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The Great Freezer Cleanout: 2011


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#1 Chris Amirault

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:32 AM

Last year, Kerry Beal initiated the Great Freezer Cleanout of 2010.

This weekend, my FoodSaver went kablooie, and the chamber sealer I just ordered won't be shipped for a month. Instead of sobbing -- well, ok, after I finished sobbing -- I thought, hey, why not make room in the freezer for the deluge to come this spring?

So I present the Great Freezer Cleanout of 2011.

I'm at work, so I can't recall everything that's packed in there, but believe me, it's packed: gallons of stock, loaves of challah, sausages, squash, chili, bacon.... I've got some work to do?

Anyone want to join me?
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#2 sparrowgrass

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:41 AM

Too late--cleared mine out on Friday to make room for the side of beef I picked up on Saturday. My co-worker raises Corrientes, which are the little steers rodeos use for roping. After the rodeo season is over, he fattens a few for the freezer. They are delicious and lean, and, as a plus, they are very small. (And, no hormones or antibiotics.) I live alone, and the 214 pounds of beef I picked up doesn't overwhelm.

I tossed a bunch of stuff from the bottom of the freezer--an old tube of sausage, a pound of bacon, a big bag of flaxseed, some chopped nuts from a couple of years ago--and canned the 4 gallon bags of whole tomatoes and the 2 of green peppers I put in the freezer in August. (My kitchen smelled like summer all weekend!)
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#3 vice

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:43 AM

I have a chest freezer that is in serious need of defrosting. Rather than find a (temporary) new home for all its contents, I think I'll try to dispatch as much as possible. I'm with you.

So to start, this weekend will see veal shoulder become weisswurst and pork liver turned into pâté.
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#4 Chris Amirault

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:48 AM

I need to come up with some new ideas for chicken stock. Feel free to throw them at me willy-nilly.
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#5 mkayahara

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:52 AM

Dude, you need ideas for chicken stock? I can't keep enough chicken stock on hand! Soups, fricassees, sauces... chicken stock is my go-to, and the only stock I have on hand at all times.

I think a freezer cleanout would end up being a catch-22 for me: I have a bunch of duck carcasses in my chest freezer that I need to make into stock... which would end up back in the freezer. Still, it might be worth a shot.
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#6 Chris Amirault

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:57 AM

Seriously, I think I have like ten gallons of the stuff.
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#7 mkayahara

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 10:58 AM

Seriously, I think I have like ten gallons of the stuff.

A lot of the Noma recipes call for chicken glace, so that might be an option. :wink:
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#8 vice

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 11:07 AM

I think a freezer cleanout would end up being a catch-22 for me: I have a bunch of duck carcasses in my chest freezer that I need to make into stock... which would end up back in the freezer. Still, it might be worth a shot.

This is certainly true, to an extent. Some of the sausage I make with that veal will end up back in the freezer (but not all of it). Importantly, it will be in a more ready-to-eat form so I'm likely to move through it more quickly. Also, a lot of things are more space efficient after you transform them into something else. To wit, stock frozen in rectangular pint or quart containers, then popped out and vac-sealed, is a heck of a lot more efficient use of space than half a dozen bird carcasses.
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#9 ElsieD

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 11:11 AM

We have a large stand-up, a small chest freezer and a spare fridge with it's freezer downstairs. In the kitchen we have a side-by-side fridge. All of the freezers are crammed full. The last time we sorted them, I typed up a list of contents, per freezer so we could find stuff more quickly. That list quickly became outdated. Since that time, Costco decided to carry prime grade strip loins steaks. We got so excited we bought a bunch of them and they have been added to the freezer along with a Costco box of frozen croissants (272 of them - I counted, but they are the small ones), a box of their frozen apple turnovers and their ciabatta bread. All this for two people. I keep saying we should stop buying stuff but....

So, I think I will take up the challenge as well, but am not likely to start until the weekend. Can't wait to see what we unearth.

