The Freezer Saves the Day

This time of year, I’ll admit it, I don’t feel like cooking much. Everything in the garden is dead as a doornail. The farmer’s market won’t open again for months. It’s a cold pain in the butt to go to the supermarket every weekend. Therefore, I thank the Universe for my freezer.

When we built our house, I wanted a giant freezer right in the kitchen. I was sick of going down to the dark, dirty basement in our old house and reaching into the big freezer and worrying about falling in and not being able to get out and getting stuck inside there forever. So now I do have a full-size shiny stainless steel sub-zero freezer right next to my refrigerator (I know, I know it’s not eco, but we do have solar electric and hot water, and I drive a Prius—doesn’t that count for something?).

That freezer is FULL, and this time of year I am so grateful. The other night we ate pesto that was green and good. There were no leftovers. And a jar of chicken, turkey, or goose broth makes just enough soup to feed the kids and me for a weekend lunch (they like it with pasta, and I like it with farro, and we all like it with Romano cheese on top). The jars of tomato sauce are like “jars of liquid sunshine,” according to my yoga teacher, Holly, who got to eat some—which just goes to show how much I love her because I don’t usually give that sauce out to anyone! Tucked in the back of the top shelf are the remains of the blueberries from last spring. Those are for special needs, like when someone is sick and depressed and needs some cheering up. There is also enough frozen coffee in there that, if for some reason coffee becomes unavailable, I can last until at least Easter, at which time I would be able to find a boat to sail to Peru to restock my supply.

In fact, here is one of my favorite stories about coffee from the book America’s Women, which I’ve mentioned before:

In the summer of 1777, more than 100 Boston housewives gathered in front of the store of one Thomas Boylston. They were, one observer reported, “reputable Clean drest Women Some of them with Silk gownes on,” and they were angry about Boylston’s extortionate wartime prices. They were prepared to boycott tea, but not to let a merchant gouge them for coffee. Abigail Adams wrote to her husband that the women “assembled with a cart and trucks, marched down to the Ware House and demanded the keys, which he refused to deliver, upon which one of them seazd him by his Neck and tossd him into the cart.” Boylston gave up his keys, and the women opened the warehouse, took out the coffee they required, and drove away. “A large concourse of Men stood amazd silent Spectators of the whole transaction,” Abigail reported gleefully.


See! Even in 1777 you didn’t get between a woman and her coffee.

As I was saying about my freezer, I also have half a small lamb and a breast from a 60-pound organic turkey! Various organic chicken wing parts are waiting for the Super Bowl to arrive, and there are a few other miscellaneous meats and vegetables and organic ice cream treats. So I think I can survive without cooking too much over the next month or two. But if I do get in the mood, I’ll let you know.

What’s in your freezer?

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14 Responses to The Freezer Saves the Day

  1. robin January 28, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    What a great story.
    I’m going to make another cup of organic coffee to toast
    the 1777 gang ; )

  2. Donna in Delaware January 28, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    Sorry, I’m a tea drinker! (I should have been at the Boston Tea Party, not the one of today’s note). Do enjoy a cup of coffee every so often though! I notice that I only drink coffee mostly when I am in Europe. There’s just something about the water and the coffee there! It taste so different and so much better to me.

    I have some tomato sauce, sour cherries, wonderful fresh peaches from the summer, some wild bluberries, organic chicken breast, wild-caught organic salmon, other assorted vegetables, whole buttermilk (for when I get the pancake cravings) , homemade beef broth, etc. All ingredients from the local farmer’s market, the Amish market and my local health food stores.

    I was just thinking of making a peach cobbler this weekend or a peach crisp! I’m craving fresh summer peaches right now and will eat my self to death this weekend, when more snow is scheduled to fall.

  3. Pam January 28, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    My mother, God rest her soul, who passed away this past September had THREE freezers! I will be inheriting all the frozen fruit, to add to my freezer which has: cherries, rhubarb, strawberries peaches, chicken broth, vegetable broth, blueberries, raspberries, pesto, grated ginger, lemon juice. I also travel to my nearest coop to buy milk from grass fed cows, which I then freeze. There is nothing like making strawberry shortcake in the middle of winter!

  4. Dejah S. January 28, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    A 60-pound turkey?! It must have been about the size of your Prius! Let’s see, roasted pumpkin, Hatch chiles, Meyer lemon juice cubes, corn and green beans from last summer’s garden, cabbage soup, leftover Thanksgiving stuffing (my own stash), coffee beans…and assorted contraband popsicles for my kids.

  5. James Early January 28, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    I have a whole batch of home made barley burgers for those cold snowy days, some frozen herbs ready to add to whatever, some roasted tomatoes (talk about liquid sunshine!), some strawberries form the garden last spring (great in smoothies, etc.). Sometimes I have homemade salmon burgers in the freezer but my wife and I eat them about as fast I can make them.

