Since living in Jakarta I have discovered my freezer. I never really used my freezer well in Australia mainly, I think, because there was no need to. If I needed something and didn’t have it I could jump in the car, go and get it and be home in around 20 minutes. Not quite the case here in Jakarta!
As I now think about my freezer and how I use it, 2 people come to mind. Firstly my mum. She could always dive into the freezer (of which we always had two) and pull out cakes, preserved fruit, all types of meat, and complete meals that just needed defrosting and heating. It seems that no matter what came up or who popped in for a visit or meal she could go to her freezer and pull out what she needed.
Secondly is my girlfriend. Her freezer is jammed packed full goodies – broths, stocks, leftovers and hidden treasures. I can remember always thinking “How is she going to fit that in the freezer? or “Where did she get that from?” Her freezer help her cook a yummy meals.
In my opinion, they are two very different types of freezers – old school and new school. Both are well used and I think I have a bit of both in my freezer. If you open the door and have a look inside my freezer you will find a variety of items such as pesto, broths, meat, veggies, fruit, leftovers, tomato pasta sauce, and fats. All of the different freezers help to save with food waste which is important I think.
I have worked out that it is very convenient here to have some staples in the freezer as popping to the shop for me can be quite a journey. I have also learnt that when you see an item in the store you grab it and one (or more) for the cupboard or freezer.
One important area to remember is food safety so here is a guideline from Sarah Wilson’s website –
How long to freeze your food for:
•Meat soups: 2 months.
•Vegetable soups: 3 months.
•Cooked meat: 2 months. (If possible, slightly undercook any meat that is going to be reheated.)
•Cooked fish: 1 month.
•Partially cooked and frozen vegetables: 3-6 months. (Generally they don’t need to be defrosted prior to cooking, although some leafy green vegetables are much easier to separate if defrosted a little bit first.)
•Baked muffins: 3 months. (Freeze in individual bags or in a single container with sheets of freeze paper between the muffins so they can be easily separated.)
Here’s how I do it:
•Use snap lock bags for freezing – meat, veggies and fruits.
•Par cook my veggies until they are about 60% done, then put in cold water to stop the cooking process and finally, place in zip lock bags – take out as much air as possible then freeze. I buy up big when veggies and fruit are in season and freeze them in this way.
•All leftovers are frozen ready for another meal or someones lunch
•If I make too much rice or pasta it is frozen
•When I make big batches of pesto, wrap them in cling wrap in a sausage shape then freeze them. When I need to add pesto I cut off the amount I need.
•Freeze leftover sauces, small amounts in cube trays and for larger amounts I use old jam jars that Ive collected.
•I get big blocks of cheese here so I grate them and put them in ziplock bags to freeze
A few other ideas from Sarah –
In writing this post, I realise that one area I do need to work on is labelling and dating my ziplock bags and containers so that I know what it is and when I put it in the freezer. That way I will know what gems I have hiding in my freezer!
A final bit of information; how you defrost your frozen gems is also quite important. One should defrost foods in the fridge, not on the kitchen bench as the slower you defrost, the closer it resembles its pre-frozen state.
Sarah has some other good tips on this webpage – http://www.sarahwilson.com/2016/04/14-fave-freezer-hacks-you-can-pin-on-your-fridge-now/
A few photos of some of the gems I keep in my freezer….
Oil to reuse in a jar, veggies in ziplock bags, my pesto sausages, tomato pasta sauce, and grated cheese.