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Look What I Found in the Freezer Today!


Dave the Cook
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The carryover on the roasted leg of lamb was a bit more than I had anticipated. I recalled that I had used the last of the lamb stock for a rack about a month ago -- and I'm between batches of chicken and beef stock -- so I'm not sure what I was expecting to find when I went rummaging, except that I needed something from which I could make a sauce of sorts. My freezer is a jumble of charcuterie, half-packages of hamburger buns and random frozen vegetables, not to mention several frosted-over plastic bags filled with food (I assume) of indeterminate origin. I was about to sacrifice a cup of pork stock when I came across this:

lamb-wine-jus.jpg

I'd even labeled it: lamb-wine jus. And I'd dated it! And then forgotten about it.

Of course, I'm often a disorganized slob. But I doubt that I'm the only one who doesn't know what languishes in the frosty depths of our side-by-sides, chests and front-load uprights. What did you discover today -- a gem? A mushy disaster? Log them here (extra points for well-rimed photographs).

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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No photo, sorry, but yesterday I unearthed a big chunk of smoked brisket (from back around 4th of July). I defrosted it & discovered it was too tough for sandwiches. So I browned some carrots & celery, added some garlic, rosemary, tomato sauce & red wine, and put the brisket to simmer for 2 hrs; it made a lovely ragu, served over Barilla Plus penne.

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About a half pound of (vacuum sealed) tuna steak which had been previously defrosted and refrozen...I knew it would be kind of mushy and needed to be used in a "well seasoned" application. Cut up into chunks and added to a sauce of chopped tomato, bell pepper, artichoke, caper, wine...over linguine it hit the spot.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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I'm almost embarrassed to admit that there are no surprises in my freezers. I can tell you right down to the smallest package exactly what's in them without looking... and each thing that is in them is labled complete with the date it went in.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Something desired, but not found... was looking for a bag of spaetzle, which I *knew* was in the freezer from last year. Apparently my DH Cleaned Up The Freezer while I was out of town last weekend, and threw out the bag. I am wondering what else will be missing, next time I look?

Karen Dar Woon

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You know, that reminded me of what I was going to do last weekend, which was go through my freezer. I haven't cooked at home much lately, been pretty much living at work, so all but forgot what I had in there. Nothing too exciting for the most part, but then I found my bag of....footsmaller.jpg

.....pigs feet! Got 5 of these babies (can't remember why only 5?) But as soon as I get my new oven this week, old one shit the bed, I'll be braising these puppies!

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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You know, that reminded me of what I was going to do last weekend, which was go through my freezer. I haven't cooked at home much lately, been pretty much living at work, so all but forgot what I had in there. Nothing too exciting for the most part, but then I found my bag of....

footsmaller.jpg

.....pigs feet! Got 5 of these babies (can't remember why only 5?) But as soon as I get my new oven this week, old one shit the bed, I'll be braising these puppies!

Good Lord! What's scary is that when I first viewed your photo, I thought it actually looked like a baby suckling pig--like some sort of dwarf piglet that you'd normally see in a jar in a biology class! Is it just me or does anyone else see that little ear, closed eye and snout?

I guess you've got something porcine there, but I'm just not convinced it's the foot of Mr. Porky!

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The chest freezer in the basement is well organized (filled mostly with venison and stone-fruit pie fillings). Funny that everything down there is well labeled and, well, like I said, organized.

The side-by-side freezer is another matter. I can't even imagine what horrors reside within said compartment.

But, back in the day when fifi was still alive, I'd always call her when I came upon an "accidental" meal -- we called them toe busters. Something would fall out of the side-by-side freezer and hit my (or her) big toe. This evening, a kid looking for an ice cream bar brought forth a few frozen tomatillos. Underneat was the last of the smoked pork. Guess what we're having for dinner tomorrow night? (Clue: I have canned hominy.)

Thanks, Dave, for the reminder that I should really clean out my little shop of horrors.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I'm almost embarrassed to admit that there are no surprises in my freezers. I can tell you right down to the smallest package exactly what's in them without looking... and each thing that is in them is labled complete with the date it went in.

