Thursday, October 25, 2012

Frozen on the Homestead: A freezing tutorial!

It's still a balmy seventy degrees above zero on the homestead, so, if we're gonna talk about freezin' we gotta talk 'bout 'lectricity and fancy ice boxes!   Freezin's my favorite way to preserve all sorts of chow: fresh vegetables, roasted veggies, fruits, sauces, pestos, ginger, cookies, cakes, even avocados and tofu!  We'll get to all those characters in a minute.

My icebox looks like a barn after a tornado!

 Bottom drawer of freezer.

Top drawer!
 Top drawer's a damn mess!

Gotta make her as clear as the plains after a dust storm so we have room for all our stuff. Making room was mostly removing ice packs from Hurricane Irene last year. I had way too many ice packs in there taking up precious space.  This new gal, Sandy, better not make her way up north!
 Continuing to organize that bottom drawer...Once you know where all your horses are and the pigs are in the pen, then, you can add more fellas to the barn.

Freeze that grated zucchini (see it near my ice cubes, below?) You can use it for zucchini bread or soups in the winter!  Press your freezer bags full of goodies nice and flat, get the air out, and stack 'em real neat right in your freezer.  Like stackin' dollar bills at the bank!
 Freeze those bananas (above, right)!  It ain't warm enough here to have your own banana tree!
When bananas are ripe to overripe (brown speckled at least), peel and put in your freezer bags.  Roll or fold the bag gently over the bananas and squeeze the air out.  Air's the enemy of your frozen stuff!  You can chop them or freeze them whole, no matter.

 The ol' veggie burger & veggie sausage bin!

 I still have a nice slice o' Isa's Seitan Roast from last Thanksgivin' and I'll bet she's still good!  I wrapped her nice and tight, gonna have to give her a try soon.

Peppers and Onions: 
Cook them first and let them cool.  Pack into freezer bags, squeeze the air out, and stack in your freezer with your zucchini :-)  Use later for soups, pasta sauces, pizzas, etc.  If the consistency isn't to your liking when thawed, just blend 'em up into sauce!  I roasted my farm fennel and added that to the roasted peppers below.  YUM!

There are the peppers, below, on the left.  Below them is a bag of frozen roasted butternut squash mash.    After you roast, cool, scrape, mash and season your squash, just stick it in a bag and freeze.  I figure I can also use that in soups and sauces, and maybe even in a pie, later in the winter.

And see that big green bag in the center? That's my veggie stock bag. Veggie scraps good for making stock go in there, when it's full, I make stock.  Looks pretty full!
Always keep your Daiya cheese in the freezer, too! It lasts months that way, and I just use it right out of the freezer whenever I want it, and it's fine. And I always keep the base of my ice cream maker in my freezer, for ice cream emergencies!

Top shelf of freezer, reorganized!
 I froze some CSA onion stock, too, see it in the bottom left corner?  French Onion Soup, anyone?

Here's what it really looks like b/c I always have tortillas in my freezer for burritos!
I know, not as pretty!

Anyway, here are even more of the things I freeze and how to do it:

Sauces & Pestos: 
I freeze any sauce type thing in an ice cube tray, then pop out the cubes and store them in freezer bags. You could do this with soups to make individualized servings! 

Peel ginger with a spoon (a trick I learned from Jacques Pepin, it works really well! A knife or peeler never worked for me), chop into about one inch pieces, and freeze!  Throw into smoothies, soups, sauces, etc. as needed.  If you have a VitaMix, just pulverize that thing into foam, haha. 

Frozen ginger, ready for action!

Also, every year I make sure to get a case of Champagne Mangoes (Whole Foods has them) because they are THE BEST.  I peel and chop all the ones we don't eat, then freeze them for smoothies (and baking!):
Ready for the freezer!


I could try freezing this--it's my recipe for Tofu Bahn Mi!

