Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Frugal Cooking- Squirreling Away Food For Winter

This is my great-aunt Beulah. I want to be just like her when I grow up. Beulah's one of those old-fashioned Grandma types who makes everything from scratch and always had a freezer full of stuff like butter sponge cake and homemade twice baked potatoes and strawberry sauce, you know in case there's a winter storm and twenty hobbits are stuck at your house and in need of provisions. I love it.

In my efforts to be like Beulah, I've been working for years on coming up with a similar system to hers for freezing, canning and otherwise preserving and preparing food for the winter months. In my case it's not a necessity. I live in the city within walking distance of a grocery store, but it does help to make weekday meal planning a whole lot easier. There's been a lot of trial and error. I've learned that there are plenty of things I really don't use, things that don't can or freeze well and things that are just not worth the freezer space. I feel like I'm starting to hit my groove now.

This past week I've been working hard on this project. The school year is less than a month away now and life is about to get a little more hectic.

Tonight I made and froze some pie crusts. Eight pie crust, to be exact.

In the winter I like to make quiche and pot pies, as well as sweet pies, of course. The Pillsbury stuff just isn't the same. While pie crust is easy, it's messy, so I have to be in the right mood to make it. Once it's made I roll it out on wax paper, roll it up and put the crusts in a ziploc bag for freezing. It makes it easy to store and easy to retrieve.

One of my experiments this year is with freezing dough for fruit tarts. It's crumbly, so I stored it in a ziploc bag. When I'm ready to use it, I'll unthaw it and pat it into a tart pan. It's really not very different from pie crust, so I am hopeful that it will freeze well.

My neighbor has been bringing me tart cherries, so I've been using them to make cherry freezer jam and cherry pancake sauce. I love cherry jam. It's one of my all-time favourites, especially on jam cakes and in jam tarts.

Beans are another thing I like to cook ahead and freeze. These are baked beans. I made enough to fill four bags with enough in each bag to feed 5 people in a meal. I have some black beans with a little onion and a dried pepper in the crockpot now. I like those for black bean chili and black bean burritos.

Finally, they had overripe bananas on sale at the grocery store, 4lbs for $1. I froze them individually and then put them in a bag to use later in smoothies or banana bread.

I've been thinking about what else I'd like to make ahead and I've come up with the following list.

-Cinnamon/caramel rolls
-Dinner rolls
-Pizza dough
-Cookie dough
-Twice baked potatoes
-Raspberry freezer jam
-Raspberry pancake sauce
-Pumpkin puree
-Cornish Pasties
-A few batches of Potato Leek Soup


  1. That is admirable! I strive to be one of those women but thus far have failed utterly.
    Our resolutions are frighteningly similar--the correspondence one too! And organizing my cookbooks. I may copy your idea with the cereal box holder.

  2. It does sound like we have similar goals. I am nowhere near as good at the food thing as Beulah or my grandma, but I figure that's because I've had 50+ years less experience. Maybe when we are 80 something we'll have it all down pat too.

  3. I love to freeze stuff too -- muffins for breakfast, shredded chicken for soups and enchiladas, shredded zucchini for bread, bananas for smoothies -- but some stuff doesn't last long. We ball extra chocolate chip cookie dough and stick it in the freezer, but frozen dough is so delicious we just eat it raw that way.

  4. LOL. We have the same problem with cookie dough Melody. I have to make it when Zach isn't home if it is to have even a chance of making it into the freezer.