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The Great Freezer Cleanout: 2010


Kerry Beal
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Second shelf from the bottom - partially cleaned off. There were two packages of vacuum sealed almond meal for making macarons - they will have to be relocated for the big thaw!

There were 6 ham bones - two of which wandered over to AnnaN's home yesterday (moving things to someone else's freezer isn't cheating - is it?) and 4 of which are in a big stock pot right now. My dad allowed as to how he would enjoy a big pot of split pea soup - so some of the stock will go for that. I wonder if he knows how big a pot he's going to be getting. I tried to talk him in to one of the ham bones for the baked beans he's making - but he doesn't do it that way - so no sale.

There were two packages of veal for stew - but they hadn't been vacuum sealed - so into the bin they go.

There are two packaged of smoked porkchops - one with the vacuum seal gone (binned) and the other will fry up nicely to be the meat chunks in the split pea soup.

There was one container of ham stock already in the freezer door - it's just been added to the stock pot.

I can see there is still at least one ham bone still in there (don't think the stock pot could handle one more) and I noticed a nice prime rib peaking out from the back of the shelf - maybe on the weekend if time permits.

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I'm pondering a good time to defrost the turkey. Sunday would be a good time to eat it, but I don't really have time to defrost it properly before then. I'm pondering doing the pork shoulder roast in the crock pot with some spices, then making some homemade sauce (pineapple juice, tomato sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, paprika, salt, pepper) and serving it on homemade buns. Make some slaw (homemade dressing) and baked potatoes to have as sides. I wish I could smoke it, but it just isn't possible right now. As much as I wish that I had a Big Green Egg (or even a lowly Weber), one isn't appearing out on deck and moving all the snow to get to it if I did have it would tire me out too much to cook, anyway.

Downstairs freezer contents:

2 bags of whole cranberries (found on sale)

4 bags mashed bananas (for bread)

2 cans orange juice concentrate

1 can grape juice concentrate (grape jelly, perhaps?)

1 large turkey (hubby's gift from the company)

2 whole chickens ($.69 per pound and couldn't resist)

4 1lb packages of freshly ground 85% beef (I watched)

1 large bone-in pork shoulder roast (7lb maybe)

1 1lb packages boneless skinless chicken breast

1 1.5lb package boneless skinless chicken breast (normal fajita amount)

1 package 80% ground beef (from 2008's Christmas bundle)

1 package London broils (from same bundle)

1 package pork ribs (from same bundle)

1 package Farmland sausage links (on sale, again)

1 package broccoli cuts

2 packages carrots

1 package corn

1 package peas

It's only 1/3 full or so, but it seems like so much for the two of us and a toddler.

Oh, and a question. The meat from the 2008 bundle is most likely still good, right? It was in the upstairs freezer for most of its stay here, though, so not in as cold an environment as it is now.

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Whenever I come across a recipe online (often in this forum) for a recipe that includes an item that I know I have in the freezer, I immediately print it out and place it in a Ziplock bag with that item and leave in the freezer...

When I am stumped about what to fix for a future meal (next day or so) I check the freezers and the bags with recipes and ??? and pull out one that sounds appropriate or at least, interesting and perhaps, if I am feeling lazy, the one that will require the least effort. :laugh:

How is it that you are always such a font of great ideas! I'm going to have to give that a shot. I also need to look into the Foodsaver (thanks Kerry!), it seems like that will stave off at least some of my freezer woes..

edited to fix a typo

Edited by Shamanjoe (log)

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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How is it that you are always such a font of great ideas! I'm going to have to give that a shot. I also need to look into the Foodsaver (thanks Kerry!), it seems like that will stave off at least some of my freezer woes..

Kerry is indeed a font of great ideas. Andie and Anna N also.

So, where in Ontario can you buy a Foodsaver unit, please.

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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Question about the Foodsaver; mine, which was relatively new, has stopped pulling a vacuum. It still seals, but it doesn't suck all the air out. Any easy suggested fixes for this?

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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Question about the Foodsaver; mine, which was relatively new, has stopped pulling a vacuum. It still seals, but it doesn't suck all the air out. Any easy suggested fixes for this?

First make sure that the holes inside the channel aren't blocked - otherwise unscrew the back (unplugged of course) and make sure all tubing is attached where it should be.

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Putting recipes in with your unusual foods is a great idea! Our freezer is almost empty atm - I've been running it down all month long. We're down to the last two packs of meat so I had to buy more yesterday.

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Regarding how and why I began putting the recipes for prospective meals in with stuff in the freezer (and the pantry), it all started when I was doing some catering and also some contract baking for caterers and a couple of local cafés. My kitchen was certified for commercial cooking and to keep things organized, I had to use this method to be sure I had the necessary ingredients for my business.

I had a "regular" job and did most of my extra baking and cooking at night, when Smart & Final or Costco were closed - there were 24 hour markets but the ingredients there were either too expensive or not what I wanted to use.

