Refrigerator & Freezer

Pardon the interruption in my posts but the flu got me good. I knew it was coming while typing up the last post. I took my temperature right after I hit “publish” and it read 102.6º, which is especially high considering my normal body temperature is usually about 2º lower than average. Eight days later, I’m still stuffy and coughing up an unreasonable amount of crud. Losing 12 pounds of holiday weight is a nice consolation but I would have gladly kept it if it meant not enduring the last week. Being sick is for the birds.

Let’s finish up this How to Stock Your Pantry series with refrigerated and frozen foods. I made notes for occasional and homemade items. The items denoted as “occasional” are things I don’t necessarily always have on hand but I have more often than not.

REFRIGERATOR

*Occasional
^Homemade

DAIRY
Milk, whole
Heavy Cream
Sour Cream
Cream Cheese
Butter, unsalted
Buttermilk*
Yogurt
Cottage Cheese*
Parmesan Cheese (or other hard cheese like Asiago)
Mozzarella, fresh*
Cheddar, block
Goat Cheese*
Feta*

CONDIMENTS
Ketchup
Yellow Mustard
Dijon Mustard
Stone Ground Mustard
Mayonnaise (sometimes homemade)
Jelly, store-bought grape and homemade peach (my favorite) and wild plum
Vinaigrette^, varies

EXTRAS
Eggs
Fruits & Vegetables, vary by season and price
Bacon
Pickles^, dill and bread & butter-ish
Vanilla Beans

FREEZER
I buy meats when they’re on sale so the contents of my freezer varies from week to week. I don’t love freezing red meat because I think beef is so much better when cooked fresh. All foods store a lot of water when frozen and I think it effects beef more than anything else. I think chicken and pork freeze better but I have no data to support it. Also, I’m not a fan of freezing meats in marinades. I think it effects consistency so I just don’t do it.

I live about 450 miles from salt water and have little access to fresh seafood so I buy it frozen. I think shellfish holds up well when frozen but fresh is always best so I buy it when I can. It costs significantly more so that doesn’t happen often. I eat lots of fresh water fish, thanks to the twelve plus weeks my grandparents spend at the lake each year. When it comes to fish not native to my area, like tilapia and salmon, I steer clear of the individual packages you find in the freezer section. They’re a great cost-effective alternative to the fresh fish you can buy in local seafood markets but they’re not the same and can’t compare in taste.

I froze local in-season fruit this year and I loved it, I’ll do it every year now. I got berries from a family friend’s farm and my grandmother and I happened upon a farm about 10 minutes outside town that grows the best free stone peaches I’ve ever tasted. We split a bushel and they were so good, we split another bushel the following week. We knew those wouldn’t last us through the winter as often as we were making peach cobblers so we went back a couple weeks later for more from their next crop. The peaches on those trees weren’t quite as good as the first but were still delicious. I shop at the farmer’s market often but I find the best produce from roadside stands and homemade signs. I don’t know if they actually taste better but I enjoy food more when I grew it myself or I know who did. There’s just something more satisfying about it.

When it comes to fruits and veggies, I eat fresh when they’re in-season, freeze or can what I can for the winter, and buy them frozen when necessary. Spinach is probably my favorite item to buy frozen. If I’m cooking with spinach, I usually buy it frozen. Even when it’s in season; I think it holds up well for cooking when frozen.

Now on to the list… here’s what’s currently in my freezer:

MEAT & FISH
Chicken, butchered and frozen in individual pieces
Chicken Bones, saved for the next batch of stock
Pork Chops
Pork Tenderloin
Shrimp
Scallops

FRUITS
Peaches
Raspberries
Blackberries
Strawberries

VEGETABLES
Spinach
Green Beans^ (picked from a family friend’s farm)
Edamame
Broccoli
Peas
Onions, diced (I freeze them when they’re about to go bad)

OTHER
Butter
Stock^, chicken and/or beef
Chicken soup^
Chili^
Beef Stew^
Pie Dough^
Cookie Dough^, chocolate chip, sugar, and oatmeal cranberry
Apple Pie^, made from fresh apples and frozen raw, ready to stick in the oven
Leftover casseroles^
Waffles^


I hope you’re more successful at dodging the flu than I was. Get a flu shot if you haven’t already, it’s definitely worth it. Trust me!

Next Post: Weights and Measurements
Previous Post:  How to Stock Your Pantry, Part 2

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