Monday, April 8, 2013

Embarrassing (aka: I Told You So!)

Those of you who remember our "freezer challenge" from a couple years ago may not be surprised by this. Our freezers are still jam packed full of stuff and we have pretty much lost touch with what's hiding in there.

I think I've mentioned this before, but Jeremy has a thing with a fully stocked larder. He doesn't feel safe, or like we have a real home, if there isn't food spilling out of every crevice in the house. He didn't grow up poor or starving or anything, so I don't know where this comes from. But he really does feel giddy when we have lots of food around.

I've been saying for some time that we should do an inventory of the chest freezer out in the garage. Winter (or at least Minnesota's freezing spring weather) is a great time to do it since it's practically the same temperature in the freezer as it is outside.  Taking everything out and cataloging it is not an easy one person job.  I've been suggesting we schedule this for weeks, or many months, but I don't think Jeremy was convinced. He thought he knew what was in the freezer.

Uh-huh.  (That's a little foreshadowing for ya!)

Jeremy had some meal idea yesterday and he kept remembering that we were hung up because we didn't have chicken broth. Grr. He'd have to make some.  He said he was going to go out to the freezer and look for...something. Chicken parts, or something, I can't recall now. I innocently suggested that maybe I should go with him, with a pad of paper, and maybe now would be a good time to just take a quick little inventory...  Jeremy hesitated for a moment, and then gave in.

We trooped out to the freezer, set up a few temporary tables to hold things, and started emptying it out. Holy cow.  It's stunning how much stuff is out there! Jeremy, with a bit of shame, admitted I was right and this was a good idea. Why? Well, for one thing we found at least FIVE containers of chicken broth!! =)

What else was in there?

  • lots of bacon
  • a few packages of pork soup bones
  • bags and bags and bags of mushrooms and mushroom stems (the stems are for stock)
  • package of ham
  • bee pollen and sugar for the bees
  • loads of bread: sandwich bread, hot dog buns, rolls, fancy breads, bread flours
  • beef brisket (when the heck did we get that!?)
  • two packages of cream corn (Jeremy had just said that day we should make sure to preserve corn this year since we didn't have any now. Uh-huh.)
  • 4 pie crusts
  • tons and tons of blueberries, raspberries, cherries, strawberries
  • edamame
  • butter
  • chicken innards and chicken feet and packages of chicken necks and backs, probably a dozen altogether (for the stock)
  • zucchini
  • roasted sweet pepper juice. yes, juice. What are we doing with this??
  • banana
  • pesto (Jeremy was really excited about this)
  • 3 whole chickens! (Jeremy almost bought another the other day...didn't realize we had some in the freezer still.)
  • rhubarb
  • cranberries
  • asparagus
  • loads of squash
  • dried currants
  • roasted tomatoes
  • spinach
  • pears
  • basil
  • coffee beans
  • salsa
  • grated beets
  • shelled peas (from 2008!! I think these are ones we grew ourselves. yikes)
  • peaches
  • plums
  • green beans
  • left over whey from when we were making cheese ages ago.
It's kind of embarrassing listing all these riches.  I see a lot of fruit ice cream in our future, blueberry muffins, chicken stock, banana bread, zucchini bread...  

Later on relaxing in the kitchen I said to Jeremy, "You know what we should go through next?"  With a gleam in his eye, he replied, "The canned food!"  No.  "The other freezer."  
He wasn't excited about that, so who knows when we'll get to that one. It's much smaller, but we do use it all the time and it's a disaster.  I think a person would have to have their freezer stocked entirely with frozen meals - in boxes - for a freezer to be organized well. It's hard when everything is in plastic bags. 


Dwelf the senior raincoat said...

First item: lots of bacon,
YES, proper priorities.
I really try to put labels on or write on the plastic but they fall off or it gets rubbed off over time. And opening them and sniffing doesn't always give an exact idea of what it might be. Great thing to do on a torrential rainy day. Or snow, if that's how you swing!

Anna Dunford said...

I need to do a sort out of our freezer too - my problem isn't so much not knowing what is in there but accessing it, and figuring out what to do with the ridiculous amount of stuff that I really can't see us ever using now (eg half ready marmalade in huuuge quantities when neither of us eat it and it is next to impossible to give away these days!) I looked into freezer baskets but they were so expensive - I need to find something better than carrier bags though that won't tear or crack easily to try to keep things sorted better.

Using old icecream tubs to store things in does help with the stacking - but unfortunately they can't be used retrospectively!

Robin M. said...

I also recommend taping or magneting the inventory on the outside, to be crossed off when you take things out. You don't actually have to have it so neatly stacked if you at least can tell before you open it what you already have.

Good luck!

Aimee said...

That's a great idea Robin - but would require the person removing said item to actually cross off what he removed. =) We're not that organized around here (and by "we" of course I mean Jeremy! =)

It's pretty helpful just knowing what we have in the first place. If we know it's in there, we'll search till we find it!

Anna - we use those flimsy cloth-like reusable bags from grocery stores. One has breads, one has veggies, one has fruits, etc. It makes it easier to lift large amounts of stuff out of the way so we can see what is down below. Not perfect, but works well enough.

"Dwelf" - yeah, the sniff test is not very helpful. I pulled some pumpkin out the other day and it did NOT smell like pumpkin, though it did look like it. =)