#10 runwestierun

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 11:36 AM

I have a friend who's father owns an appliance store. He got a big bull moose this winter and we went over to see it. This is a story he told us:

He got a call from a rural penninsula about 25 miles away, but in a different state, which was a little odd. The woman had a very old chest freezer that went out, so she needed a replacement. It was very large, and my friend had one in stock, hence the call. It was more than twice as long as a regular chest freezer.

He delivered it and they emptied the old freezer. He said there was meat in there that was 5 and 10 years old. As they unpacked it further, they found meat that was 20 years old. Then thirty years old. Then FORTY years old, can you believe that? And then he said when they got to the bottom there was a package that from the Illwaco Meat Market from 1947. Nineteen fortyseven. He showed it to the lady and asked her if she wanted it and she said, "Yep. Just put it back in there." So he took great care putting everything back in the order it was taken out, so she would have less chance of poisoning herself.

This is why we clean our freezers. So we don't have appliance people talking about us in different states.

#11 Corinna

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 11:37 AM

I agree-- I can never have enough stock. I like drinking by the mug-full with a little hot sauce, when I'm not making soup (which I am, almost constantly.)
I did an inventory of our two freezers during my last two days off. I have been trying to "cook without shopping" as much as possible, because my pantry, fridge and wine rack are pretty overstocked as well. I really like this sort of challenge because it forces me to be creative in a delicious way.
So far, the results have included:
Pork tenderloin with kiwi salsa and Cuban black beans & rice
Asparagus soup
Fish chowder with dill
A couple gallons of turkey stock and caramelized leeks-- possibly for a variation on French Onion soup, I think there is some Gruyere to use up
Tonight-- pork & napa cabbage stir fry with leftover black beans & rice

The freezer has plenty of venison (tenderloin and ground) and lamb (chops, ground and stew meat), as well as a rabbit, a beef tongue, a tub of chicken livers, parsnip gnocchi and an assortment of German sausages.
Upcoming meals to include:
Venison & Ale Pie with mash (for St Paddy's Day)
Chicken liver pate & crackers (I've been wanting to experiment with making my own crackers, esp since store bought are so expensive)
Choucroute Garni
Rabbit with Mustard Sauce

Other ideas and specific recipes for the above are welcome!
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#12 OliverB

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 12:01 PM

Funny, I was just about to start a "no shopping for a month" thing like we did here last year! I was gonna start March 1st, but life (and shopping) came in between. But as of today, I'll be using what's in my tiny side by side and my chest freezer in the garage. I won't shop for anything but fresh things like fruit, salad, bread. No condiments, sauces, canned things, frozen or fresh and to be frozen things (better stay away from costco) so the last thing that went in there is the octopus I got at the market yesterday. I think I'll turn the contents of my chest freezer upside down if I get around to it, there are things in there that are probably edging on two years, though all vac sealed and should be fine still.

Today we'll finish the corned beef (Trader Joe's which turned out excellent) and Tue I'll start cooking something from the freezer and/or pantry!
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#13 Jose Nieves

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 12:20 PM

I second the chicken glace suggestion..

#14 DTBarton

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 01:16 PM

We've become pretty good at declaring "Freezer Week" periodically, say 3 - 4 times a year. Saves a bunch on groceries that week and keeps the freezer stock turned over for the most part.

#15 Marlene

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 01:20 PM

I can't keep chicken stock on hand either and I make it 24 quarts at a time!

I am in the process of clearing out my freezer at home because none of it can be moved West of course. Some of it will come up to the cottage, thankfully, but we'll be eating a lot of meat over the next two months.
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#16 HungryC

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 01:30 PM

This is timely for me, as I'm easing into my pre-hurricane season freezer drawdown. Wish I could trade some frozen okra for some of that chicken stock, then we could both be eating gumbo. A client of my hubby's paid him in okra & seafood. The seafood's all gone, but the okra remains.

#17 Corinna

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 01:54 PM

This is timely for me, as I'm easing into my pre-hurricane season freezer drawdown. Wish I could trade some frozen okra for some of that chicken stock, then we could both be eating gumbo. A client of my hubby's paid him in okra & seafood. The seafood's all gone, but the okra remains.


