I want to buy a freezer for my the hubby and I (both Paleo but some dairy) to freeze some farmer's markets produce and pastured meats for winter when my local farmer's markets end around Thanksgiving. My goal is for the produce to cover from Dec-May (maybe too hopeful).
How large should my freezer space be? I'm able to get decent pastured meat from online sources and Whole Foods in winter (though better in the summer) so I don't need to store much of that.
I want to know what is the longest you have kept specific raw veggies and herbs in the freezer with minimum taste loss. For example - ginger - do you peel the skin or freeze with the skin - do you chop or make into paste or freeze the entire root?
Raw meat and seafood like shrimp, fish I believe can last like a year or longer in the freezer.
I'm more interested in specific veggies because the produce is sad in wintertime where I live and I don't want to eat imported produce from 10000 miles away if I can help it! Thanks a lot!
Re: Ginger. I peel and grate it with a microplane and then form the past into a log shape and roll it in plastic wrap and put rubber bands on either end and freeze it. When I want some ginger, I just break off a piece and let it thaw for a few minutes. Very simple and convenient.
Re: Meat and Fish. There are many sites out there with guidelines for various foods. Just google it and you will have many resources at your fingertips. You can print out a chart and tape it to your freezer. Vacuum pack and date the food and you're good to go.
Before you freeze fresh vegetables, I recommend blanching them first.
You could also consider getting a food dehydrator, which is another way to preserve vegetables, fruit and meat.
I second Melissa's recommendation to freeze things like pesto and herbs. I also always have a supply of frozen chicken and beef stock on hand.
Well I'm eating some year-old shrimp from my freezer right now and it tastes OK. I've been eating a lot of this sort of thing because I'm moving and the bottom of my freezer has some seafood I'd been avoiding. Seafood freezes great.
There are ways to freeze vegetables that make them freeze nicer, like blanching, but honestly I just slice and put in zip lock bags and everything tastes fine. I like to puree herbs/greens and then freeze them in ice cubes so I can just add flavor or green to dishes really easily. Pesto freezes really well too. With ginger I peel before freezing so I can add to dishes quickly while stir frying, but it also freezes really nicely as a puree too. I just ate some year-old pesto and it was GOOD. Squash can also be cooked and pureed. Almost all this frozen stuff was from a single day last fall where I spent cooking down and processing stuff.
There is also a CSA in NY called Winter Sun that gives you frozen vegetables in the winter if you hate DIY. I wish they had more CSAs like that elsewhere.
I have a 5.0 CU freezer that I love that I got from home depot.
Wild mushroosm are great dehydrated. Blueberries,Beef and lingonberries good frozen.I vacuum everything i freeze. Makes a big difference. Sous vide cooked meat freezes very well in its original vacuum bag. Then you can just thaw it in water bath and i can not detect much difference when doing blindfold testing. Raw meat doesnt freeze as well i have found.
I still have a couple of pieces from the quarter cow I purchased over a year ago, and they are as good as when I first laid them in. Anything vacuum packed retains quality for a long time. Things you throw in there in a ziploc or freezer paper will not last nearly as long. I don't know what the chemistry is but ice crystals lead to freezer burn.
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