Rather than do one recipe at a time, I would gather all the dry ingredients I needed for several different baked items. Measure or weigh the stuff for each recipe into Ziplock bags and put those items with the recipe in a bus tub, a big mixing bowl or on a tray and bag the stuff together and shove them onto shelves in the pantry that I reserved for them. Big label with the name of the recipe and the date required visible on the front (also with the time needed to complete it and a list of perishable ingredients needed to complete it).

I gave up the kitchen certification a few years ago but I still do this for my holiday baking, spending almost an entire day doing nothing but gathering and measuring dry ingredients, either by volume or weight.

Once you get into this kind of routine, it is amazing how fast it goes when you are ready to proceed. You are also assured of not discovering that you are out of some critical ingredient at an inconvenient time.

It is similar to a production line but operated by only one person. If I do have help, it is very simple for someone else to complete a recipe when it is organized in this manner.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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It's been a rather slow process - cleaning out this freezer.

Today I found 3 packages of burger patties, bought when they were half price. Took out the whole bunch and grilled them all. Burgers for dinner tonight, hubby will probably heat one up for a meal over the next day or two and the rest I think I'll recycle into ragu. I'll chop up a couple of onions, dig through the cupboards and see what I've got in the way of tomatoes or sauce to cook them with. I'll let that simmer for a couple of hours - and voila - more containers to put back in the freezer!

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It's been a rather slow process - cleaning out this freezer.

Today I found 3 packages of burger patties, bought when they were half price. Took out the whole bunch and grilled them all. Burgers for dinner tonight, hubby will probably heat one up for a meal over the next day or two and the rest I think I'll recycle into ragu. I'll chop up a couple of onions, dig through the cupboards and see what I've got in the way of tomatoes or sauce to cook them with. I'll let that simmer for a couple of hours - and voila - more containers to put back in the freezer!

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How is it that you are always such a font of great ideas! I'm going to have to give that a shot. I also need to look into the Foodsaver (thanks Kerry!), it seems like that will stave off at least some of my freezer woes..

Kerry is indeed a font of great ideas. Andie and Anna N also.

So, where in Ontario can you buy a Foodsaver unit, please.

I bought both of mine at Costco. YOu can also order them online from Costco and don't need to be a member to do so.

Bed Bath and Beyond also carries them and you can order them online.

Edited by Marlene (log)

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Take a look at the rubber band, inside, where you put in the bag to get the air sucked out. It should be smooth. Otherwise, it will not be air tight and air will come in. If there is a dent (it happened to mine), just pull it out and turn it around on the other side and put it back in. It will work fine.

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It's been a rather slow process - cleaning out this freezer.

Kerry, perhaps The Great Freezer Cleanout should include our cars' trunks? :laugh:

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

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General question about something I've had in the freezer...if something doesn't freeze "solid", is it still being preserved by staying in the cold temp? I have some cinnamon/vanilla/orange sugar syrup which won't freeze due to the amount of sugar, I assume it doesn't go "bad"? It was used for poaching pears a couple of months ago and was too yummy to throw out. I figured it would make it's way in to a sorbet or something eventually...

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

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Kerry, perhaps The Great Freezer Cleanout should include our cars' trunks? :laugh:

I'm in for the freezer cleanout, where I need to turn over all the vegetables I froze this summer from our overabundant CSA box (lots of tomatoes, kale, broccoli, etc), plus pork butt, and crabapple puree. Inspired by this thread, I also went through my pantry and found the following, all near or past expiration:

4342667678_e3db4e9f64.jpg

If you look closely, you can see that King Arthur Flour has changed its packaging for bulk goods at least twice since I last cleaned the pantry. The buttermilk powder went in the trash.

What kind of fool lets chocolate chips expire? So, here are Alice Medrich's Chocolate Chip biscotti from her Cookies and Brownies book:

4341929183_48a450c5df.jpg

Bonus points for using walnuts from the freezer.

The whole wheat flour will be a huge project-- luckily my pantry is cold, so it was not rancid. Here is my first batch of basic whole wheat Artisan Bread in 5 minutes:

4342667972_875f09c268_o.jpg

4342668254_e707abf8ba_o.jpg

That used 5.5 cups of flour, or about 1.5 pounds-- so I should be able to make 3 more batches, wow.

Anyone have ideas for my dried fruit collection (apricots, cranberries, raisins)? A fine spring fruitcake??

Cheers, Jen

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Anyone have ideas for my dried fruit collection (apricots, cranberries, raisins)? A fine spring fruitcake??

Cheers, Jen

Maybe a moustarda with dried fruit.

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I was reviewing and checking out recipes on another food and recipe site. Was looking at recipe for baked ravioli. What inspiration! I have been trying to cook out of my freezer and have made a dent. When I saw this recipe, I thought I had tons of frozen ravioli in there. However, I did not. I DID find three different kinds of tortellini and some frozen meat sauce I had made awhile ago. I thawed out the meat sauce, supplemented it with a quickly made marinara, and followed the directions, but with the tortellini and the meat sauce instead. It is baking as I type and I am really looking forward to it. I do think it will be quite interesting....the tortellini are a mushroom one, a prosciutto and gouda one and a cheese one. Should be an interesting mix!

