Saturday, March 18, 2006

Frost Bites

I'm in trouble. I know it. I blame blogging.
I have a freezer full of food that desperately needs attention.
The problem is that I cruise through the other food blogs, and all of a sudden I find I have a deep, searing, drooling need for [crepinettes, panna cotta, artisan tofu, exotically flavored potato chips, fill in blank _____]. So I buy those things, before I've even managed to consume the fresh food already on the premises.
Then into the freezer it goes.
It's all still edible food, I believe; we've only lived in this place a year and the refrigerator was bought just after we moved. What I'm saying is: The food in there has accumulated, glacially speaking (and we are speaking glacially), relatively recently.
It's all packed well: We wrap food in plastic or store it in plastic tubs, which we then protect with zippered freezer bags.
The problem is I've sort of forgotten what some of the stuff is.
The other problem is we've run out of room.
Oh, I know there are several bags of last summer's tomato sauce. Some great sausages. A couple of tubs of homemade vegetable stock. Um, some turkey... and ham... and chicken... and half a pork chop...
But I've lost control.
May's coming up, and I want to be ship-shape for the Eat Local Challenge. Besides, it's time for a little spring cleaning.
So, for the next two weeks (or however long it takes), I've got a project.
My new name will be Amana Freezerburn.
I'm going to take inventory. I'm going to create meaningful menus. I am not going to buy any food, other than what is absolutely necessary to palatably eat my way through my freezer. (Current contents of the refrigerator are definitely allowed under this diet. Dry or canned contents of the pantry may be used if they will help make logical, intelligent use of the freezer items. Come to think of it, I have a pantry problem too. OK, that will be my next project. After the Eat Local Challenge.)
And I have a name for my plan: The Ice Harvest.


Sam said...

I have to do the same thing.
Mine is full of fatted calf sausages, homemade rillettes and even a turkey. (We don't like turkey and cant eat one that big so may have to give it away)

I didn't go to the market today. I am at work instead, so next week I might have to Ice harvest too.

b'gina said...

Ugh. I have so many packages of bones/shells in the freezer for making broth that I could make gallons, if I ever would. It's so easy to buy decent chicken broth, anyway, that I just open a can. Lazy, lazy.

Sam, you can probably donate that turkey to a soup kitchen or shelter. Most of them will happily take something uncooked and in its original wrapping.

mrs d said...

Wait a sec. You mean, you can open the freezer door and frozen lumps of meat and fish don't come tumbling out onto the floor? You are way too tidy.

cookiecrumb said...

Mrs. D.: No! It's Photoshopped, silly!

Sam: Oh, those 14 (or so) jars of rillettes. Ditch the turkey, and so sorry you're working on the weekend.

B'gina: I got bones. Cooked up the shells not long ago. But I'm kinda bummed out over canned broth. In fact, we have a huge batch of fresh chicken broth in the fridge as of yesterday (sigh). Gotta clear space in the freezer for it.

Jamie said...

Hoo boy, us too. Only some of the frozen stuff has to stay in order for us to do the Challenge! I don't foresee us getting a whole new half-pig by then. And there's some lovely shredded yellow crookneck squash that we won't be able to replace until at least June. What I need to do is take *inventory*, because I have only a very nebulous idea of what's there.

And then I'll do a smaller-scale ice harvest to get ride of things like persimmon pulp, lamb pasties, etc., that are made of exotics.

Joanne said...

We have the same problem!

Jack's solution is a white board that you scrawl on everytime you add or substract something from the freezer. I think it's a great idea... now if only followed our own advice... Our freezer is always full to the brim.

My latest freezing is The Pasta Shop's ravioli which they just start to carry at the Santa Rosa Whole Foods and I'm secretly terrified they might stop so I'm trying to singluarly create a market - don't tell Jack.

Sam said...

I was thinking i could use the turkey to make a big stock

is there any reason it wouldnt work as well as chicken?

That Brazen Tart said...

My freezer is full of bread. Really fabulous bread that I absolutely cannot throw away, but more than I could eat in three months. Also nuts and Filo dough and assorted Trader Joe's products.

It sounds like we all need to pool the contents of our freezers and either a. create one mean feast or b. divy it back up so that everyone has more diversity and, therefore, more usability.

Who's in?

cookiecrumb said...

Jamie: I totally understand your Local situation. You better hang on to what you got. We, on the other hand, need to use up the Kentucky ham before May!
Joanne: Well, see, there's a fine line between freezing leftovers and *hoarding*! :D I love the chalkboard idea, though.
Sam: Totally! Turkey makes an unbelievably great stock. I make tubs of it every year, just from the meaty carcass alone. Loads of gelatin, flavor. (You could use the meat in some Latin preparations, no? Mole. Tortilla casserole. Sopa.)
TBT: Ding ding ding! We have a winner. What a great idea.

kudzu said...

IBT's idea is great: sort of a modern potlatch.

I used to clean out the refrigerator once a week and declare it "cafeteria night" when my kids were little -- they could choose from all the yummy leftovers and eat as much (or as little) as they wanted. I even set the food out in separate bowls, in rows.

I've lived in this house only six months, usually cooking for one, and my freezer is almost full. Arrgh.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: I like "cafeteria night." I bet your kids loved it.
Cranky makes soup every so often from the more "mature" ingredients in the crisper drawers. He calls it "Cream of Bottom of the Refrigerator Soup."
I call it Minestrone. Whatever.

Tea said...

The fridge section is my problem lately. At current count I have two pots of soup, leftovers from the Chana Masala I made off Orangette, leftovers of a chard and garbanzo bean dish (Orangette again), a plate of roasted bell peppers I'm not sure what to do with but they called to me at the market, a pan of braised artichoke hearts (Michael Chiarello's fault there), pasta dough that needs to be rolled out yesterday, leftover kabocha risotto (a recipe on She Craves), herb flavored pizza dough that needs using, two egg yolks I need to deal with, and a pot of chicken stock I need to skim. And that's on top of the usual vegetables, condiments, milk, juice...

But I just had a great idea: I can FREEZE all this stuff!

Thanks for the tip:-)

cookiecrumb said...

Be careful, Tea. Once you get started...

KathyF said...

That's funny, cause I just started my own similar project yesterday. No groceries for a week. I'm eating my way through my veggie bins and pantry.

Well, not the gross stuff. That's going into the rubbish, as I come across it. Found some hairy turnips today. I thought those lasted forever!