What fun is that?

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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.....pigs feet! Got 5 of these babies (can't remember why only 5?) But as soon as I get my new oven this week, old one shit the bed, I'll be braising these puppies!

Good Lord! What's scary is that when I first viewed your photo, I thought it actually looked like a baby suckling pig--like some sort of dwarf piglet that you'd normally see in a jar in a biology class! Is it just me or does anyone else see that little ear, closed eye and snout?

Not only that, but at first glance I thought it was clutching the white bottle in its jaws.

In my freezer today, I found three bags of chicken carcasses waiting to be made into stock. I try to keep one bag and just keep adding to it, but obviously I failed. I wonder if there are more in there, and how old they might be.

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Good lord, signed dated food that's only a couple of months old? You're a male Martha Stewart! My frosty hinterlands have unlabeled stuff way older than that, and when I find them I use them. Freezing is a terrific food preservation method. (I heated black bean soup last night made in the waning days of the Bush administration. It was good.)

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I moved to this house 5+ years ago. Do I get bonus points for having moved something from the old freezer to the new one that is so covered with hoar frost that I haven't a clue as to what it is other than sort of red in colour? And, do I get even more bonus points for wondering why there is yet another pair of jeans (not mine, not belonging to Heidi, Peter or Paul) in the freezer? Based on a cursory look in my Little Shop of Horrors, it is Polsole tomorrow night.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I moved to this house 5+ years ago. Do I get bonus points for having moved something from the old freezer to the new one that is so covered with hoar frost that I haven't a clue as to what it is other than sort of red in colour? And, do I get even more bonus points for wondering why there is yet another pair of jeans (not mine, not belonging to Heidi, Peter or Paul) in the freezer? Based on a cursory look in my Little Shop of Horrors, it is Polsole tomorrow night.

Posole a la denim?

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I'm almost embarrassed to admit that there are no surprises in my freezers. I can tell you right down to the smallest package exactly what's in them without looking... and each thing that is in them is labled complete with the date it went in.

What fun is that?

I NEED to know how you are labeling the food? I mean the actual labels and the markers. Nothing I use seems to stay put long enough to satisfy my requirements, that is a freezer which has to accommodate two large dogs who eat meat and the fact that I can't really manage the stairs or pack or unpack the freezer anymore with impunity. It's an old chest freezer and it's at least forever old and it's still running well. DH is not an organized man and stuff gets everywhere. But I can't complain (I do anyway), DH is a wonderful man and a huge help: my dedicated sous-chef. :wub::wub:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Great topic.....I find "treasures" in the freezer all the time. The problem is that it is usually when I am searching for some thing else so the "treasure" gets returned to its place of honor and I make a mental note to remember the item and come back to it. Unfortunately my rememberer does not remember as well as it used to remember so a couple of months later when I am searching for some thing lo and behold but I find the "treasure" yet again and go through the same process.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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If only I still had my half pigs head I had in there last year.... wonder what the reaction of that picture would have been? lol

In addition to the trotters, I also have like 5 lbs of smoked pork shoulder... which i'm not entirely sure what i'm going to do with yet.

And yeah, it's a shitty angle for it, but I have a small chef knife on my left wrist, and a whisk on my right wrist.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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I NEED to know how you are labeling the food? I mean the actual labels and the markers. Nothing I use seems to stay put long enough to satisfy my requirements, that is a freezer which has to accommodate two large dogs who eat meat and the fact that I can't really manage the stairs or pack or unpack the freezer anymore with impunity. It's an old chest freezer and it's at least forever old and it's still running well. DH is not an organized man and stuff gets everywhere. But I can't complain (I do anyway), DH is a wonderful man and a huge help: my dedicated sous-chef. :wub::wub:

I can't speak for Tri2Cook, but I have two basic methods.