Donna

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My burger ragu turned out wonderfully - I browned the onions, added the chopped up grilled burgers, cooked down with some red wine and veal glace, then cooked down again with some milk. Added a can of diced tomatoes, a box of strained italian tomatoes, and a can of a pasta sauce that I quite like. Simmered through catching up on a couple of episodes of Dexter, I stored it in the garage overnight to keep it cold (like a huge fridge!). Provided dinner for tonight, a couple of containers for the rug rat for lunches, and 4 smaller containers to go back in the freezer for future quick meals.

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Anyone have ideas for my dried fruit collection (apricots, cranberries, raisins)? A fine spring fruitcake??

Cheers, Jen

Maybe a moustarda with dried fruit.

You can also grind them with nuts and make very nice confections. You can add coconut or whatever that is dried and less perishable.

I make several varieties. I put everything through a meat grinder and knead it until everything is well mixed.

I started doing this many, many years ago when I was trying to make a cookie filling similar to Fig Newtons - only with apricots or other dried fruits.

I have a friend that is always happy to get part of any batch that I prepare. She combines it with granola, forms it into bars and makes her own "healthy" snacks.

Lots of fiber there!

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have been involuntarily doing a freezer/pantry cleanout. I had a total knee replacement Dec. 15, and have been pretty much stuck at home since then, since I really couldn't drive for the first 6 weeks. Then I had trouble with the knee and they had to do another procedure, so I am home again. I live alone, so the grocery store has had little of my business for the last couple of months.

I thank heavens that I am such a "hoarder"--my freezer contained about quarter of a beef, 10 or 15 pounds of chicken, and tomatoes, peppers, celery and carrots from last summer's garden, as well as a few commercial packages of frozen veggies.

The pantry was full of pasta, flours, sugar, beans, hominy.

I have eaten pretty well--I did have my sister here early on, and she brought home some fresh veggies, which I am about out of now.

Oh, and the dogs would like someone to bring up a bag of Purina, please.

sparrowgrass
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thx a lot folks! Fuss & I were talking at dinner the other night and some thing about E-gullet arose in the conversation. I mentioned that we were having a discussion about cleaning out the freezer and was told, "ya know......our freezer could probably use some work" which--if you live w/ those of the female persuasion you already realize--means, "I expect you to have the freezer cleaned by the time I get home tomorrow and I can not believe you have let it go this long ya big dummy!". Any how it was a good day for it yesterday as it was chilly and the garage was only in the 40's so I pulled every thing out, chipped out any ice build up on the sides, cleaned what ever detritus had accumulated at the bottom--including the half bag of peas that busted about six months ago--and re-organized. I decided to use those plastic buckets (I know they will eventually crack in the freezer but they work for now) in which we get cat litter, laundry detergent, &c (having nine cats we have plenty of those buckets around) and rinsed them well and then divided so that two buckets are full of pork, two are full of beef and two w/ chicken products (arranged FIFO). One of the racks has stocks, another has assorted stuff--butter, cream cheese, bread for the ducks, &c, another is full of vegetables, and yet another has pre-made soups, casseroles, smoked pork, &c and there was room for ice jugs at the bottom. All in all it was highly successful and I found some things I did not even realize were there and, luckily, no casualties as nothing was "uh.....what is this?" or "criminies! how long has this been in here?" and, sorry Sparrowgrass, no squirrel.

I did have lots of help fr/ two of the cats--Pumpkin and Sweetie Pie--who were very curious about every thing that came out and kept hoping some thing was for them.

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

the best cat ever.

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There is nothing quite so humbling and enlightening as to be incapacitated for a new months to realize how casual the able-bodies are in their attitudes towards being able to move freely and do just about anything you put your mind to without thinking about it. Or maybe it was just me. :hmmm:

This morning, after having declared my intent to re-organize the downstairs freeze on Jan 27, I actually donned my gloves (thanks to the eGulleter who suggested gloves for handling those plastic milk crates) and began the process of actually 'DOING" it. And it was easily done in a few minutes.

I was stunned by the amounts of some stuff. :raz: It's still not finished, but it's well underway. And the good news is that I appear not to be incapacitated any more. It doesn't get better than that. :wub:

(And stop buying nuts until you use the stuff in the freezer. And butter also. Idiote.)

Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

Life in the Meadows and Rivers

Cheers & Chocolates

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another little dig in the upright today - brought out some short ribs to do something with over the weekend, some bacon and smoked pork chops to have with eggs for dinner tonight (reminds me I'd better get some bread for toast) and some pecans - which can be placed in the upstairs freezer - perhaps I'll make some of the cinnamon meringue covered nuts.

I also ran across 3 bags of about 4 each chunks of oxtail - have no immediate plans for them (bought as I recall with the thought of making pho broth) - and if I make pho broth then that's more stuff going back in the freezer. So I welcome some ideas about what to do with them.

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