Wednesday, November 19, 2008

As The Food Turns: Freezer Edition

Joss left this comment on last Saturday's fridge post:
"I really enjoy your fridge clean-out posts... I was just wondering though - have you ever considered freezing leftovers and sauces/soups? We inevitably have too much and freezing helps them last longer (although it can clog up the freezer sometimes)."
As a matter of fact, I have considered that. I even have in my freezer a number of foil pans containing dinner leftovers that, in theory, reheat easily. But when I do decide to have a freezer dinner, somehow they never taste very good. At least, no one seems to want to eat them.

I also attempt to save odds and ends that would be useful in future meals. In fact, there are various and sundry items I have thriftily frozen and then forgotten in our kitchen freezer, aka "the black hole." You can see some of them below, to the right. (By the way, I had just managed to snap this picture when the whole tower came tumbling down.)

Let's take it from the top, all right? We have an Amy's frozen burrito, which is strange, as I have never, ever bought one of these overpriced uber-organic fast foodstuffs myself. I think it may have ended up in my freezer during my friend's kitchen remodel last June. Feel free to comment if you want it back!

Next are 2 baggies of bread cubes. I don't know when I put them in there, and I have no idea what I meant to do with them. Which may explain why they are still here...

Next up - frozen strawberries, handpicked by the children in May of 2007. Yup. I guess I was saving them for a special occasion that never happened.

Below the strawberries is a cylindrical container of ice. Why? Because our electric snow-cone maker demanded ice in this exact shape. We became mindless slaves to this tyrannical appliance, as evidenced by the bag of cylindrical-shaped ice blocks below:


What is really odd is that I no longer even own said snow cone maker.

Below the ice (first picture) are 2 containers of cooked pumpkin from Halloween 2007. Again, that special occasion for which I was saving them must not have occurred. Does anyone know if this stuff might still be good? I put an awful lot of work into it.

Holding everything up is a gladware container of what I think was canned tomato sauce. I must have frozen it after using half a can for dinner one night, just as Joss recommends. And then I promptly forgot about it.

Joss, does this answer your question?




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22 comments:

  1. My sainted husband handles the freezer-cleaning duties. He never comments on all well-intentioned but freezer-burned leftovers. And that is why I love him.

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  2. You are reminding me that I really must cook up some freezer soup next week! I've been collecting dibs and dabs of leftovers (beans here, corn there, spaghetti, etc., etc.) and then I throw it all in a soup pot and call it supper! My eats-anything boy & I love it, SuperDad appreciates the frugality of it, and the rest of them? Eh, not so much. Too bad.

    I know there are dates that your freezer items are supposed to be held to: 2 months here, 6 months there, an occasional year. I have a separate deep freeze kept at Zero Degrees, so I figure that is good for a little longer. No one has ever gotten sick from eating food at my house! So if you have been keeping your freezer at Zero Degrees, some of that stuff is still good! Just use it up soon. I think I smell pumpkin bread....

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  3. Here's my little secret: I keep a sharpie and a roll of painter's masking tape in the kitchen drawer next to the ziploc baggies. Whenever I put something into tupperware (I'm using lowercase brandnames because I usually buy the cheap stuff), I tear off a 3-inch strip of tape, slap it on the lid, and label contents & date with the sharpie. It helps lessen the mysteries of the black hole. When I forget to do this? I regret it.

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  4. My guess is, if it's in the freezer it's bound to still be good. We have shredded zucchini in our freezer from pre-millenium I think. You'll also notice that we're not really using any of it.

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  5. I am guilty of Tupperware containers (the actual brand of it, since I used to sell it & have LOTS) in the freezer with mystery substances. I've occasionally defrosted them just to see what they were. I was then forced to either use it or toss it because I don't want to be one of those defrost-refreeze people, and risk making my crew ill. They're already picky as it is.
    I'm also known for empty containers, sometimes with ice in them, because it helps the freezer's efficiency since the machines like to be full and I can't always keep them that way. Devildog took all the empties out one time and I nearly thumped him. He still hasn't installed 2 cabinets, yet he's expecting me to find a place for the containers?
    And kcinnova, it's a great idea. I don't know about the Messier crew, but mine would assume the tape and marker are there for their entertainment, and I wouldn't have it available when I NEEDED it to be there. Someone would be mummified in blue tape, I'm sure.

