There’s an old fable about an ant and a grasshopper.
The shortish version (this is me, after all) of the story is there is an ant who works hard all summer long, saving and stockpiling food for winter. There is also a grasshopper, who is a party animal in crickets clothing. He spends his summer frolicking, rocking out and doing grasshopper type aerobics, while chasing the ants around and giving them wet willies. Come winter time, the ant, who has been toiling away all summer is suddenly living like a king, while the grasshopper is cold and hungry. The moral of the story is plan for your future. The side moral, and you’ll have to forgive my bleeding heart here, is to help those in need.
The reason I’m sharing this fable is because I once was that young grasshopper, with super secret ninja skills and a ridiculously fabulous banjo playing technique. I’d a been a real contender for Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas. Suddenly though, I’ve found myself walking in the ants shoes, except my feet are a lot bigger because ants are really small buggers. My shoes are also much better looking. No offense ant, but maybe you shouldn’t have worn your Manolos into the field. Just sayin’.
Perhaps some further explanation is necessary. Allow me.
I’ve been participating in a CSA going on three years now, and every summer without fail, I find myself up to my armpits in produce. For those of you new to the lingo, a CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and the short version (who am I) is you pay a lump sum of money at the beginning of the farm season and in return you get fresh, local and seasonal produce every single week until the season is done. You don’t get a choice in the produce, and you don’t get a break from it either. It keeps coming and coming and coming.
At first, it’s all fun and games or more specifically fruits and veggies. Fantastic dishes are prepared and made and still the produce comes. It is equal parts delicious, adventurous and yes, relentless. Eventually as the weeks turn into months, I become surrounded by the sheer volume of produce and perhaps even a little bit intimidated. Things get dicey as I get dangerously close to losing an eye because every time I open the fridge, there is a veggie ready to attack. It’s usually a green bean too. Those green beans are malicious bastards.
Being surrounded by produce just about to spoil is a unique feeling and probably not for the faint of heart. Overwhelming is a term I’d readily apply, and at the same time it appeals to my slightly (cough, cough) competitive and neurotic nature. As the years have passed, I’ve struggled to find the balance between retaining some of the joy and mischievousness of the young Grasshopper, not to mention his mad banjo playing skills, yet adopt some of the hard-working diligence of the ant. Then someone offered a simple suggestion: Why don’t I freeze the excess? I should probably be embarrassed this thought hadn’t occurred to me sooner or of my own volition, but I’m not at all sheepish. You live and you learn.
With one logical and rational question, I was off like a prom dress or a mad scientist who discovers their Frankenstein. Wah, hah, hah, ah, hah. I’ve mentioned before I don’t do things halfway, right? In any event, I did what any less than sane scientist would do. I bought a forty-eight inch stand up freezer from a stranger on Craigslist. Technology rocks.
Since the moment I brought him home last June, I have been working my way towards stockpiling and freezing pretty much anything and everything possible. It has been a long and sometimes arduous process, but it’s also been one hell of a ride, and I have a shitton of food to show for it.
This week I bring you my Freezer In Review. Since it took more than seven days to accomplish this (think seven months), this doesn’t really qualify for the Week In Review, but since I’m in charge, I say to hell with that. Plus, I’m going to be listing all my goodies, which makes me eligible because lists are the Cats Pajamas, not that I would ever force my felines into clothes. I’m smarter than that; it must be the Ant in me.
Let’s get listing:
- Mint, Parsley, Cilantro, Pesto, Garlic Scape Pesto, Buttermilk Soaked Oats Squared, Cilantro Lemon Butter, Shredded Zucchini, Tomato Pesto Squared, Shredded Butternut Squash, Pesto Veggie Dip, Caramelized Onions, Creamy Cilantro Herb & Veggie Spread.
- Green Beans, Green Beans, Green Beans, Green Beans…perhaps if I keep saying it while tapping my heels together, I’ll be taken to the land of the Jolly Green Giant. Shredded Zucchini to the Third Power, more Tomato Pesto (it’s that good) and Spicy Onion Pasta Sauce.
- Sweet Potato Chickpea Burgers, Red Beans and Rice (♫ didn’t miss her ♫), and lots of Caramelized Onions because you can never have too many.
- Blueberries and Peaches. ♫ Peaches for me. Peaches for free. ♫
- Strawberries: funny story about those strawberries.
- Soups & Stew Galore: Lentil Stew, Vegetarian Three Bean Chili, Ratatouille, Stuffed Artichoke Soup with Brown Rice & Asiago, Meatballs (the balls belong to the Hubby – ba dum bum ching), Tomato Basil Soup, Chickpea and Vegetable Curry, and Thai Inspired Vegetable Soup.
