Monday, June 14, 2010

Things I keep in my freezer

Because I've realized I keep some useful (and possibly money saving) things in my freezer that maybe not everyone does.

  • Every time (okay, not every time, but often) I eat/juice a lemon, lime, or orange, I first zest it and freeze the zest.  Have you seen the price of citrus zest?  I can't imagine anyone paying that when you get it for free with your citrus fruits.  Plus those are dried and my guess is not quite as flavorful/fresh.  I've accumulated quite a bit of orange zest especially.
  • Ginger.  I've read it's useful to keep it in the freezer and grate it as you need it, but keep the part you are not using frozen, don't let it thaw unless you are using all of it.
  • Frozen cilantro and basil cubes from Trader Joe's.  They also sell garlic.  And next time I finish a tray, I'll probably make my own, but I haven't decided what I'll put in it.  These are great for eggs or soup.
  • I always have a leftover meal in the freezer.  Right now: veggie chili and also sweet potato and chicken enchiladas.
  • Ice cream.  Enough said.
  • Frozen spinach.  One of the cheapest veggies ever and perfect to throw in eggs/soup/casserole/chickpeas.  Did you know spinach has more protein per calorie than beef?
  • Leftover muffins.  I get sick of eating them before I finish a batch, so I freeze maybe 4-6 for a quick on the go breakfast sometime.  I think bran muffins freeze especially well.  They get a little freezer burnt after a month or two.  I don't really care, but other people might.
  • Edamame.  Protein and vegetable ready after boiling water for a few minutes.
  • Veggie burgers in case I'm feeling extraordinarily lazy/I'm too hungry to think of anything better to make or wait for water to boil (and I don't trust myself to cook anything else to a reasonable point).  Some of them go well on a salad (namely the tomato basil mozzeralla).
  • Frozen fruit.  In winter its cheaper than fresh (and sometimes it is even in summer).  It's good to be able to throw together a smooth or berry sauce all year round.  Plus I almost feel bad cooking anything fresh because I would rather celebrate the raw, fresh, deliciousness.
  • I often have frozen stoplight peppers because they are cheap, but they are not very good.  They're fine for eggs since they are pretty soft once you defrost them, and probably work okay for soups.  These are one of the things where Whole Foods is actually a pretty cheap place to get them.  I think a pound is under $2 (and keep in mind, this is a mixed pound with no stems, seeds, or placenta, red peppers are usually around $4 a pound fresh here).
  • Butter.  I read recently that unsalted butter should be used within 2 weeks of purchase and since I've drastically cut down on baking, I go through butter exceptionally slowly.  The two week rule might apply to fresh, unpasteurized butter, you know the good stuff you SHOULD buy, but I've found I use less when I only have a tablespoon or whatever is leftover from last time I used it in a recipe, which saves more money.  Plus I buy ahead when it's on sale.
  • On the same note, cheese is good after it's sell by date if it's been kept in the freezer, so this means you can buy when it's on sale and keep it good.
And what food have I been dreaming about lately?  Ice cream.  I've decided this is a luxury I cannot afford after I finish the key lime pie yogurt in my freezer, unless I stumble coupons to get it free (I may have signed up for every birthday list EVER and lied about my birthday on some of them, so I'll have ice cream coupons periodically for a few months).  But this is irrelevent because the ice cream I've been dreaming of is from Jeni's, not that I've ever been there, but it comes up every time I talk to one of my friends.  Good thing flights to Columbus are cheap and I have a floor to sleep on there.  I'm hoping to make it out there some time, just for the ice cream (well, and to see Katie),  I might have to figure out how to make ice cream this summer.

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