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Okanagancook

Challenge: Cook your way through your freezer (part 2)

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I have still not been able to find the porchetta I bought last winter.  Had to change my meal plan until it shows up (which may never happen).

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Thanks to this freezer challenge, I once got a handle on things.  I even made a list of what was in the freezer and updated it at least twice.    That list now has no bearing on what is actually in there.  It is once again crammed full, and a disaster.  How does that happen, she asked rhetorically?

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10 hours ago, CantCookStillTry said:

So my husband told me 'You have to get a handle on the freezer situtation'. I have refilled them all since our January storm. Attempting a shopping ban. My kid is sick and wanted pizza. So while I was looking for the Pork Tenderloin I know I have (it's still lost) for my husbands meal, I grabbed some frozen dough, bacon and pizza sauce for the little ones tea. 

Made Pizza. 

Long story short. The dough was actually from a really bad batch of Na'an failure and the Pizza sauce was actually a really spicy Marinara for my husbands meals. The bacon, fortunately, was bacon. 

But it was not good. 

 

And I really need to label things. 

FWIW, most - I'd venture to guess almost all - of us have done similar things.

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On 7/14/2018 at 8:42 AM, ElsieD said:

Thanks to this freezer challenge, I once got a handle on things.  I even made a list of what was in the freezer and updated it at least twice.    That list now has no bearing on what is actually in there.  It is once again crammed full, and a disaster.  How does that happen, she asked rhetorically?

 

Think "rabbits."

 

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Not my freezer, and I didn't cook it.  However I just pitched several pounds of mostly unlabeled, probably once-pasteurized protein from the back of my refrigerator.  The only bag with a date was more than two months old.

 

As they say:  "When in doubt, make ragout!"  This time I just couldn't face cooking it.  (And, yes, I know ragout is not pronounced that way.)

 

I feel liberated.

 

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I took everything out of my freezer today, chipped two inches of ice out of the bottom shelf and only put back the things I know I will eat. That amounted to only a little over half of what was in there, but I know where everything is and can get to it when I want it. Why do I insist on cramming my freezer so full of stuff I can't find anything? 9_9  I must have pitched 20 carefully individually-portioned, various kinds of frozen rice since from the last time I cleaned out the freezer.

 

I found a stash of homemade blueberry pancakes that had gotten buried, so rewarded myself with some of them for dinner.

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After a few days of “settling” for something to eat rather than having what I choose to eat, I realize it’s time to revive my freezer challenge.

 

 I had to go back to the beginning and read the challenge for myself again. 

 

 Here it is.

 

 Once again I invite participation from anyone who is interested and who feels that their freezer owns them and not the other way around. 

 

 It may take me a few days to actually get started as I have some appointments coming up and I may be reaching for fast food. But if someone were to ask me right now what I would want more than anything in the world (that was attainable) I would say, “An organized freezer!”

 

The gauntlet is thrown. 

 

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I'm in.  It is a disaster.

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13 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Ice cubes tonight for my mai tai...does that count?

 

I’ll take anything.  I’m not fussy. 

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Oh, dear God. Mine are all three horrible. I think I may be a food hoarder.

 

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I cleaned out my freezer in the side by side a couple of months ago.  I filled a bag that was so heavy I could barely lift it and yet it is still full.

I still have two upright freezers that are also over-filled.  That's a much bigger job that's long overdue.  

One day I hope to be inspired to tackle that job.  

 

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Tonight’s dinner from the freezers.....Curried lamb, curried peas and zucchini, Keema matter, and curry sauce to go on the fresh cauliflower.

 

Admission.....just put two pieces of leftover pizza back in🥴

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Baby steps....tonight I cooked a strip steak that was placed in the freezer May 17 last year.   With it, goose fat roasted potatoes and a mix of greens - spinach, collards and kale.  John had horseradish with his.  I did not.  I have two olibollen left and we will have them with our coffee/tea in the morning.  This challange will once again force me to use what I've got instead of wandering across the street to Farm Boy to pick something up.  Not sure what all is in there, I guess I'll find out.

 

PS just re-read the rules and will try to play by them.  I had forgotten them.

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Edited by ElsieD Added PSķ (log)
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I’m in, but I need to buy a new stand alone freezer.  Mine and the boyfriends are filled with pesto from the garden and lemon juice cubes from last years bounty.  And now I have 5 grocery bags full of Meyer lemons and two of oranges.  Still more on the trees.  Any ideas for saving/preserving this bounty are appreciated. I’ve also dehydrated lots of lemons.

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With citrus, when my trees were overloaded, it became a give-away situation. Local food pantries. I did the whole juice thing with the tangelos and that was nice, as well as marmalade with kumquats but at some point I found I preferred fresh to preserved. When I lived down the hill with large properties full of old well-bearing citrus and avocados I learned that some people had the local churches with food pantries come over and pick their own to give out. 