A good blogger, and one who has solely embraced the spirit of the Ant, would have had the forethought to photograph all this food before stuffing it inside a Tupperware or a freezer bag. Had I done that, this would have been a much prettier post. Since I didn’t and since I can’t stand to leave you with images of blue lids and Ziploc bags, let’s recap what some of these eats looked like in their non-frozen Hey Day.
Vegetable Pizza with Carrots, Green Beans and Bok Choy.
Stuffed Artichoke Soup with Brown Rice & Asiago
Pesto, Garlic Scape Pesto, Cheesy Pesto Eggs and Pesto Veggie Dip.
It’s official; I’m salivating and ready for summer again. In the meantime, I have its flavor profile living in my deep freezer. I’m a good Ant.
Enough about me. Let’s hear from you.
Interested in participating in the Week In Review?
The Week In Review is a list, in its purest form, not of the things you still need to do, but of all the things you have done in the past seven days. It’s an achievement list and one with the sole purpose of bringing pleasure. Want in? Grab the Week in Review button for your post, link back to Clean Eats, Fast Feets and get your list on. For more details, click here.
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Do you consider yourself more of an Ant or more of a Grasshopper? Would you ever participate in a CSA? Do you freeze a lot of your fresh produce? If so, what’s the single thing you freeze the most?
Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious says
You can NEVER have too many caramelized onions! Thanks for linking to me recipe for how to do it in a Crock-Pot!
I absolutely agree. Thanks for the Crockpot recipe. It’s one of my staples now.
Holy shit!!! I would definitely call myself an ant…I hoard my things that I know I will need in the future to the extreme!! I don’t however, freeze any of my food. I am super anal about it and I try to eat fresh like 90% of the time because I think in my tiny mind the nutrients are more abundant this way. I need to just suck it up and eat some frozen shit once in a while. This was a genius move though to make sure you can eat all your CSA stuff!
I could picture you as an Ant. Not literally because that’d be weird, but you get the idea.
They actually say frozen veggies and fruits in the store have more nutrients in them than fresh. The logic is they are frozen at their absolute nutritional peak, whereas the fresh ones hit their peak and then travel to the stores, and then wait in the store to be bought, and then wait in someone’s fridge to be eaten, and slowly but surely some of their nutritional goodness leaches out.
All that being said, I started freezing the CSA veggies because I couldn’t possibly eat it all and I wanted to get more bang for my buck.
Marina @ PBlover and Runner says
Oh, the girl, I is in love! I am the same fan of a freezing though I and didn’t have enough courage on a separate deep freeze 😀 Now I live in a campus, but in the house of my mother…. Something like your sickly parody. I froze the mountain of a cauliflower, blueberry, cherry, strawberry, and… Green bean 😀 I can’t wait for vacation to arrive and eat all this! Your refrigerator is a huge example for me. Literally.
Aw thanks. I think I want to come raid your mom’s freezer as well, especially for some of that cauliflower.
you simply have got to be the best. You are freezing stuff that had never occurred to me before!! I mean caramelized onions??!!! Yesterday I was so upset as I threw out less than half of a pineapple, some home made pumpkin puree I forgot to use, little bits of other stuff. I really hate throwing stuff out, I felt I was throwing away money 🙁
I’ll try your method a bit more.
I don’t mind seen your pictures of food in ziplock bags or bowls, that lets me know I need to buy more of those too and also we can just see your OCD jajaja you are super neat. Last night when I opened my fridge I was afraid food was going to pop out. I need to organize it again.
you are a great teacher for us wannabes!!! keep it up!!
No need to throw that stuff away. You can freeze the leftover pineapple to add to smoothies later.
I hadn’t thought about the labels as being OCD, but you might be right. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t share the actual Freezer lists I’ve made. They’re even more organized…oops.
Oh man, do I ever wish my freezer looked just like yours! I definitely have a lot of stuff in the freezer, but it’s disorganized and things get buried all too quickly. Maybe I will haul everything out and do a massive purge and reorg soon. 🙂
It can’t hurt right and I hope when you say purge, you mean eat. I have a list of all the stuff in my freezer, but until I photographed it all, I even forgot about some of this stuff.
Huge freezer envy happening right now! We just inherited one from my mom and it’s currently filled with bags of frozen vegetables and some loaves of bread… I need to do some work it looks like!
Hey, having an extra freezer is the first step in the process and since you actually have some food in there, I’d say you are well on your way.
Arman @ thebigmansworld says
Can we just state the obvious here- Your photography is great- I’m not a fan of soup and I want to face plant those… (after several minutes.. no burn marks please).
I guess the benefit in all of this is that if grocery stores go bust you guys will be all set? Seriously, that is impressive. You probably won’t even need to sign up next year. Or the year after.
