The more we read about our national food supply being contaminated, (see recent New York Times articles) the more we are all hoping to avoid those contaminations. For those of us with special dietary needs, it makes sense to buy less processed foods; even allergy friendly ones have plenty of allergen or pathogen recalls. When we, any of us, food allergic or not, buy and make whole foods, not processed foods, we cut out the middleman, the food processor where so many things can go so wrong.
So say you went crazy at the farmer’s market after reading a post where I say, well, exactly what I just said: there’s are no nuts in carrots AND eat more whole foods. You happily snap up all the whole fruits and vegs, whole grains, lean meats, organic diary and good fats that you can fit into your hemp recycled tote bag. Excellent.
However, if you’re like me, single and sometimes cooking for uno, there’s only so much you can and should eat in a day, which means a lot of leftovers or food spoiling because you bought too much or made too much.
What to do?
Aha-you can freeze stuff! Yes, a freezer is a great option (and it comes attached to most fridges). But how to utilize it to the max? I use my freezer sparingly because it tends to kill food. If I leave anything in there for over a month, it’s ovah: freezer burned, dried out or tasting of freezer (not a good taste). But I’ll keep things in there for a week or two until I can get back to it or run out of the fresh goods. What I’d really like is an article to tell me how to work with my freezer optimally.
Mark Bittman to the rescue. For many of us, the freezer is just the final step before the garbage and that truly is a waste. Bittman outlines some very clear steps as well as a food/freezer chart of sorts. (He did a funny feature a while back on the underused broiler and now he hits us again with the freezer and some tips about how to use it effectively.)
My favorite tip since I keep mostly vegan/vegetarian at home is how to freeze rice and beans: “I’m tempted to say that you should never cook beans or grains without making more than you need. Freezing them (covered with water or cooking liquid, leaving room for expansion) works that well, and saves loads of time.”
So go out there to your local farmers market, stock up and then stock up your freezer; just don’t leave it in there too long!