Monday, October 3, 2011

Freezer Cooking - Being Less Wasteful

When I did the Pantry Challenge earlier this year I was quite appalled by our wastefulness.  We throw away so much food on a weekly basis it makes me a little sick when I think about it.  After giving it some thought I've decided rather than throwing the food away every week to find a way to save it either by dehydrating or freezing it.  Here are some of the food items I've converted over the last couple of weeks.

  • Carrots - I had some carrots I bought for lunch that didn't get eaten so I made glazed carrots
  • Potatoes - My big bag of potatoes had a bad potato in the bunch. Once one of them start going bad I get a little nervous so I pulled three of them out for dinner last week and then I made mashed potatoes for the freezer with the rest
  • Bananas - Usually I just throw the banana in the freezer with peel still on. However, peeling the frozen banana gets pretty messy as they thaw. I want to start making smoothies so this week I peeled the banana, sliced it and then threw it in the freezer, we'll see how that works out
  • Strawberries - My plan was to core them and use them for smoothies. However the girls sleeping over at our house after Homecoming ended up eating the whole pint of them I don't have any left :( They enjoyed them and that's the important thing.
  • Mushrooms - I found a recipe for dehydrating mushrooms on eHow (not much of a recipe, cut and bake in the oven).  I tried it and was very pleased with the results.  However, eHow said it would take about an hour when instead it took probably about 4 hours.  I didn't mind the time but I don't thinking running the oven for 4 hours to cook up $1 worth of mushrooms was very frugal.  The dehydrating mushrooms worked so well though that I may buy a large batch of mushrooms and dehydrate them so that I always have mushrooms around.  Having an oven full of mushrooms to cook won't seem quite so wasteful.The trick will be keeping my husband out of them for his omelets.
  • Applesauce - My MIL has an apple tree with an abundance of apples this year.  So far we've made three batches of applesauce and prepared enough apples for three pies.  We still have well over a grocery bag to process.  Ugh!  We'll appreciate all the work this winter when we're eating our homemade applesauce and pies.
  • Tomatoes - I received two big bags from a friend a work. I simply wash, core, dry and then put about five tomatoes in a freezer bag. I throw the bags in the freezer and then use them for future recipes. Because there were so many tomatoes in the bags and I let them sit for a few days I did have to throw out some of the tomatoes that had split and were starting to go bad.
I would have liked to have the time to get some actual meals in the freezer but this was quite an accomplishment and I feel pretty good with my results.

How about you? Have you done any freezer cooking lately?

I'll be linking this up over at Life as Mom

You might also like:

Menu Plan - Week of October 3


  1. I haven't done much freezer cooking lately, but my goal is to make one freezer meal a week to sock away for busy nights.

    When it comes to fruits and veggies, my biggest problem is that I freeze them and then they languish in the freezer forever. I have frozen berries that I don't even want to admit how old they are. I just never think to cook with them. It's embarrassing. :(

  2. We're working thru apples right now, too. And black walnuts. If you're in Iowa, would you please come get some walnuts from me?? My dad instilled waste not want not in me and I'm having a hard time ignoring all the walnuts that are dropping like mad from our trees right now... Found you through Life As Mom! Great job curbing your food waste!!

  3. Maryalene - I've found things in my freezer that expired two year prior so don't feel to bad, it happens to all of us. Do you inventory your freezer? I don't do a formal inventory, but I poke my head in when I'm making my meal plan (which has been incredibly helpful) and that reminds me what I have. I also wrote a guest post over at Life as Mom as to how I put together a 'meal in a bag'. That has helped me put together more comprehensive meals as well as reminding me to serve something.

  4. Michelle - trust me, if I lived close enough I'd be there to take some of those walnuts off your hands in a heartbeat. I'm with you, I hate wasting items especially when they are free! Have you tried posting them somewhere to sell them? I bet if you threw them in a bucket there are a lot of people who would be willing to buy them from you.