This probably isn't new to you, Celeste, but I once made some delightful corn muffins with okra in them.
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#18 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 01:59 PM

This is an excellent idea. I tend to be pretty disciplined about regular freezer cleaning (it helps that I only have a small freezer), but there are some items that have been in there for entirely too long.

Number one, lamb stock. Any suggestions?

#19 Gregg

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 01:59 PM

We're also in the middle of eating up all the winter comfort food stored there, making room for spring. It's not like I'm going to get 50# of spring peas, darn it, but time to clear out the chicken pot pie filing (a use for stock Chris?) and chili. Did find two more bags of the richest turkey stock I've ever made. Yea! Also found veal demi glace I'd forgotten about and some baby turnips that still appear to be in good shape. Not as good as winning the lottery, but certainly going to help with dinner this week!

#20 mkayahara

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 02:06 PM

This is an excellent idea. I tend to be pretty disciplined about regular freezer cleaning (it helps that I only have a small freezer), but there are some items that have been in there for entirely too long.

Number one, lamb stock. Any suggestions?

Shepherd's pie!
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#21 kayswv

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 05:27 PM

This is an excellent idea. I tend to be pretty disciplined about regular freezer cleaning (it helps that I only have a small freezer), but there are some items that have been in there for entirely too long.

Number one, lamb stock. Any suggestions?


Scotch Broth with barley, carrots etc.

Kay

#22 Dakki

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 05:39 PM

I'm in.

Buying liquor and etc isn't cheating, right?
This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

#23 Chris Amirault

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 05:41 PM

Sure. Me, I'm just trying to use up stuff. Tonight, for example, we made fajitas with some frozen tortilla balls and smoked monterey jack that were in the freezer, but I bought cilantro, tri-tip steak, etc.
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#24 Peter the eater

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 05:53 PM


This is an excellent idea. I tend to be pretty disciplined about regular freezer cleaning (it helps that I only have a small freezer), but there are some items that have been in there for entirely too long.

Number one, lamb stock. Any suggestions?


Scotch Broth with barley, carrots etc.

Kay


Or mulligatawny soup.
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I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
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#25 Peter the eater

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 05:57 PM

If I freeze the chicken stock in manageable 1 cup containers it gets used up faster.

My freezer clean-out problem is "what do I do with 13 frozen pig ears?".
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#26 Chris Hennes

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 06:06 PM

My freezer clean-out problem is "what do I do with 13 frozen pig ears?".

Break out the deep fryer. Crispy puffy pigs ears, oh yes please.

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#27 mkayahara

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 06:15 PM

My freezer clean-out problem is "what do I do with 13 frozen pig ears?".

Do you have "Beyond Nose to Tail"? If you can find one more ear, you could make the "Pressed Pig's Ear."
Matthew Kayahara
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#28 janeer

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 06:30 PM

I'm way ahead of you. I "draw down inventory" twice a year: once starting after the New Year to start making room for produce and preserves; this means, mostly, using up stocks, breads, pastries, meats from winter. And once in November, to make room for holiday baking--mostly what I draw down in these months before the next growing season is frozen berries, preserves, and tomatoes from the prior summer. The spring clean-out is the biggest, and I like to do it over a few months so I can use things appropriately, and not be tempted to throw things out. Waste not, want not, my grandmother always said.

#29 Peter the eater

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 06:35 PM


My freezer clean-out problem is "what do I do with 13 frozen pig ears?".

Do you have "Beyond Nose to Tail"? If you can find one more ear, you could make the "Pressed Pig's Ear."


There's a sequel? Good to know.

I'm not sure if Mike the Butcher lost an ear along the way or if I got a baker's dozen. Does the Pressed Pig's Ear involve a terrine?
Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .
Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .
Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

#30 qrn

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 07:03 PM

Good thread, prompted a look in mine, found a large batch of goose confit that I will use soon,but other than that I will leave all the rest ,until fall tomato,basil/pesto time,when I will really need the space..
Bud