I have received numerous inquiries asking me to revisit my freezer tricks. It is really important for the homemaker, during this tough economic climate, to be able to stretch her/his food budget.
I meet many people who are simply “afraid” to freeze any food, simply because they have had bad “freezer-tasting” food in the past. That is a false assumption because the food they ate was just frozen but stored the wrong way. It’s like trying to make cholent in a frying pan!
You must learn the proper technique and correct storage containers to use for that exact purpose. In my experience, I have found hundreds − if not thousands − of dollars a year are saved when you can cook, freeze and store food correctly. Of course, I am not even mentioning the hours you will save in time because you do not have to “waste” time cooking fresh food every day of your life.
Freezing is simple and the most time-efficient way to preserve foods at home. It is important to note that freezing does not improve the quality of foods; but when properly done it can preserve most of the quality of the fresh product. Food stored constantly at zero degrees will always be safe. Also, if you have an electrical blackout, a full freezer will keep food frozen in your freezer for 72 hours. Food in a half-full freezer will only stay for 12 hours.
One of my customers did an experiment with her family. She did it to prove to her husband, who said he would never eat anything that was frozen. It seems he had bad experiences from his childhood years, when his mother would serve frozen, dried-out food to him and his siblings. She was a working mother with no other choice. She used cheap plastic takeout containers and lots of foil and plastic bags to store the food in the freezer. These cheaper quality containers are not meant for the vapors and low temperatures that exist in a zero degree environment. The food would lose its quality and get a “freezer burn,” thereby robbing it of its good taste and appearance.
His favorite food was spaghetti and meatballs. She prepared the recipe as usual, but instead of freezing the meatballs in cheap containers immediately with the sauce, she used my tricks and saved herself literally hours of time. Here is the trick: Separate the cooked meatballs from the sauce. Line a cookie sheet or flat board with foil. Foil acts as a conductor and will “quick-freeze” any food sitting on it in the freezer. Place the meatballs side by side, like rows of cookies, on the foil – minus the sauce.
Depending on your particular freezer, it may take an hour, more or less, to “quick freeze.” Place the hardened meatballs in any Tupperware freezer container, tall or flat. Container shape will not matter. They will come out individually since there is no sauce binding them together. Freeze the sauce separately. Make sure to label the containers on the outside. Frozen food can look alike.
I had a customer tell me she once prepared a meal using some of her frozen unlabeled stock. She was sure she would remember what it was. Lo and behold, she said her “soup turned to fish” when it defrosted!
Sauce can be frozen in bulk or in individual, smaller 2-cup Tupperware containers. (There is a big freezer container sale now in Tupperware until the end of December – so take advantage!) If you do freeze in larger containers and only need a small amount of sauce for those six meatballs you removed for a child, just run some warm water from the sink over the container. On a cutting board, slide out the “brick” of sauce. Run very hot water on a sharp serrated knife, and “slice” the amount of sauce you need. The rest was not defrosted, so you may return it to the freezer safely for later use. Remember, you cannot refreeze fully defrosted cooked food.
Now back to my customer and her doubtful husband. She served her family about 85 meatballs over a period of four weeks with the sauce she made a month earlier – and no one knew the difference! Of course, she cooked her spaghetti and other side dishes fresh each time.
She never told her husband what she did and still now freezes many of her food for her family. She recently told me she feels like a “liberated” woman! She has more time to devote to her other interests that she had put off. Very important to remember: you must reheat the food properly as well. Tupperware has the most efficient microwave line of products that heat your food evenly and completely. No one can tell it was previously frozen.
The above tricks are just some of the many tips I share in my cookbook, Not Just A Cookbook. Some of my customers tell me that when they read the book, they “hear” my voice. I also do “Freezer Class Demos” for my Tupperware customers.
I will be having a “vendors” table, IY”H, at the upcoming Toras Emes Chanukah Boutique on motzaei Shabbos, December 6. It runs from 6:30-10 p.m. Please come and say hello. I will have lots of discounted items, plus copies of my book for purchase. There will be raffle drawings from the event, and I will be giving a free gift with each purchase!
In my next column, I will continue providing more tips on the proper way to freeze fish, vegetables – and more!
Over 550 recipes and tips are featured in Rochelle’s humorous and entertaining cookbook, Not Just A Cookbook. It also features many “multiethnic” recipes that were adapted for the kosher cook. Rochelle’s book examines food around the year by month. What a great gift! Check out www.notjustacookbook.com for free recipes and to order your copy online, or call 718-258-0415 for store information. Rochelle has been a Custom Kitchen Planning expert, using Tupperware containers for over 30 years. She is available for cooking demo events, fundraisers, and Tupperware demos. Go to www.my.tupperware.com/rochellerothman. Call to find out about the super sales for fall. Note: Special book sale − buy 6 get 1 free!