Baked Treats:
I also freeze quick breads, cupcakes, muffins, etc.  Just let them cool completely, and wrap tightly in foil (I cut the breads into serving-sized slices before wrapping), and stick in a freezer bag.

You sure as heck wanna make sure you don't waste a sweet piece!

One of the best storage tricks I've learned (I forget where!) is that you can store (unripe or ripe) avocados in the refrigerator!  Then just take them out a day or two before you plan to use them so they can finish ripening at room temperature.  They keep for WEEKS in the fridge with no noticeable deterioration in quality.  I hear you can also peel and chop them and store them in the freezer (like the mango, above).  I eat's my avocados, so fridge is good enough for me.

I keep my nuts in the freezer, too, so they don't go rancid.

Oh, and my cookies:

Put cooked and cooled beans into a freezer bag in 2 cup measures and freeze for easy use in recipes. I do this with leftover beans when I make a big pot in my pressure cooker.

Some people freeze whole tomatoes (the texture changes, obviously, but then they are used for sauce).
I'd rather process 'em into marinara and jar 'em.

You can freeze whole berries like strawberries or blueberries on a baking sheet.  Wash and dry berries, freeze so they aren't touching and don't stick together.  Once frozen (after a few hours or overnight) transfer to a freezer bag and use in sauces, muffins, breads, etc.  

Gollee!  As ya'll can see, I freeze almost everything I can think of.

What's your favorite thing to freeze?  Let's see who'll be the tall hog at the trough*!

Homesteadin' it October 1st through October 31st, 2012

*Tall hog at the trough=a leader, someone with outstanding qualities


  1. Ha ha, I'll trade you weather! Stick something outside today and it would freeze here! And I won't lie, I'm pretty envious of your burger/sausage bin. :) I've never had champagne mangoes before, but adding the word 'champagne' definitely makes them sound fancy! My freezer is full of frozen nuts and's just a tiny little thing above the fridge though, not much capacity there!

    1. Best not to leave your horse outside tied to the post, then!

      And Champagne mangoes are the only kind The Sheriff eats. He's picky about mangoes.


  2. This tutorial is awesome! I've just started making food in bulk and I've been wondering about what/how to freeze all of it - thanks!

    1. Thanks, Ashley! I've figured out over the years that you can freeze most things if you do it right! If you have a question, just try freezing it and see what happens :-)

  3. Thanks for sharing! I'm always looking for ways to improve my freezer situation!

    1. No problem. Thanks for tyin' your horse to my post, anony!

    2. ha ha! I commented on this post the other day, but I don't think it showed up. Anyway, this is epic, and your freezer is way better prepared for peak oil than mine is.


    3. Yup, that damn Blogger's sure been hidin' comments from The Sheriff! Sorry, Miss Kittee! Seems to be fixed right now.


  4. Super helpful post, thanks so much! I'm trying to freeze more stuff, but I wish I knew about grated zucchini while I had a glut this summer!


    1. Sorry 'bout them zucchs, Kittee! Next season, then?


  5. I just finished with my lemons (they're in season in Aus) I zest them, freeze it, juice them and freeze into ice cube trays. Perfect for when the trees are groaning with yellow goodness.
    I like freezing herbs too, just wash chop and freeze flat, they work wonderfully.
    Great post! :)

    1. Thank ya', Claire! I'm green with envy over your lemon trees!

  6. Woah! I wish I had that much freezer space, I love that ice cube tray trick too, I always use it for pesto!

    1. Jojo, get rid o' them damn ice packs from your hurricane prep and you'll see how much more space you have! Haha, I know, it's tough with them teeny tiny city freezers. Had me one for many years.

      Have you considered another freezer? Even The Sheriff has!


  7. You definitely make good use of your freezer! I always freeze Daiya too. I don't have to worry about it going bad, and like you said, it can still be used right out of the bag.

    1. Yup, that there Daiya costs an arm and a leg! The Sheriff always freezes her!