always looks like this.

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Long gone are the days of trying to work out what’s in there, every container is clearly labelled, each is recorded on the door in non-permanent marker with approximate number of servings. When something is taken out it’s crossed out, when something goes in it’s added to the list.

How do you use the freezer to extend your food storage and preserving options?

16 thoughts on “Simple Home Year: Food preserving and storage — the freezer

  1. I love to precook tuna patties, or chickpea patties over the weekend, and they are awesome to pop into a plain salad to add some protein. also whenever I bake slices, I store them in the freezer – less tempting than lying around in the fridge or on the counter. If someone pops in for a coffee, they defrost in no time. I always blanch veggies – are you saying we dont have to now?

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    1. africanaussie it’s great to see you. 🙂 If you are going to use your vegies or fruit with no further processing/cooking then yes, blanch them. The method I spoke of is for when you have too much fresh produce to deal with and you intend to later make it into jam, pickles etc.

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  2. We are very similar Rose. On the weekend we defrosted the chest freezer, thoroughly wiped it down and checked our inventory. We also went through the kitchen freezer, cleaned and checked the list. I double batch a lot for ease and also a lot of my meals are different to the rest of the family due to my intolerances. Everything is clearly labelled. I have a cork board on the inside of our pantry door with the freezer list as well as school notices etc.

    I also freeze things like coconut milk etc. when you open a tin however don’t need to use the lot. I pour into muffin tins, freeze and then pop them into snaplock bags in either quarter or half cup lots. Then I add to the inventory list.

    I like the idea of freezing fresh produce when items are on special etc. and also saves many trips as I top up fruit and veg regularly.

    I am now going to start popping flour into the freezer before storing – thanks Rose.

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    1. Kylie it’s lovely to see you here! Thanks for the tip on coconut milk, I often do have leftovers as you say, your method is such a simple one.

      Do try the flour — and for that matter any grain such as rice etc.

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    1. It works so well Mr Home Maker, every so often I clean the door down with some Art Clean and it’s fresh and clean to go again.

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  3. Your freezer is a work of art, Rose. I sat there and studied it for some time. I have kilos of rosellas, elderberries and raspberries in my freezer at the moment, along with cooked meals, soup and lemon juice. As you say, it’s a great way to manage abundance in the garden.

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    1. Now that’s a fine acclamation — a freezer that is a work of art. Thank you Rhonda. Isn’t the freezer great for managing all that lovely produce? I think of it as being a modern day larder.

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  4. Hi Rose, I popped over from Rhonda at DTE. I had a real A-Ha moment seeing your freezer door ! I would never think of writing directly on it but it makes so much sense ! It will greatly improve the use of my freezer.
    On my side, I freeze milk, butter, egg whites, mango puree (bought cheap in summer, really appreciated in winter!), blanched (or not) veggies, pre-cooked meals, meat, etc…
    To me, it’s as much a way of saving money as a way of saving time, and getting organised. I like to buy in bulk to avoid going to the shops too often and freezing items helps a lot in the matter.
    Having a freezer and a pantry well organised save me so much money and stress. Thanks for the great post.

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  5. Hi Rose
    I also followed a link from DTE. In addition to previous ideas mentioned, I freeze the bits and pieces I need to make a real stock (brocolli stalks, chicken carcasses, peel from swedes/pumpkins) in one area of my freezer and when I have enough or run out of stock I pop them straight into a pan and make stock. When I freeze the stock in half litre batches I always use the same size rectangular containers, then pop the stock out once it freezes, bag it and it stacks easily without having to lose a container to the freezer for weeks.
    I also freeze small batches of bread crumbs if noone eats the crusts from my homemade loaves, grated cheese for pizzas (especially if someone didn’t wrap the cheese properly before putting it away), diced up mango bought as whole cheap mangoes in the summer, overripe bananas, and any fruit that has got a bruise so that the family ignores it (cut up the good part and freeze for muffin/cake/smoothie).
    About twice a year we have a ‘frugal month’ where we try to eat mostly from the freezer.
    I’m going to enjoy looking at your previous blogs.
    Thanks
    Rachel

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  6. I’m so impressed, it’s so tidy and organised. It’s time I tidied my freezer too. At the risk of asking a silly question .. what sort of pen do you use to write on the door that it comes off easily?

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