I don’t know whether this is unusual, but you will never find frozen meals in our freezer. I am aware that people cook meals in batches, and I once knew a family who bought supermarket ready-meals, but that just isn’t our way. We’ve always cooked our dinners from scratch for immediate consumption, with a large component of fresh vegetables.
Instead, we use our freezer to smooth out the gluts and prevent wastage.
Firstly there are the vegetable gluts. Some is pickled but the rest is frozen, either cooked (beetroot, pumpkin and artichokes) or raw (beans, peas, spinach and courgettes).
Then there is the excess fruit, foraged and grown: raspberries, blackberries, sliced apples, stewed apple, cooked rhubarb and gooseberries. Not strawberries – they are better as jam.
Thirdly there are the homemade ingredients, like tomato sauce and chicken stock. I make bread every 3 days so we eat fresh on day 1 and freeze the remainder for days 2&3.
Meat for up to 12 meals. We have a slow roast about once a month – pork, lamb and beef in rotation – then portion the cooked meat for the freezer. It’s far cheaper and tastier than buying steak or chops. There’s usually some jointed raw chicken in the freezer too, or reclaimed chicken from the stock pot.
Above all, I’ve discovered that the freezer is invaluable for preventing the waste of items like
- Half a block of feta. We only need half a block at a time and once opened feta goes off quickly so we freeze the other half for the next meal. It’s exactly the same after defrosting!
- Tomato paste. Half-used jars can go mouldy quickly, so we divide and freeze. I don’t use tubes any more.
- Leftover pastry. On the rare occasions that we make pastry, any excess is frozen for use as crumble topping in winter.
- Half a can or batch of beans.
- Leftover gravy or slow roast juices. For use as a soup base or meat-flavoured risotto.
I never let things hang around in the freezer too long. We did once manage to freeze a year’s supply of courgettes, and the berries last all winter, but everything else is used within days or weeks. Frozen food does get past its best and there is little point in having a freezer full of food for the sake of it.
Text and Images (C) Claire @theslowfix A slow food devotee, Claire is constantly searching for new ways to enable us all to live sustainably.
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