Chill out with your freezer

Nick
Nick Moase
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Earlier this year I bought a freezer. For one person you'd think the freezer on a fridge would be fine, but not me. I plan on having it filled by Thanksgiving. Here are a few things that are already in my freezer.

 Tomatoes

I've canned tomatoes in the past, but I don't think I'll be doing much of that this year. Though nice and fresh tasting, it's a lot of work blanching, peeling and canning. A much easier method is just pop them in the freezer for later.

When tomatoes thaw, they shrivel a bit. Though not very appetizing for a sandwich, this is great for making sauces or just about anything you would use canned tomatoes for. The skins slip right off, and can be chopped, puréed or baked from there. Same fresh taste, much less work.

I've done a few so far, but the bulk of my tomato freezing will be plum tomatoes when they hit the markets later this month. They have a much more robust and meaty flavour, perfect for pizza and pasta sauce.

 Peaches

I love peaches, but the canned version from the store never seemed to cut it for me. Too metallic tasting. Canning isn't really an option, since they aren't very acidic. I discovered this year though they freeze pretty well. You just need to do a little prep work.

Peaches go brown when exposed to air, so before you even start chopping them you need to make something to stop that process. A simple syrup with a little lemon juice does the trick quite nicely.

For the syrup, gently heat two cups of sugar with six cups of water. Once that is dissolved add about a tablespoon of lemon juice and take off the stove. Cool to room temperature

Next peel your peaches. To do that, drop them in boiling water for about 30 to 60 seconds. Take out with a strainer and drop them into a bowl of ice water. From there they usually peel very nicely, though there is the occasional stubborn one. Slice the peaches, removing the pit, and drop them into your syrup.

To freeze, spoon some peaches into a freezer bag until half full using a bag of any serving size you like (keep in mind you have to thaw and use the whole thing before they spoil.) Add the syrup to the bag, and gently squeeze the air out. Seal and freeze. Done!

One batch of the syrup does about one basket of peaches. They taste a little sweeter when thawed, but still very fresh.  

 Cheese

Though cheese is available year round, finding cheese on sale, or artisanal cheese in my travels for that matter, tempts me to stock up. Blocks of cheese just don't freeze well though. They come out crumbly and the texture always seems off to me.

The way around that though is grating it before hand. You won't be able to get those nice slices, but it works for anything you would use grated cheese for with no noticeable difference.

 I'm sure I'll come across more things to freeze as the fall harvests come in. I'll At the rate I am going, I have no doubt I'll fill my freezer when the season is over.

 nmoase@theadvance.ca

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