Tuesday Tip: A Freezer is a Cook’s Best Friend

I never knew what I was missing until I received an upright freezer that my husband and I put in our garage. Instead of being limited to the refrigerator freezer in my kitchen, all of a sudden I could store five times the amount of food that I could before. Some of you might be thinking, “Why would you need that much freezer space?” I’m so glad you asked! Let me tell you!

Here is a picture of my garage freezer from last week:

freezer

What might (and usually does) look like a mess of piles of food, is the ability for me to take advantage of good sale prices on meat, extra frozen baked goods to pull out when I need or want something but don’t have the time to bake it, or frozen fresh fruits and vegetables we picked from our garden or local farms to preserve the harvest year-round.

Here’s what’s in there:

  • Strawberry Freezer Jam
  • Mixed Berry Freezer Jam
  • Frozen Corn off the Cob, Blueberries
  • Slow Cooker Freezer Meals: Chicken Chili, Mexican Chicken Soup, and Chicken Curry
  • Puff Pastry
  • Extra bags of Homemade Hot Dog Buns
  • Bags of Muffins: Plain Muffins, Morning Glory Muffins, Blueberry Muffins
  • Chocolate Zucchini Cake, Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes
  • Loaves of sandwich bread
  • Chicken breasts, thighs, and drumsticks
  • Brats
  • Ice cream maker bowl (so it’s always ready!)
  • Ice
  • The plastic bags at the bottom are candy… Ha! Mostly M&Ms, Hershey Kisses, and Hershey Miniatures. I buy clearanced candy after the holidays and refill a container in our house that gets used for dessert when we don’t have something else prepared. It’s also handy to have for GORP, Pretzel M&Ms, or Peanut Butter Blossoms.

The door of the garage freezer usually holds quick breads, homemade stock, soups, or frozen bags of fruit.

freezer 2

The top shelf holds my bread and butter: corn and blueberries. There is more than corn in Indiana, but we certainly have a lot of it and it’s fantastic! My husband and I shucked, boiled, and cut off the corn of 12 1/2 dozen ears of corn last summer. This is what’s left! I did enough to give us about one bag of corn a week. Cheaper AND tastes so much better than store-bought frozen corn.

Katie and I go to a local organic blueberry farm with our kids every summer and pick blueberries. I think all told I picked about 20 pounds and bought another 20 pounds of already-picked berries. Yes, that’s a lot! I bake with them, freeze much of those baked goods, freeze berries in 3 cup bags, and we eat them hand over fist until they’re all gone!

freezer 3

This is my refrigerator freezer:

Here is where I keep more of the items that I want on a daily basis:

  • Frozen Active Dry Yeast and Instant Yeast
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Frozen Ice Trays for our snow cone maker
  • Sandwich bread
  • Chocolate chips
  • Nuts (Pine nuts, pecans, walnuts)
  • Pie crusts, graham cracker dough
  • One bag of frozen blueberries

I hope this may give you some ideas of ways to use your freezer to help you out. It can often be so easy to double a recipe–whether that be a meal or soup, bread, English muffins, quick bread, or cookies–and stick what you won’t eat right away in the freezer. You get the convenience of frozen pre-made food with the quality of homemade excellence. How do you take advantage of your freezer? Let us know! Happy freezing!

~ Theresa

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About Cooking for the Fam

Katie and Theresa are sisters-in-law who are passionate about food, passionate about family, and passionate about making and sharing food with their families. The Fam needs to eat. Make it good!
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