March Freezer Madness

UPDATE: Behind-the-scenes video added to the post about The Doctors!

I’ve always said March is the hardest month here in Pennsylvania. You think it’s really going to be spring, but it’s not quite here yet. I’ve always thought the concept of Lent came from a seasonal need to conserve and fast just because nothing is really quite growing yet and all the stuff we’ve preserved for the winter is running out… Hence, March freezer madness. While my husband is obsessed with who’s going to win the Final Four (March Madness, even into April), I’m fretting about making sure we eat everything in our freezer to make room for the season ahead.

Right now, my freezer has a ragtag mix of last year’s garden and farmer’s market stuff. While the tomato sauce I made is almost gone, there are still a few jars of pesto and bags of strawberries and blueberries. Last night we ate the last bag of green beans from the time I bought a whole giant box at the end of a farmer’s market day—they were still sweet as summer and crunchy-good. This morning we are going to eat the last of the frozen strawberries with some leftover hand-whipped cream (unsweetened and organic!). The girls, all three of them, literally took turns with the hand-cranked beaters to whip some cream for fresh strawberries for Maya’s birthday. For some reason, they all think it’s fun. Who am I to argue?

I love having a big freezer. It helps me keep my family well fed all year round, with a minimum of work. Sure, it’s a little bit of work to cook and freeze, but the food is vastly superior to anything I can buy already made—although I do buy already made stuff too.

But for now, it’s strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast. And perhaps some of that lentil soup for lunch. And pesto for dinner? I’ve been saving the wild blackberry syrup for something special…maybe Easter? We’ll celebrate the end of the Lenten season with the last from the freezer. Then, we’ll all be ready for the rebirth of a whole new growing season, my favorite time of the year!

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14 Responses to March Freezer Madness

  1. Michelle March 29, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    We’ll be eating the last of the organic chicken for Easter, as well as the last of the berries and spinach pesto- all from our CSA! I LOVE emptying the freezer in anticipation of the coming season!

  2. Cyndie March 29, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    Sounds just like our freezer right now! Pesto and all! Have fun creating your last freezer meals! We will too!

  3. Nancy March 29, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    Maria -how do you do your green beans? I blanch – dry – freeze – but it seems like no matter how I prepare them later – they are soggy..I grow my own so maybe I am growing the wrong kind? – any help would be appreciated

  4. maria (farm country kitchen) March 29, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    Hi Nancy,

    I blanch them very quickly and then lay them out individually on a cookie tray and freeze. Then after they are frozen — less than 24 hours, I put them in a ziplock or in a glass jar. I try all different varieties, so not sure that makes a difference. Good luck this year!

  5. Sherrie March 29, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Sometimes I make salmon with blueberries and pine nuts on top. I bet it would be really yummy with wild blackberry syrup drizzled over grilled salmon. I might just have an idea for dinner tonight now, I bet salmon would taste good with pesto on top.

  6. Patty March 29, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    I can and freeze everything from my organic garden. My family is dwindling from 4 kids to 1. I have a hard time with freezing too much!! I have 2 uprights and 1 chest. We always have organic food to eat!! I spread it around to the family too. Good thing I like to cook!! :0)

  7. Shelbi March 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    I am currently working through the applesauce I made from the organic apples I picked at the Rodale Institute’s Organic Apple Festival last year. My husband has just figured out how good the semi-frozen, all natural, no sugar, pink sauce is, so unfortunately there won’t be enough to last us until September. Probably not enough to last us another two weeks at the rate he consumes it. :)

  8. Donna in Delaware March 29, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

    Not only do you not know what the weather will be like, you don’t know how to dress for this transitional time of the year.

    My freezer have little left in it also. I may have a little bag of sweet peas and organic pie crust, one container of tomato sauce and some leftover blueberries, peaches, and strawberries. That’s it, so I’ll have to supplement with foods from my health food market until growing season. Oops, also 2 pieces of steak fillets and chicken breast I found last evening. Can’t wait for the growing season either.

  9. Mavis Alice Zook March 29, 2010 at 9:45 pm #

    Y’all’s freezers sound so awesome! Mine has bits of freezer-burned leftovers and hopefuls like turkey stock, which is such a big frozen lump that I never try to thaw it when I want a bit of stock.

  10. Anne March 30, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    Sorry I posted the wrong e-mail

  11. Sarah March 31, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    I used up my last bit of pesto and last frozen tomato sauce this past week. I still have some applesauce.

    I have a question – how do you freeze berries and thaw them to eat without them going to mush? I’ve frozen strawberries before but they always lose their texture when I thaw them to eat so I’ve resorted to only using them in smoothies. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

  12. Donna in Delaware March 31, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    Sarah, I have never had strawberries stay whole after freezing and thawing them. They always turn soft, so I believe that is why they are mostly used as a fruit sauce for desserts or used in smoothies. You can use them in certain cobblers, pies and tarts, but they won’t remain whole. Sorry that I don’t have any other information than that.

  13. Annette April 1, 2010 at 3:22 pm #

    I love growing my own food. I have only been gardening for the past eight years and tomatoes are my favorite. Do you have a good maranara sauce recipe?

  14. Jennifer April 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    Hi Anette-

    Maria has a tomato sauce recipe in the Rodale Recipe Finder: http://recipes.rodale.com/Recipe/marias-tomato-sauce.aspx

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