Tuesday, October 26, 2010

on the chest freezer

No fall musings here--I'm all business today. It's seventy degrees out, and I've got that uncomfortable sweaty feeling when it's supposed to be colder. It might be warm today, but it will be winter very very soon. It's mad stash week for Fall Fest and so we're going to get right to the point.

Still thinking about that chest freezer? You know, that one that you eye at Sears every September when you just packed your freezer with so much tomato sauce that it's all going to fall on you the next time you need an ice cube?

Perhaps you have never thought about that chest freezer. Perhaps you're living space is filled with couches and beds and other nonessential furniture. "I have no space!" you say. "How can I get a chest freezer!" You have space, I tell you. Your children don't need a bedroom--they will gladly sleep on the couch in exchange for the fifty pounds of frozen strawberries they get to eat all winter. Do you put your cars in the garage? Let them rust. Make way for the freezer.

Okay, so the chest freezer isn't for everyone. But if you've been contemplating the purchase of one, I thought I'd get a little conversation going over here, a little dialogue on the freezer, if you will. House tours around here always end up in basement in front of our great white, and so I'll take this moment to answer some commonly asked questions.

What kind of freezer do you have?
I'm pretty sure that this is the one.

Wow! That's really big!
Yes, we share it with our friends Jen and Pete. They're farmers, and they fill their side up with frozen corn and spinach, and we fill up our side with lots and lots of meat. They're vegetarians, but it works out okay.

What about the energy use?
It uses about 500 kwh per year, which costs us about 50 bucks.

And why chest instead of upright?
To each her own. Chest freezers are more efficient, whereas upright freezers are easier to organize.

Speaking of organization, how does that work?
Joey made a beautiful diagram with all the different compartments of the freezer so that we could keep track of what was in there. Jen uses it--I never do. My side is a mess, but I still seem to be able to find what I'm looking for.

Why would I want a chest freezer?
Well, if you're a meat eater, start here. And vegetarian? How about here? Or here?

So, yes, defrosting takes a bit of foresight. But a bit of menu planning is good for us all, right? And should the world collapse around you, can feel sure that there will always be food in the house for dinner.

Yes! It's fall fest, so let's get talking! Anyone want to weigh in on the freezer question? How are you preserving all these fabulous foods for the long, cold, winter ahead?

Here's the line up....I'll add as the breaking mad stash news comes in!

Alison at Food2: Break Out the Stash

Kirsten at Food Network: Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

Liz at Healthy Eats: Mad Squash Stash

Michelle at Cooking Channel: Save Em' While You Can


  1. LOVE THE FREEZER! We inventory the freezer once it is full -- which it almost is now. My favorite thing about owning a chest freezer is the little treasure I find in March that somehow didn't make it into our log book!!

  2. Wow, making a diagram of the fridge to keep track of what's where?? I wish I was half as organized as you are and my life would have been way easier :-) Although I have a tiny fridge but even I keep it always stuffed with things I would wanna off season.
    Was not able to a fall fest recipe for a while but I’m glad I was able to do it this week. Here’s my contribution to mad stash http://bit.ly/bT3Vsb

  3. I wish I had a freezer, period.
    I was so excited to see that this week’s Fall Fest centered on preserving! I’m just getting into it and really enjoy it.
    Here’s my recipe for Cranberry Conserve: http://muffinegg.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/cranberry-conserve-bright-crunchy-stowed-away-for-winter/

  4. oops
    apparently I didn't finish writing my name on that last comment!

    Here’s my recipe for Cranberry Conserve: http://muffinegg.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/cranberry-conserve-bright-crunchy-stowed-away-for-winter/

  5. 50 lbs of strawberry! can I get someone to prep it? and I'll provide the freezer!
    seriously agree about less stuff etc. when my kids were toddlers and we lived in a tiny apartment in London that was always cold we all slept in one room, spread out as the room was not even big enough for a large bed. and it was so cozy and I loved it and so did the kids.
    Thai stock made with herbs that won't survive the the winter and stored in the freezer.

  6. Brilliant, but i truly do NOT have enough room in my tiny one-bedroom apt. Unless I swap out the dining/coffee table....

    Here's what you'll find in my (small) freezer on any given Tuesday in November

    I make Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup (and store it in portion-size batches in the freezer) and Pumpkin Ricotta Lasagna, which also freezes well (take that Stouffer's!). Curried Pumpkin Pie Soup is another fave.

  7. I live in Florida and the Stash is not that often. I made a wonderful berry sauce for cakes, ice cream, etc. for this week:

  8. i made a spicy onion & garlic jam this week...full of onions, shallots, garlic and a bit of jalapeño...very slowly cooked in extra virgin olive oil...perfect way to use use up a bunch of onions... http://napafarmhouse1885.blogspot.com/2010/10/onion-jam-no-sugarthis-is-savory-dish.html

  9. I love, love, love my freezer. This time of year it is totally jammed full of stuff preserved from the garden: freezer pickles, julienned green peppers, sliced peaches, freezer olallieberry jam. All the hard work of the summer, ready to be enjoyed all winter :) We bought a used upright freezer when we were first married more than 25 years ago, and it is still perking along. It's probably 50 years old by now. It's one of the very favorite things I own. Last year I did an inventory sheet to help me use up what was in there. On the left side of the page I wrote what I had (8 jars of tomato sauce, for example). Then across the top I wrote the months of the year. In pencil, I put a mark in the month's slot when I planned to use the ingredient (so for the tomato sauce I would pick maybe Nov. through June, and allow myself one jar per month). As I pulled the jar out and used it, I'd mark over the pencil in pen, so I always knew what I still had in there. It worked great! It's time to make this year's inventory list.

  10. You organization is simply inspiring...