Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh, So Little Freezer Room

The big joke in the family is if you give Mom a freezer, it doesn't matter how many, she will fill them. They don't have to be hers. She just has to have access to them. Case in point, our son came home to stay with us for a while and brought his belongings. They included a freezer. Yup, what area he didn't fill, I did. It wasn't that I didn't have two good sized ones already but that empty space held so many possibilities. Things I couldn't put in mine for lack of room. Oh he didn't complain. It's too hard with a mouth full of half frozen oatmeal raisin cookies.
I love make ahead recipes. Even if they aren't originally intended to be, I try to figure out a way to change them so they can be. My latest find is a recipe to make a cheesecake that you can freeze. I'm excited because my last attempt to freeze a cheesecake failed. The texture change, the once smooth creamy filling thawed to a cheese curdy, bit weepy thing. The flavor was good but not as good as it had been before the trip into the freezer. I've been looking for a recipe that would work and thinking and thinking of what I need to change. Then I ordered a make a head cookbook by Cook's magazine. Low and behold there was a cheese cake recipe made for freezing. I don't know if I'm going to make that first or the frozen cinnamon roll dough recipe. You make the cinnamon rolls, let them raise, but don't bake them, and then freeze. Without thawing, you pop them right in the oven to bake. I can almost smell the cinnamon fragance now. Yum! It's sure to earn points with my sweetheart and just think how great it would be for when the family is coming home for the weekend. That's time I want to spend with them, not in the kitchen.

My hubby and family don't complain about this obsession, hobby, resourceful task, healthier than fast food, energy saving... a-- what-cha-ma-call-it. I mean who would gripe about a selection of frozen muffins to take to work for breakfast or frozen home made breakfast burritos, those divine cheesecake like stuffed lemon crepes I created from inspiration, and of course cheese and egg souffles ready to pop in the oven to bake for Kirk's day off from his day job. The gingerbread and black forest waffles, the ones we made for supper the other night, came in real handy when our grand daughter was here. The minute her feet hit the floor in the morning her tummy begins to rumble.

I also try to keep some kind of dessert in the freezer like lemon pound cake, angel food cake, or cookies. Along with the vegetable from the garden, berries I buy in bulk (I haven't been able to acidify the soil enough to grow a decent crop of my own), and of course meat. Those pigs we processed have to go somewhere.
Oh so little freezer room, and so little time and energy.
I know people love upright freezers but I can't stuff them full enough. That's why I have two chest freezers but long for three. I haven't the room and I'm afraid I would waste food if I filled three. I do have to feed a little of my vegetables to the pigs and chickens and old meat to the cats. Over all I do pretty good though. Some see this big space as a large area to loose food in. To me, it's a hole of opportunity. I'm a bit embarrassed to show you my vegetable freezer because it hasn't been cleaned in two years. With processing the pigs and a beef needing to be done, I NEED room. I know the meat freezer won't hold it all and the vegetable one wasn't efficiently organized. I had to get it done. Not to mention the old vegetables haphazardly disheveled that gave me the illusion that I had more than what I thought. Oh my, I found corn in there from 2006. I guess that will make good food for the chickens, along with the old shredded carrots. I had forgotten about the extra sausage tucked in the back.
I'm so glad I got it done because what once looked really full of vegetables and gave me the misimpression that I wouldn't need to plant as much in the garden this year, just isn't true. That is good and bad since we are using what we grow but it means lots more gardening than I planned on. At least now I know just what I should plant.I made many these dividers when the kids were real small. Simple, simple, because I don't have carpentry skills. This is peg board stuff that is seen in shops and stores that hooks hang off of with items for sale or you see them on the wall in shops. It's durable and has lots of holes in it for the air to pass through. I just wish that I had made them higher. At the time I used the baskets that hung off the lip of the freezer but I found them to be a pain and threw them away.
The board was free and right now I haven't the time to make new ones. They'll just have to do and I'll feel greatful I have them.
I wired the pieces together and this way they can fold up to be removed from the freezer when I need to clean it. This is the freezer partially full. I do love these divider since I can quickly find the food I want. I can rotate the newer corn to the bottom of the section assigned to it and move the older corn up. It is a must to clean and straighten a freezer at least once a year because in a hurry you begin to toss things about and it looses its order. That's how the sausage got lost. I use plastic freezer bags to store my vegetables in but I see an advantage nutritionally to using glass jars. With just the two of us, we are needing things in quarts anymore and have gone to pints. We don't have enough and so I add to our stores each year. The extra quarts go to the kids. I simply don't have enough pints for the freezer too but I've begun using a few jars in there. Testing the waters so to speak. If you've got some advice on how to organize jars in a freezer without wasting space, I need all I can get, please share them with me.The freezer is now cleaned and here it is being filled. Still going to be a bit of a mess since we have our son's half a pig in the other freezer awaiting his trip to come and get it. That makes everything of ours shifted around. I'm curious, what is your favorite freezer food that you make?

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