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Monday, February 27, 2012

Tuesday Terrific Tip--Freezer List

My mom rearranged her freezer over the weekend and that reminded about the freezer as a great kitchen tool.

The freezer, whether stand-alone or just the one that comes with your fridge, can be a great way to extend the life of fresh food.  It can make it so that you don't have to eat the same casserole for 62 days in a row to work through a whole 9x13 pan of whatever.  In case you were wondering I miss S's late night refrigerator raids, he was great at keeping the excessive leftovers down to a minimum.

Anyway, since we live way out in the middle of nowhere I like to be sure to have extra of pretty much everything and my freezer is where I keep anything perishable.

So in my freezer, I keep extra loaves of bread, bags of chips.  Yes, you can freeze chips and they don't get soggy.  I learned that first hand from my personal Frito-Lay representative; he's retired now.  

I also have a one gallon jug of water that I keep frozen in the freezer, so that if I need to do a lot of extra running around with groceries during the summer I can keep them cold in an ice chest.  Yes, I keep an ice chest in my car.  Don't you?  Yeah, I didn't either when we lived in town.

Anyway, I keep all of the chicken things together, the beef, pork, and then all the paper wrapped meat is venison sausage.  Extra waffles, a frozen pizza, cooked beans, a couple of casseroles, a turkey.  It's all in there.

Oh, yes the door is full of storage too... we'll start from the bottom and work up...

Coffeemate.  If you get this stuff at a great price then you can freeze them and they will keep for at least six months.  Remember the cheese that stood alone?  Here it stands with it's neighbors in the door of the freezer.  A large bag of okra that I cut up a little, or a lot at a time, last summer.  We had gumbo last night.  It was great.  Then 4.5 lbs of butter.  Yes, you can freeze butter too.

Oh, did I not mention the Girl Scout cookies?  That's because you weren't supposed to notice them.  I'm saving those for the summer, which is the best time to eat frozen thin mints.  The coolness of the mint, and the frozen cookie.  It really cools you off in the heat of May.

Oh, are you noticing more cookies?  Lots of girls have asked, and we've been supportive this year.  There are more in the pantry.  I did learn that you could give them $5 and help them and your waistline all at the same time.

You can feel a twinge of jealousy that I have those fillets in my freezer with the 'save reduced for quick sale' stickers on them.  I paid only $2 per package for them.  As soon as I returned home with them, they went right into the freezer.  They are delicious and I think we're eating like kings when we have them, but knowing that I paid a fraction of the regular price....well I like that part the best.

Growing up when we ate steak my dad would always ask, "I wonder what the rich people are eating tonight," presumably because we were eating their food.

Anyway, the one thing I don't currently ON my freezer is a list of everything that is in there.  K is really good at keeping her list up to date.  I know HOW to do this, but I only make a vain attempt at this exercise.

Write down all of the items you have in your freezer.  If you have multiples of them, like butter, cookies or venison sausage, you create some sort of box or tick mark out to the side, so that as you take something out of the freezer you can check the box, complete the tick mark etc. so show yourself that it's been removed.

You could in theory, if you weren't like me, know exactly what's in your freezer without opening the door. Or subject your fingers to frostbite looking through all of the packages for that package of ham steaks.

You could say... make up a grocery list or know if you need to buy leg quarters thanks to a great sale you heard about.  Or perhaps you already have 25 lbs of chicken in your freezer and you don't need to buy another single package; especially if one family member is on poultry boycott.

Those are things you could do.

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