When we started thinking about the whole “getting back to our roots”, my mind immediately went to canning. I was never taught the art of canning and preserving, but the internet being what it is, I figured it wouldn’t be hard to learn. One thing I didn’t give much thought to, especially in a hotel, was freezing.
Two weekends ago, I broke out the crock pot my sister, EQ, loaned me (most of my kitchen is packed up an hour from here) and made corned beef and cabbage stew. Last weekend, we made a big crock of pulled bbq chicken.
It’s just the two of us, and both times, we made way more than two people can eat at one time.
I have a very basic kitchen here. The room came with a microwave and a micro-fridge. That was it. I bought a coffee maker and a single electric burner (we prefer gas but it’s not an option in a hotel room) and borrowed a crock pot from my sister.
Space is also very limited here. If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel room without a mini-kitchen, you’ll know what I mean, so my options for having a lot is limited.
I hate to loose food. I’ve gone hungry before, so I have a lot of respect for having it (and for the money it takes to buy it when you can’t grow or raise your own) and every time I throw something edible away, it’s like a little part of me dies.
So, even in a hotel room, I’m very mindful of waste.
Here I was with an excess of absolutely yummy food (hubby and I are both pretty good cooks, by the way) that I was going to loose. Canning here just really isn’t an option because of space, so I had no idea what to do.
Then it hit me. My freezer, such as it is, was almost empty. Other than freezing the meats, it doesn’t usually see much use. We’re not big on frozen foods, preferring to make our own when we can, so there’s some unused real estate going on in there -or there was anyway.
I have never done much freezing. We’ve always been more of a “eat it till it’s gone” family. This helps prevent loss of food, but it can be boring. I’ve read a lot on freezing though and I must admit, I’m a bit of a fanatic about Food Network, cooking shows and recipe and cooking sites, so I know a little bit about it.
I decided freezing was my best option here and I stood to loose no more than I would if it sat in the fridge.
I left some of the cabbage in the fridge for Paul, that’s the hubby if you’re wondering, and put the rest in a freezer bag with as much air out as I could manage. The rest of the chicken went the same way.
Since then, I did pull the chicken back out, thawed it and reheated it. Other than a moment of guilt for not “cooking”, where I reminded myself that this was food we had cooked, it was good. I added some of the homemade bbq sauce and a little water and it tasted like it had fresh from the crock.
Now, I’m all about freezing. It was nice to be able to pull a fully pre-cooked meal from the freezer and just have to heat it.
I used to think that people that made ahead and froze things were cheating in some way. My mom didn’t start with freezing things until after my little brother finally left home and I won’t lie, I kind of turned my nose up at it a little. Now, I understand why she did it.
Cooking for two, especially when you’ve spent years cooking for more people -and our house was always where everyone showed up at meal times, so I made extra- can take some getting used to. I often find myself with more than we can eat before it goes bad now. Freezing has suddenly become a life-saver, as well a helping hand if it’s a busy day. Now I’m kicking myself for not trying it sooner!
Do you freeze cooked foods or uncooked ingredients? Is there anything you’ve found that doesn’t freeze well?