  6. Annie Brown January 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    We have probably 15 lbs left of roasted New Mexican green chiles (we get 3 bushels each year), 20 lbs of Colorado Western Slope peaches, 5 lbs of frozen strawberries from our CSA last summer, approximately 30 quart-sized freezer bags full of our homemade tomato sauce (recipe from Marcella Hazan) and multiple bags of frozen beans (I make big crock pots full of plain beans and freeze them in small bags to be able to pull out for soups, burritos, Indian dishes, etc.). Freezer bliss!

  7. Mike Lieberman January 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Right now I have some frozen vegan tamales, nuts and seeds that have been sprouted and dehydrated and some veggie scraps to make broth with later.

  8. Amanda January 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm #

    I heart my freezer! Lots of heirloom tomato sauce, beans, pesto, apple cider, ramps, bagged herbs, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, peppers (jalepeno, sweet, ancho), heals of bread for breadcrumbs, homemade chicken broth and ham broth, turkey, chickens, ham, sausage, fresh-caught fish, lots of venison, three kinds of soup and more.

    Make sure you have a good freezer, though, and check it after your power goes out. We almost lost all our frozen goodies after a power outage bumped our old freezer offline!

  9. Vanessa January 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    My special chili, nut burgers, baby peas, soya beans (my daughter goes through half of Japan’s output), organic salmon, organic steak…. and a lot of empty space that I need to fill this weekend.

  10. Myra January 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    All of your comments are making me green with envy. Sorry. I am glad that you have all those yummy things in your freezers.

    My stuffed extra-large freezer died when we were away for a week. I guess you do not need to be told the “rest of the story”.
    Now, I don’t trust freezers, even though mine was already 18 years old. My replacement freezer is much smaller. I think I will just can and dry most everything now.

    But, you make me want a LARGE freezer again. M-a-y-b-e I will just have to get a generator in case the power goes out.
    Visit me here to learn ways to have better health

  11. Maureen January 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm #

    We bought a freezer last fall when I realized that I was going to have a bumper crop of tomatoes…grape, romas, and others. I was going for the 5 and a half cubic ft, but they were out of them, so the appliance salesman offered me the 7 for about the same price. I remember looking at it and thinking I will never fill it up. Foolish, foolish me. The first night we had already filled it with what had been shoved into the side by side fridge. But I am glad that it is small enough that I can keep it right in the kitchen with me. I find that I use it more than I did when I had one in the basement.

  12. Melissa January 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Hey James, what’s your salmon burger recipe? Would love to try!


  13. James Early January 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Here’s the Salmon Burger Recipe

    1 1/2 lbs. wild-caught skinless boneless salmon (I use frozen from Trader Jo’s, fresh is good too)
    2 tsp. Dijon mustard
    2-4 cloves of garlic (I use 4, yum)
    1 small onion (or about 1/3 of one of those monster onions) cut in large chunks
    1/3 red bell pepper, cut in chunks
    1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use whole wheat)
    1 TBSP capers, drained
    slat and pepper to taste

    Put the garlic in a food processor and process until it is as small as it will get. Scrape it down from the sides. Cut the salmon into large chunks and put about one quarter of it into the food processor. Add the Dijon mustard and process until the mixture becomes pasty. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides.

    Add the onion and pepper. Pulse until they are small pieces about the size of a pea.

    Add the remaining salmon. Pulse until the fish is chopped and well combined with the purée. No piece should be larger than a quarter inch or so. This step goes fast so be careful not to make the mixture too fine. You may have to take off the lid and rearrange things a couple of times to get everything evenly chopped depending on the size of your food processor.

    Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the bread crumbs, capers, salt and pepper. Shape into four burgers–or however many you want depending on size. Sometimes I make little ones the size of sausage patties to have for breakfast.

    I usually make three batches all at once. Because if I’m going to make a mess, I might as well make it worth while. I get all my garlic, onions, and peppers ready to go in three prep bowls. After each batch in the food processor, I put it all in one giant bowl. And then mix in the rest at the end. I just freeze the rest of the salmon burgers and have a quick, delicious meal when I don’t feel like cooking. Sound familiar?

    To cook: Add a little olive oil, butter or your preference to a skillet and cook on medium to medium high for 2-3 minutes each side. Be careful not to overcook. You can serve them in a bun. We garnish with dill, mayo, and granulated garlic powder. Or sometimes we just eat them with no bun and a little lemon juice. The original recipe recommends Tabasco sauce, but that is not out thing. Maybe it’s yours. You will figure out how you like them best. Enjoy.

    Let me know how they come out.

  14. Melissa January 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    I’m salivating already! Thanks so much, James.

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