Waste Not, Want Not Part 2: The Freezer
It’s not just the bulk goods in the pantry that needed inspection and rotation, but my freezer as well. How long will a package of tempeh keep frozen? My guess is not as long as I’ve kept mine. No, I won’t share the date. The freezer is an awesome thing, which I learned from my grandmother. My grandma grew up on a farm in the days before refrigeration, so knew all about “putting food by” to last the winter. When refrigerators and freezers appeared she kept the tradition of storing food, but now she could store more variety with more freshness. I remember she had a huge chest freezer that kept all kinds of food well preserved, all labelled and dated.
I’m not as good with my freezer, it’s small and I don’t label. But I have learned a few things that make the freezer an awesome tool for healthy eating.
Make a big batch of something and freeze individual portions. This makes a quick lunch or dinner if plans go awry, and prevents eating out.
Make a big batch of beans in the slow cooker, drain and cool thoroughly. Freeze in one cup amounts in plastic bags. Cheaper and tastier than canned.
Keep several bags of mixed veggies on hand. These can be used for quick meals cooking and adding some sauce and seasonings. My favorites: California Blend, Mediterranean Blend, Southwest Blend.
This Week’s Freezer Clean Meal:
Indian Dal with Veggies
2 cups yellow split peas
8 cups water
1 onion, chopped
2 potatoes chopped (I used one russet and one sweet)
1 16 oz. bag frozen veggies, thawed (I used carrot, cauliflower, broccoli)
2 T curry powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Bring split peas to a boil, lower heat and simmer about 30 min. uncovered.
While split peas simmer, thaw frozen veggies and prep the raw veggies.
Add remaining ingredients to pot and cook and continue to simmer until everything is cooked to your liking. I mistimed the veggies, and ended up overcooking the frozen veggies until they broke apart. It turned out just fine. Adjust the seasoning. I like to add hot sauce.
I put cooked rice in a bowl, a handful of baby spinach and ladled the dal over the top. It would also be good on its own.