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  6. Just found your blog. I enjoy your humor. I'm scared to go into my deep freezer. I know there are some things in the bottom that have probably been there for a year and a half or more...I'll add it to my "honey do" list.

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  7. Generally speaking, anything stored in a refrigerator freezer should be used within 6 months. You can go up to a year (or longer) for things stored in a traditional deep freezer (provided they're properly packaged of course).

    So, I think the pumpkin needs to go. Bon Voyage, Fresh Pumpkin!

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  8. I generally regard the idea of how long things are good for in the freezer as more of how long they will taste best. I've certainly eaten frozen strawberries that were much older than that - they were delicious in smoothies.

    Meat tends to get freezer burnt/dried out and not taste as good, but we've still eaten it - and not ever gotten sick.

    I would definitely throw that tomato sauce into my next soup and not think anything of it.

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  9. Lordy, I have a head of cabbage in the back left corner of the bottom shelf in my fridge I need you to deal with.

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  10. Ah, the freezer--an even more mysterious lair for foodstuffs than the fridge.

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  11. . . . and not ONE of the items in that photo was so covered with freezer burn as to be virtually unrecognizable. Impressive.

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  12. We just ordered a bunch of products to be delivered to our house, and most of those were for the freezer. I just did a freezer clean-up too! We have a huge freezer {about 6 feet wide} so I tend to find all kinds of stuff... like popsicles that I bought in the 1990s. lol

    Thanks for the post. :)

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  13. My beloved 92 year old grandfather (my twins' GREAT-grandpa) has purchased our Thanksgiving turkey. Already. When he asked if he could buy it, I neglected to tell him NOT to buy it until a few days before when we could just let it thaw for lack of space in the freezer.

    A little good/warming news: there's an award waiting for you at my blog! :)

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  14. but those round ice blocks haven't gone bad.... just thaw them out and use! lol!

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  15. I'm the fridge/freezer Nazi in my house. But we are the kind of couple that will cook all day long and then have food stored in the freezer for weeks.

    By the way, I'm writing a book on preserving food and I have to agree with other commenters - 6 mo to a year max on food. Those strawberries have to go, honey.

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  16. I'd still use the tomato paste. BTW, when I open a can of tomato paste, I drop left overs in little spoonfuls on a long sheet of plastic wrap, twist it up like sausages, and chuck it on the freezer door. That way, when I need to thicken spaghetti sauce into pizza sauce, I just snip off the last "link" and zap it for 30 seconds. (Me? Cheap? Nah...)

    I lust after a deep freeze, but I can't decide whether to get an upright or chest freezer.

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  17. That isn't too bad. And I noticed whoever bought that overpriced junk food made sure it was NON dairy. Well trained children, or the one who bought it is the allergic one.

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  18. I love these posts, too. ;-) My stepson is no longer allowed to purchase any frozen foods - because the freezer is going to explode.

    I am impressed by the pumpkin though. Other than pumpkin pie, I have no idea what one uses pumpkin for.

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  19. Halloween 2007? Wow, that's old school. I'm impressed.

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  20. Oh, don't get me started on freezers. I think as long as it isn't freezer burned and it can be cooked into something, it should be good. Pumpkin pie?

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  21. We had a big freezer, a freebie from the neighbors that died. We haven't bothered to replace it, as stuff would get lost in there. The fridge freezer is big enough that we use up most of the contents every few months. I try to go through it every month or so, before my massive trip to costco, to see what we need to finish and what we are running out of. Frozen waffles are always needed- most of my kids love them for breakfast and I don't have to do anything.

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  22. LOL :) Yes, of course and it totally makes sense. We've had horrible experiences with frozen strawberries and frozen tuna helper and various other things too. And the inevitable black hole of frozen stuff is perhaps why we haven't invested in a deep freezer, because stuff would go in and never come out again.

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