September 16, 2010

Food Storage - Freezer Friendly Foods

The first purchase Mr. CHiPy and I made together was this freezer.  I love this thing!  Seriously.  I ♥ it!  We always tell each other it was our best purchase.  And here's why.  Each day I feed my family of six, three meals plus snacks and almost always dessert.  The kids range in age from 10-20 and they all have adult sized appetites...especially that 10 year old!  As a result of all that cooking and baking, I freeze just about everything I can get my hands on.  It's a great way to stock up on sales and it prevents unnecessary trips to the store.  We keep the freezer in the garage in its own little area.

One of the questions I get asked a lot is, "What specifically do you store in your freezer?"  Good question.

And here's the answer in no specific order:  diced onions, peppers, celery, cheese, milk, ice cream, bread, vegetables, cookie dough, butter, orange juice, chicken, meat, fish, shredded/diced potatoes, yogurt (for smoothies) berries, bananas, zucchini, carrots, pesto, waffles, pancakes, rolls, dough, muffins, freezer meals...and just about anything else you can think of.

One of my favorite items to freeze is cheese.  All varieties.  Shredded cheese works best, but sliced cheeses will work also if you let them defrost completely in the fridge before you use them.  Cream cheese and sour cream does not freeze well.  It gets clumpy and separates.  Nasty. On the shelf below the cheese are bags of diced onions and next to those are celery.  I think there are a couple of cookie dough packages there under the onions.  Ha! 
Milk - Mr. CHiPy and the kids drink 2% so that's what I freeze.  Usually I have at least 6 gallons in the freezer and 2 gallons in the fridge at any given time.  To defrost just set the frozen milk out on the counter the night before you need to use it and it defrosts like a charm. Give it a good shake and store it in your fridge.  We have never had a problem with milk going bad this way.   Oh, and don't be freaked out by the frozen yellow milk.  That's the milk fat and it disappears once the milk is defrosted.  No change in the taste or appearance.

Another favorite item I freeze is bread - all types.  I go to the Sara Lee Outlet once a month and I spend about $10 bucks.  It buys me 12 loaves of bread and a variety of rolls.  I ♥ that store!  The bread is always fresh and we have never had a problem with freezer burn.
Vegetables are another  favorite.   The packages from Sams' and Costco hold up really well.  I also freeze shredded zucchini, diced celery, onions, peppers (like I mentioned before).  I think the onions are a favorite of Mr. CHiPy's.  He likes to add them to his occasional morning omelet.

And I think that's about it.  This system works out really well for our family and I highly encourage you to give it a try.