Organizing your deep freezer is like going grocery shopping. You should try it – you will be surprised at the food you will find and at the money you will save!
With Ken being on permanent disability, and with me working full time in my highly stressful job, he took over as much of the cooking and grocery shopping that he could to help me out. I was even working so much overtime, that I never had time to do any baking. So after awhile, he was missing and even craving some home baked goodies. To bring you up to date, Ken is on permanent disability when he suffered a cardiac arrest of seventeen minutes. Miraculously he survived with only his memory being permanently damaged. He has a very bad short term memory, and for good reason!
Every week when Ken did the grocery shopping, he bought a pound of lard and said to himself, I am going to learn how to make a pie. But he never did, and he forgot that he bought the lard. The next week, he said the same and bought another pound of lard.
My experience about deep freezer
Last winter I decided it was time to defrost, clean out, and purge he deep freezer. Guess what I found? Twenty pounds of lard!! I also found all kinds of little bags of who knows what, unmarked and freezer burnt that I had to trash. The things I was able to identify I made into soups and stews. But the real treasure was bags and pails of frozen fruit. Ken used to make home made wine… so what do you do with twenty pounds of lard and frozen rhubarb, saskatoons, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, huckleberries and crab apples? You make pie!
I was concerned about making fruit pies and freezing them, because the last time I did that, they were soggy. So I spoke to my sister who is a pro at this, and I am going to share with you what she told me to do. The secret is to cook and thicken the fruit, let it cool completely, then spoon it into your pie shells and freeze.
It sounds daunting, but it was easy when you do it in little bits, not all at once. One afternoon I made a few pounds of lard into pie dough, shaped them into disks wrapped in cellophane and put them in the fridge. The next morning I cooked the fruit and let it cool. By late afternoon, I rolled the dough using best storage containers for pantry, filled it with the fruit, rolled a dough for the top, and then froze it. Once they were frozen, I wrapped them into freezer bags, labeled them with what kind of pie and how to bake them. I gave away pies, we ate pies, and I filled my freezer with twenty pies exactly.
I normally make dough from butter and shortening, so I had to re-learn how to make it from lard. I found it was dry and didn’t re-roll very nice at all. Then I remember watching a TV show once (not a cooking show) where it was mentioned her grandmother’s secret ingredient in her pierogie dough was 7-Up. So I gave that a try, and it was the best dough ever!! It was tender and you could re-roll it many times.
My food bill was drastically reduced because I cooked all kinds of casseroles and home made soup with what I found from Ken’s shopping sprees. But the real treasure was being able to whip a pie into the oven any time we felt like one. A home made pie filled with home picked berries in several different combinations. The winter of pies – to never be repeated!
Is it time for you to check out your deep freezer? Have a look and see what you find. If you are not sure what to do with it, just post it here in your comments. I will go through my repertoire of recipes and ideas, and you too could be saving money and eating like a king!
Huge tip: Store food in Best Freezer Containers and freezer bags, not shopping bags. Always label with what the contents are and a date.
Here are my recipes:
Fool-Proof Flaky Pastry
5 cups flour
1 TB salt
Cut in 1 lb. Tender flake Lard to the size of peas
Mix in 1 cup cold 7-Up
Stir until it comes together into a ball. This is a great dough. Forget the egg and vinegar! The secret ingredient is the 7-Up! Who knew…
Roll into a log and cut into disks, wrap and chill.
Don’t roll too thin.
Fruit Filling For Pies
In large Dutch Oven (pot) fill with frozen berries
Add 2 cups sugar (or more, to taste)
2 TB of water to get it going
Add 1 – 2 boxes Tapioca
May add cornstarch
To test if it has thickened enough, take 1 TB and put it on a saucer in the freezer for 20 minutes.
If it is set, it is ready.
Let the filling cool completely.
Fill the pie shells – about 3 cups of filling per pie.
Top with an upper crust.
They go from freezer to oven and bake for 1 & 1/2 hours at 350-375°