Baby, It’s Cold Outside

By Geekmom

Admittedly, it is not cold at all.  It is summer on the North Coast which means that we are sitting in the 80s and low 90s most days.  K.A. Stewart (whose book is now available in bookstores and for downloads) asked me a question about the cold – freezing to be exact.  Here we go with some advice for freezing.

 

1.  Some things that I freeze seem rather weird to an outsider, but in the long run it makes sense.  As I already told you earlier, I freeze bulk yeast.  I also freeze butter because I can get lots of it on sale and tuck it away when I need it in the future.   I freeze whole wheat flour because I don’t go through it nearly fast enough.  I read that hint somewhere and ran with it.  I also buy my spices like chili powder, onion powder, cumin, garlic powder, and cinnamon in bulk and freeze them.  At room temperature they lose potency so I freeze them to help stop that loss a bit.

 

2.  This section is something that I feel strongly about – freezing meat.  I guess that comes from being around my dad (He is amazing, by the way.)  At no time should you freeze meat from the store in the package in which you buy it.  Repackaging is the most important step to freezing meat.  I am also a proponent of the double protection method.  Seriously, it really helps fight freezer burn (you know, that nasty dried whitish edge that you get on frozen things that tastes like sadness and marmite – though I have never eaten marmite and I don’t really know).  First put the meat in a freezer bag and squeeze out all the air.  Make sure no bones rip through the plastic as that is asking for freezer burn.  Why is the squeezing of air important?  It is the super cold air that causes the freezer burn over time.  Now you see why those nasty meat packages that you see in the displays are useless for freezing.  Some people stop there.  I don’t.  Bring out the good old masking tape, the freezer paper, and a Sharpie (yes, a Sharpie).  Practice your Christmas wrapping skills on the meat and seal with the masking tape.  Then mark on the paper the month and year that you put it in the freezer.  Why?  Because there are technically deadlines for longevity in the freezer.  Pork should be used within 6 months or so.  Sausage sooner if it is spiced.  Beef should be used within a year.  Chicken should be used… not sure… it does not last long enough for me to know.  Have I used it past that deadline?  Yep.  Just check for freezer burn.

 

3.  Freezing vegetables and fruit are type specific.  There are no hard and fast rules as to how to do.  Each comes with its own set of instructions.  My advice to you is to buy a book on freezing produce.

 

4.  When baking, many things freeze really well.  Some only freeze moderately well.   But the key here is to keep the air off things as well.  I always make extra pancakes and waffles and stick in the freezer for the ninja helper monkeys.  Get as much air out as possible and remember to use them rather quickly.  They just don’t taste as good if they are in there too long.  I usually freeze mini loaves of quick breads for my Christmas boxes as I put them in as cold packs and when they get to their destinations, they can also get eaten.  I only make them about a month before I send them though.  Most iced things are hard to freeze well (at least as I have found).  And the one thing you should avoid freezing is chocolate as it blooms in the freezer.  What is that?  It gets nasty white spots that just look bad.  It tastes fine though.  Mainly it is an visual thing.

 

5. You can also freeze leftovers in meals (Homemade TV dinners, thank you very much).  Just keep in mind that the sooner you use them the better.

Not sure what all she wanted to know, but at least here is a bit of a start.  If you want something more specific, please just let me know!

 

The update on the world is that all cookies (plus chocolate chip cookies) are made and ready for the wedding tomorrow.  I have a dress and all that goes with it.  Pretty sure if we don’t get lost, all is good (GPS ftw).  Eldest ninja helper monkey has to wear sensible shoes due to an unfortunate meeting between a pothole and her foot while marching with the school band in the July 4th Parade.  She is sporting some very lovely bruises with her wonderfully swollen sprained ankle.

 

And next week the big bird drops me at K.A. Stewart’s doorstep.  ARGH!  I have not even thought about that at all until yesterday.  I am not ready.  I am not ready!  ACK!

 

 

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