Winter Food Storage

It's always been on our radar screen to get a chest freezer to keep our harvest over the winter, and this year we finally pulled the trigger on it:

This is a little 5.1 cubic foot freezer we got at Sears on sale, and it really should be plenty big enough, since we don't hunt or buy meat in mass quantities. Plus it fit in my teeny-tiny car to bring home from tax-free New Hampshire, so that's a plus.

As you can see, this is in the basement, where it is one half of our winter food stores. (The other half are canned goods and root vegetables, which I'll fill you in on another time.) Kirk thought we should keep an inventory, which is the paper on the lid:

Lots of salsa there, because it tastes about 100 times better frozen than canned (vinegar just ruins it, I think). I'm hoping to add more before frost. Salsas, peach puree, swiss chard, and ratatouille are in square 1-quart boxes, while green beans are in 1-gallon freezer bags. Those things are in the bottom, surrounded by bags of ice to pack the space that isn't filled yet (which makes less air to cool and thus a more efficient freezer, plus is good insurance against any power outages): 

The rest of the meat-type things are in the basket, and includes about 2 dozen eggs, various cuts of venison we bartered fresh eggs for, and some Pennsylvania scrapple. There's also pretty much one of each of these items upstairs in the regular kitchen freezer as well (plus some frozen eggplant, roasted peppers, corn, peas, and okra — a few of which are things we have not previously been able to store for winter because we never had enough of it, or enough freezer space to make it happen.

So far, I'm loving the freezer. Freezing veggies for winter is pretty simple, and the flavor is really about as close to fresh as you can get. The texture isn't as firm (and you need to skim excess water off of the salsa), but as long as you're using them for cooked recipes, you're golden. We're hoping to keep stacking up those nice, square containers throughout the fall to enjoy for the coming months. If we can't quite fill it, well ... at least we have plenty of ice at the ready for making homemade ice cream!


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