My mum despises wasting food so literally freezes EVERYTHING. Even leftover rice or noodles lol!
Aw thanks Arman. I’ve been working really hard on getting better pictures so I appreciate the positive feedback. Flattery will get you everywhere!
I just signed up for the 2014 CSA season so I guess I better start eating my way through this. 🙂
I think your mum sounds fabulous; such a smart woman.
Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) says
I have serious freezer envy! I need to be better about this. It would make my life so much easier! I have a tendency to make something like bean burgers and freeze some…and then eat them all within the week. UGH. Ok, I’m gonna get better about this! You have inspired me!
You’re a great big sweetheart. Thanks for the lovely comment.
I can tell you, I usually make a giant (and I do mean giant) batch of food on the weekend. Sometimes, I’ll spent an entire day cooking, and I make enough to eat some during the week and then freeze the rest. It’s worked really well for me. Good luck!!
Sarah Pie says
I love this chance at a look in your freezer, and I love that you kept it real with tupperware and plastic bags because that makes you the best kind of blogger (one who’s not afraid to keep it real).
I’m literally drooling over all caramelized onions… and the surplus of green beans because they are one of my favorites!
Some days I think I might be a little too real. A little TMI so to speak.
You can have all the green beans, although you’ll have to work something out with the Hubby because they’re his favorite too.
I don’t think it’s Possible for there to be a prettier blog post!! The colors are gorgeous and I’m so jealous. When I finally get to New Mexico, you’re coming to visit to teach me how to do all of this!! Sorry I was late with linking, computer issues, but I am in awe of you and all that you do! Have a great day, Meghan!!
Thanks Fran!! I would be happy to teach my freezing ways; just keep in mind, I’m a novice. This is my first year really doing this, but it sure seems like my hard work has paid off.
Olivia @ Liv Lives Life says
WOW! You have quite the stock!
All those food ideas look amazing, too. Definitely bookmarking this page for future ideas!
Thanks Liv. It made for a really interesting summer and fall. I suspect the Winter, where I get to reap my rewards will be pretty fantastic too.
Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli says
Damn girl, just DAMN!! I am in awe…complete and utter AWE!! The freezer inventory, all of your organization (like I could doubt those skills for a second), and picture after picture of GORGEOUS food porn! Oh me oh my…you have me wanting to lick my screen with those sweet potato burgers! 😯 Oh and I totally lol’d with the hubby’s balls thing…and then I had to read aloud “ba dum bum ching” before I got it! Lmao! Also, I could totally have seen this post going elsewhere after the picture of the freezer…”When Green Beans ATTACK!” Haha!
I think I’m somewhere in between an ant and a grasshopper. Does that make me a stinkbug? 😉 Because most of my freezing is more out of desperation than strategic stockpiling. Like, QUICK, BEFORE IT DIES THROW IT IN THE FREEZER AND THEN FORGET ABOUT IT FOR MONTHS! Sad, but true! BUT, I’ve made it a mission to work my way through both the freezer and the pantry over the next few months. I know I’ve said that at least a dozen times in the past, but I swear to PEAS-us I mean it this time! Ohh, see what I did there? 😉
I did see what you did there, you clever crafty one. I’m not at all surprised either.
I used to be way worse than a stink bug so no worries. It was refrigerate or toss. I never froze anything and half the leftovers I’d refrigerate would just end up getting tossed. So the moral is, these are skills can be learned over time. You do not have to stay a stink bug forever. 😉 The first step is to purchase a deep freezer. Happy Hunting. Take the Man Friend with you. Maybe he’ll accidentally knock it into your cart. 🙂
Amanda @runtothefinish says
OH my gosh I stinkin love this!!! I love being overly prepared to save hassle, but we don’t have space in our little condo for another fridge so I can’t do quite that much.
You know what they say. Every little bit helps.
I find myself double and tripling recipes now, just so I’ll have enough to freeze for a later date.
Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.
I’m so delighted to see how your self-dx’d OCD translates to the freezer, and supremely jealous of your freezer. Yes, I said it! My tall one is filled with Butch, and I’d love one the size of yours to fill with stuff, leaving my current extra one to merely be filled with fruit (and hold the microwave).
The fact that you, my muse, are jealous of my freezer makes my heart pitter patter. Craigslist baby.
Great post. One thing I have found that works great for soups and liquids is to put them in a Ziploc and try to get as much air out as you can. Then lay the back flat on a baking sheet. Let it freeze this way and then you have a solid and flat frozen soup which then takes up way less space in your freezer. When you are ready to eat then you just put the whole thing in the microwave to defrost a bit.
What a great idea. Thanks for sharing Tom. I’ll have to use that next time.