A friend of mine recently asked Stay At Home Mum - Secret To Living On One Wage about 'freezing lamingtons'. Being the fantastic site that it is, loads of women offered advice ranging from 'sure, we do it' to 'no, if the label says 'has already been frozen and defrosted for your convenience', I wouldn't do it.' So I piped up with 'you don't even want to know what I freeze!' And now I need to blog about it to justify myself.
Basically, if it fits in my freezer, consider it able to be frozen.
I know I'm probably going to cop a lot of flack about this, so I would like to preface this blog with the fact that we live in a fairly remote part of Australia. Not TOO remote, but then again, I don't know too many people who would be happy doing an 80km round trip for a lonely bottle of milk or loaf of bread. Obviously this method of existing isn't going to suit everyone, and I'm not advocating it as the best way of living either. I learned pretty early on that if you don't freeze anything, you spend a lot of money on fuel. So here's how it works FOR ME. If it makes you angry, please bite your tongue. I do what I do. It hasn't killed any of us yet, and I'm actually pretty careful about all this. It doesn't suit everyone, but then again, neither does life in the bush. Before you walk in my shoes, please don't judge me too harshly.
In our freezer you will find:
1. Milk and bread.
The dates on the labels frighten some people, but I have learned that the success of this process is all in the defrosting. Take your time, be organised, and whatever you do, DON'T leave it on the kitchen sink in the summer overnight. Never had an issue with it. Ever.
We live on a farm. I see the whole 'circle of life', and I'm responsible for clearing out space in the freezers to make room for it all. We have 3 freezers primarily for this reason. The key is to label and date all packages, and be aware of safe storage lengths. Never had an issue with this either. Again, the key is to defrost slowly in a refrigerator. I never refreeze ANYTHING that has been defrosted at home. I am VERY cautious of chicken, and I have a whole set of rules alone for this product.
3. Baked goods.
I have an entire shelf in one of our freezers dedicated to baked goods, and another one for the products involved in the making of baked goods. Flour, sugar, cocoa, chocolate, bread crumbs etc. They all get infested with weevils and god knows what other creepy crawlies in our summer heat out here. But they are perfectly safe inside the freezer. Sometimes brown sugar has a tendency to go hard, but it's nothing a bit of defrosting can't fix (or a slice of lemon in the container can't fix). I've also learned that defrosting items in small amounts is handy too.
4. Pre-cooked meals.
Because my husband is 'kitchen-ly challenged', whenever I am going away, or just wanting to be organised, I cook meals in bulk and label and freeze them. This comes down to the type of food you cook of course. Stew - yes, no problems. Quiche - no. Completely awful if frozen. There are cookbooks dedicated to this point.
Milk aside, here's where it gets tricky. I have frozen almost every dairy you can imagine. Here's a few no-no's. Sour cream, cream, soft cheeses, dips etc. can't be defrosted quickly. If you have the patience, cream and sour cream will defrost in a refrigerator, but I refuse to freeze cheeses I want to serve when friends come over for nibblies. They are never quite the same. Also, some sandwich cheeses don't freeze well either, and become crumbly after defrosting. It depends on the brand, but as a general rule, I only freeze block cheese at a pinch. Grated cheese LOVES the freezer. No issues at all.
I need it there. It's a safe place. It will never freeze. But will make you feel warm and happy when you take it out to consume. Do not confuse vodka with beer or Coke. Bad, bad, bad...
What else have you frozen?