I was reading a local blogger talking about freezing wine today and there was total backlash in response. As well there should be when you talk about drinking it after freezing. However, I do freeze leftover wine to cook with later. And to me, that's just fine. Nigella Lawson even agrees with me on this one. ;)
It got me to thinking about what else I stash in my freezer to have on hand. And it's actually quite a bit. I realized that I use my freezer as a second pantry. I understand in these trying economic times, we are all striving to save money. The freezer can definitely aid and abet in this area. And I thought that in sharing what I keep, it might be useful & inspiring to someone. So, here goes the top 10 things I stash in my freezer:
1. Wine - As I already stated, any leftover wine goes right in the freezer. I actually used some frozen, left-over pinot grigio in my Easter gougeres yesterday.
2. Bread - I always buy a cheap whole grain baguette at the market on shopping day. Merely to bring it home, slice half of it into rounds and the other half into small squares to throw into the freezer. This way I can have homemade croutons for soup/salad or a crostini appetizer on the whim.
3. Herbs - You have to be careful here, some herbs, such as Basil can be tempermental. But I find that chopping up flat leaf parsley, blotting the water out of it and throwing it into a baggie to freeze works quite well! Other good herbs to throw into a container and freeze directly are sage, tarragon, chives and thyme. For basil, I will chop it fine, place in a baggie and pour in enough water to just cover the basil(roll up the baggie so all air is pressed out and basil is all at the bottom). This creates a little frozen herb log that I can break a hunk off of at any time to throw into a pasta sauce. Herbs in this form are not good in place of fresh in a salad etc.
4. Homemade Chicken Stock - Invariably, whenever I make a whole chicken, the next day I will make stock. I store the stock in freezer baggies in 1/2 cup increments. This pretty much guarantees easy measurement and less waste.
5. Whole Coffee Beans - There's a lot of arguement surrounding the freezing of coffee beans relating to whether freezing is good for the bean or not. Personally, I've not had a problem and since I'm the only coffee drinker in my house, it takes a while for me to go through a pound. Thus, my freezing method does keep things fresher for me, longer.
6. Nuts - Pine nuts, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts(Best in Show flashback anyone?) - you name the nut, it's probably in my freezer. Since nuts are rife with natural oil, they eventually will go rancid if stored too long unused. Thus, I always throw them into the freezer upon opening a package. Great to grab a handful to toast up and throw into salads.
7. The Usual Suspects - meat, veggies, maybe a lean cuisine or 3
8. Leftover Tomato Sauce or Paste - I will place separate tablespoons of paste in a freezer baggie, in order to be able to grab it quickly later in the quantity I need to throw it into sauce or chili.
9. Blueberries - I always throw these suckers in a freezer baggie before they turn on me. The hubs and I are usually good about finishing these up fresh, but not always. Therefore, whatever leftover blueberries hit the freezer usually become part of a blueberry pancake on Sundays!
10. A Bottle of Stoli - My inner Edina insists on this. 'Nuff said.
I hope this was helpful to someone or at the very least made you realize that the freezer isn't always where good food goes to die! ;)
* BT = Bella Tip