The first is the trusty Sharpie, which writes on pretty much anything, as long as it's dry (the cut face of an onion, for example, does not take to being Sharpied, but that's another story). Much to my surprise, the white areas on storage bags that are presumably intended to be used for labeling, actually accept and preserve ink better, as well as provide better contrast for reading. Two contrasting examples, bagged and labeled within a day of each other:

bacon-label.jpg

shrimp-stock.jpg

I suspect that the second bag was damp, but the difference is pretty stark, regardless.

The other thing I do is simply tear off the package label and stick it in the bag, facing out. Here's a pork roast I bought last week. I cut two chops off and stored the rest. The label tells me what it is and when I bought it (more or less). The weight is no longer accurate, but I can deal with that.

pork-roast.jpg

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Posole a la denim?

Actually, posole a la smoked butt. There was a bag of that that was the foot-whacker yesterday.

And, yes to the sharpee. What I've been doing with the deer or two that I get every year is wrap tightly in saran (or whatever it is that Costco sells) then in butcher paper, held fast with freezer tape, and marked as to date, what cut, and how much is weighs (this is the big advantage to processing your own deer. It doesn't have to be 1 lb. packages, which is what the processors want to do.

(Oh, and I confirmed today via phone that the jeans are Diana's. The ones she treated for a stain, had to run out, so stuck them in the freezer in a bag. They are the jeans she's been looking for for well over a year.

Edited: Those little white strips on the bags are great for holding the marker ink. If the bag doesn't have it, use a strip of freezer tape.

Edited by snowangel (log)
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Far fewer surprises these days: After the plumbers unplugged the protein freezer in midsummer and we had to fish through the resultant decomposing slurry in pursuit of a detailed insurance claim I swore that I wasn't ever doing that again. Now there's a white board on the wall above the chest, and what goes in gets marked in and later checked out and wiped off. So far so good.

Masking tape makes a surprisingly effective low-cost freezer label substitute, sticks fine to dry things.

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If I buy a whole strip, rib eye, pork loin, &c and then cut them to freeze I will put the steaks or chops in a heavy duty bag along w/ a scrap of paper w/ exactly what is in the bag or just label the one large bag. It saves having to write the same thing over six/eight times. The only problem is when using paper if the paper falls out of the bag and you find a scrap of paper on the bottom of the freezer and then have to search to find fr/ which bag it leaped.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Far fewer surprises these days: After the plumbers unplugged the protein freezer in midsummer and we had to fish through the resultant decomposing slurry in pursuit of a detailed insurance claim I swore that I wasn't ever doing that again. Now there's a white board on the wall above the chest, and what goes in gets marked in and later checked out and wiped off. So far so good.

Masking tape makes a surprisingly effective low-cost freezer label substitute, sticks fine to dry things.

That's genius. I'm going to have to put up a white board. i've tried excel spreadsheets but they never end up getting updated.

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My thanks for all the labeling advice. My sticky labels just laugh at me when I shut the freezer door and make a break for freedom.

I seldom have those bags with the 'write on' space, or enough of them, or the right size of them...plus they cost a fortune. Masking tape sounds like a good idea. Untidy, but good. That is, good quality masking tape. Not the dollarama stuff.

A white board? Brilliant, but who would use it or update it? And how long before the writer made a break for its own freedom.

I do use the pencil note for small bags of endless stuff which accumulate in my upstairs freezer and cupboards. Now I even write the year on them. I feel that somehow lead pencil is less toxic than marker ink or ballpoint ink. Probably dead wrong. :hmmm:

I think I need a wife. Oops. I am the wife. :laugh:

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Funny, I noticed some geriatric horseradish in there this morning, and a set of lovely chili peppers that are at least a year and a half old.

Meat I wrap in white freezer paper, tape with masking tape, label with a Sharpie, and then put in a freezer ziploc. I put the source of the meat there in case I want to buy it again. Most of it comes from the farmer's market and I like to know who to go back to for the good stuff.

I have a library of nuts. Going on a year old. I think I have a bag of black walnuts that are two years old.

I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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