Even though we are OFFICIALLY an EMPTY NEST, both of my freezers- inside and out in the garage- are filled to the brim with contents. It’s always been this way, but even more so now that we’re alone. That’s because there are so many items that exist best in the freezer. It’s not just for ice cream and frozen dinners!
This is also the one that drives my husband the craziest. Year ago, I told him I was saving bread crusts to feed the birds at a nearby park. One night, after a few too many wines, he took out all the bread from my “bread drawer” in the freezer and put a big sign that said “FEED THE BIRDS!” I felt like I was in a Mary Poppins movie. Anyway, bread tends to go bad with just two of us to eat it, so I typically store the bread I use for toast in the freezer. Also, if I have some of a loaf left over, I will freeze it to make garlic bread, croutons or simply put it in foil and reheat. You can also make bread crumbs with it in the Cuisinart, but if you’re not going to use them right away, you should freeze them because, without preservatives, they spoil quickly.
I love raspberries but they can go bad right after you buy them. If they haven’t been eaten in a couple days, I put them in the freezer to be thrown into my morning smoothies. I also add a couple to my glass of Prosecco to keep it chilled without diluting it. I took this theory a step further for Valentines Day and froze two raspberries with cranberry juice into a heart-shaped ice tray mold to be plopped into drinks. Before bananas go bad, I peel them and pop them in the freezer, again for smoothies, banana bread or easy baby food.
I love spinach in my smoothies and sauteed, but if it’s on the verge of turning to slime, I throw it in the freezer, in the bag it came in. It does tend to shrink up, but still works excellently in smoothies or sauteed in garlic and olive oil.
#4 Parmesan Cheese Rinds
I like to buy good Parmesan or Locatelli Cheese, but the rinds can’t be used to grate, so I throw them into the freezer. I use them in my Nanny’s Pasta Sauce to add a depth of flavor and to Italian Soups like Minestrone. Discard before serving soup or sauce.
#5 Butter Wrappers
This sounds weird, but if you’ve taken a stick out to use, there’s always some soft butter that clings to the paper. Fold it over and stick it in your freezer to use to grease a cookie sheet, brownie pan or whenever you need to grease anything with a little shmear.
#6 Celery Leaves
When I cut celery slices to snack on, the tender leaves are always left, so I’ve taken to freezing them to use to make a delicious broth- either chicken or vegetarian. I also freeze herb stems (like parsley) for this purpose, as well as onion skins. Waste not, want not!
This is kind of a weird one, but when I was at a Farmer’s Market, faced with a huge pile of jalapenos, I remarked to the person selling them that I loved jalapenos, but didn’t need that many. She said she just freezes them whole, so that was what I did. And when I found Thai chili peppers, a pepper that isn’t a Publix, at the Homestead Farmer’s Market, I bought a bag and froze them to have on hand for recipes. Frozen peppers won’t work like fresh ones- for example sliced on sushi or in sandwiches- but works well in any recipe where they are cooked.
They sell frozen roasted corn at Trader Joes, so why not freeze leftover corn at home? You could freeze uncooked cobs, cooked cobs or slice it off the cob to freeze. Since they usually come in packs of four and we are only two, I like to boil them all and freeze two.
When I make Chicken Thighs, either in the over, on the stove or on the grill, I cut off the excess skin. I can’t bear to throw away that precious fat, but so far I haven’t figured out what to do with it. It is practices like this that cause my husband to call me a hoarder.
Food waste is a major problem in the United States with 108 Billion Pounds of food being wasted every year. That’s 40% of all the food in America! Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution and let your freezer become your new best friend.
Love is my religionBob Marley
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