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.
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?