I was going to write a blog post about superfoods and how they don’t exist (sorry about that spoiler!), and even began to draft it yesterday, but as it often happens, life interfered. This afternoon the outdoor temperature plummeted below freezing, and it occurred to me – this may be the last time this spring that it does that. I mean, I live in Central Finland (aka Keski-Suomi which, charmingly, directly translates to ‘Middle Earth’), and it may well not be the last time, either – last year it snowed here on Midsummer. But then again – it might. And, like any deadline once I’ve remembered about it – oh shit! – it spurred me into action: I realized that I need to defrost and inventory my freezer before I won’t have the option of freezer-on-the-balcony to relocate the food to, while I defrost and clean.
So I grabbed a washtub, a small vegetable cart (emptied of vegetables), and a couple of buckets and emptied the freezer out onto the balcony. I turned it off, stuck a couple of pots of boiled water in there, along with a turned-on hairdryer balanced on a pulled-out freezer shelf (that being important so that meltwater wouldn’t drip on it), tucked towels into the bottom of the freezer and around it, and within two hours I had a defrosted, clean and dry freezer. (Note: I turned the hairdryer on and off a few times to allow its motor to cool to avoid burning it out, and also obviously made many trips back to the freezer to wring the soggy towels sitting in its bottom.) Next, I grabbed a kitchen towel (to towel any frost accumulated on the frozen items that sat out on the balcoy before replacing them), and a notepad, and began to inventory things as I replaced them in the freezer. When I was done, I was, frankly, in shock. See for yourself (but please excuse the handwriting – I wasn’t actually planning to show this to anyone when I started!):
Obviously, I had known that I had a lot of food in there. I mean, duh, it’s the freezer and I buy and store things in it for the time and day when I want them and don’t want to/am sick/weather is too bad to go out to shop, or because I bought a whole side of salmon on sale and cut it up, or that time I ordered meat from a farmer (10kg box) – but I had NO idea just how ridiculously much (really good) food I had accumulated in there!
It is perhaps also important to note, that my freezer is cranked up to maintain a temperature of -28C or below, so I can keep vacuum-sealed meats in it for a pretty damned long time. None of this huge list is a loss – I am happy to report that nothing ended up scraped out of the bottom of the freezer and tossed. That would have made me sad. Very sad. What it is, however, is an untapped gold mine – of things that can seriously save me money on the food budget in the upcoming month. Or three.
What I need now, is a meal plan to use some (or a lot!) of this. I am not saying that I will entirely cease buying things until I have cleared any specific amount of space out (that would be silly and against my own thoughts on the subject) – I am not into severe and punishing self-restriction (that tends to act as reverse psychology on me, and makes me do more of whatever I am not supposed to, perversely). Instead, what I will do is aim for, is using up 2-3 protein items out of the freezer per week, and to only refill it with awesome-and-on-sale things (such as more of that duck or goose breast I’ve nabbed in Lidl, or if someone is selling an entire side of Norwegian salmon again for a reasonable price).
In addition, I think a refrigerator and pantry inventories are in order, and I will attempt to get to those this week, which will help with putting together of plans to eat those two out right along with my freezer (they’ll work well in combination, I feel!).
And so it would appear that I have yet another topic to write about alongside the food myths and misconceptions – leet’s call this one ‘the freezer chronicles’. Perhaps if I make both, my meal plans and my results public, it’ll remind me to keep it up and keep me honest. If you have thought, ideas and suggestions about what to do with any of the items on that list – please do tell me. All will be appreciated!
And with that in mind, I am off to write that selfsame meal plan. A cold-smoked mackerel currently defrosting in my refrigerator deserves one, and far be it from me to offend the gods and Little Green Apples by letting it go bad.
I’ll keep you posted.