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We have given away bags and bags to neighbors. There’s a local group called Senior Gleaners that go where produce is available and not useful for commercial purposes and ‘glean’ it and deliver it to local food banks.  Thanks @heidih for the idea. Brilliant.

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Container of leftover pumpkin soup defrosting for lunch. Still have another serving of pumpkin soup, two servings+ of tomato soup, and a pyrex with unknown contents (from before I started using freezer tape to label things). The unknown one probably should get defrosted next just so I can get it out of there. I had actually done a decent job of depleting the frozen leftovers over the past couple of weeks, I believe the primary leftovers at this point are cooked chicken breasts and a bag of stuffing (from Thanksgiving).

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9 hours ago, Jacksoup said:

I’m in, but I need to buy a new stand alone freezer.  Mine and the boyfriends are filled with pesto from the garden and lemon juice cubes from last years bounty.  And now I have 5 grocery bags full of Meyer lemons and two of oranges.  Still more on the trees.  Any ideas for saving/preserving this bounty are appreciated. I’ve also dehydrated lots of lemons.

 

I was overwhelmed with lemon juice last year.   Since I was a newbie canner, I made a concentrated lemon syrup by heating the juice and sugar.  Can't tell you the proportions since I was experimenting.  The juice reduced by half and I canned the syrup in pint jars.  It works well for lemonade, I use it in baking cookies and it give a big lemon punch, and I use it as a substitute for simple syrup in citrus cocktails.  I'm sure I'll pick up other uses as I go.  I've also gifted it to people I know who like lemonade drinks.   Recently, during our cold snap, I mixed it with hot water and had a warm lemonade drink that was really really good.

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So it has begun. This is from a couple of days ago. Pot roast with carrots and green beans worked its way to the top of the freezer drawer and so I decided it would be dinner. Here are the lessons I learned:

 

I didn’t like it very much the first time. It didn’t improve one iota from months and months in the freezer improperly wrapped. 

 

 Eating things that don’t especially appeal and are certainly not at their peak is not a plan that is going to work for me for very long.

 

The first step in gaining control of one’s freezer is to discard those things that should’ve been discarded instead of being shamefully hidden. 

 

None of the starving children in ____ ( fill in the blank) will be a y better better off because I eat stuff like this rather than throwing it in the bin. 

 

 The first thing that has to go today is the bag of frozen spinach which tasted disgusting when freshly opened and should’ve been consigned to eternity then. 

 

Why do we try to fool ourselves this way?

 

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 It didn’t taste any better than it looks and I got it down with the help of the horseradish on the side.   Life is too short for such nonsense unless compelled to by circumstances. 

 

 

 

 

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I think part of the problem is that by a certain age, we've all been "compelled by circumstances" a time or two, and have an instinct to hedge against the eventuality.

 

Also, of course, there's the question of upbringing. My parents both grew up in large and not-affluent families (in my father's case, in a remote part of northern Newfoundland where a bad gardening year could put you at serious risk of malnutrition), so the idea of wasting anything edible was always anathema in our household. It's something that's been hard for me to let go of, though working in foodservice will beat that out of you pretty quickly. I will say, having an instinctive aversion to food waste is not a bad thing in the person who runs the kitchen.

 

Many's the prep cook who was threatened with dire (if unspecified) consequences should they offend my "East Coast frugality gene."

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Jacques Pépin tells a story in his memoir about food waste, and coming home from trips to find a cleaned-out refrigerator (and not knowing exactly how it got that way).

 

I need to get better at that: if I didn't like it the first time, it's probably more wasteful to package it and store it in the freezer than it is to get rid of it right away.

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Okay, I've read through this topic so many times thinking, 'I really ought to do this!'  And I really, really ought.  I only have a small chest freezer and the ever-impending avalanche that is on the top of my refrigerator, but they are both entirely stuffed full of perfectly good (well mostly) food that I need to eat. 

 

So I have begun by actually taking a pork chop out to thaw, which will be accompanied by a sweet potato and some sort of frozen veg, of which I have enough to ensure my five-a-day for many weeks even if I never left my apartment.

 

I choose to count 'potato, sweet' as also beginning with 'p' for extra self-motivational 'you are doing the thing.  Go you!' points. :P


Edited by Miriravan self-indulgence (log)
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 I managed to discard the horrible spinach and another package of mystery food yesterday. It doesn’t sound like much progress but every little counts. 

 

 Did a little better for my dinner yesterday evening.

 

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 Rice, soy glazed chicken drumsticks and stuffed baby peppers in the lower portion. Pickled tomatoes and broccoli with miso-walnut dressing in the upper portion.  Apart from the pickled tomatoes and the dressing everything came from my freezer.   It was a much tastier meal than the pot roast.  Holding out for a good health day today so I can do a little more digging into that freezer drawer.

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