I have two deep freezers a large 13 cft chest freezer and a large upright, which houses the stuff I use on a regular basis and they are well due an overhaul. Besides after all the hard work up to Christmas and then the ahh period where I flopped afterwards, I am now starting to feel a tad guilty because of my inactivity! This afternoon I have been browsing some of my numerous cookery books and its no good I have to get busy busy busy there is so much to do so much to try and different methods of preserving food to explore.
Over the coming weeks, I have made my mind up that the the large chest freezer is going to be investigated and some goodies made. I have lost track of what is quite in there, I know that there are lots of cherries, apples, gooseberries, strawberries etc and I have some smoked salmon in there so that will make some nice Sunday breakfasts with scrambled egg. A new year is fast approaching and there will be new produce to come and I want to have room in there to store some extras for making a batch of this and that later on in the year. I am primarily thinking here Seville Oranges. I intend to make a good scuttle full of this marmalade to last the year, but I also want some extras just in case I run out. I am shall we say erring on the side of caution and in any event I tend to make a little bit more each year no matter what. I quite frequently pop prepared fruit into the freezer if I haven't got much time to process stuff and then drag it out when I have. That way you don't waste anything and if perchance you leave some fruit in there for longer than you should have there is always the option of having a go at making your own home-made wine! There is usually a solution somewhere along the line, its just that sometimes its not always apparent on first lookings.
The beauty of having a deep freeze/freezers is that you can have to hand most things you need to hand and if you keep it pretty well stocked it can save you money if you buy when there are offers on and store things down so that in times when things are not so plentiful you can in effect live out of the freezer, together with a well stocked pantry. I must say that I do tend to freeze most of the items myself from fresh rather than necessarily buying frozen although they do have their place. I don't go shopping very often. Most weeks although not every week I get fresh veg and about once a month we go to the butcher to stock up on special offers. The first time that we went shopping was on the Thursday before Christmas, and then I wasn't just stocking up for Christmas but buying things that would last for the month as well. We only spent about £100 and that included some cider and ginger beer. I don't use just one supermarket either I shop around and choose what I buy very carefully especially since the price of things has hiked up so much. I would rather buy basic ingredients such as bread flour, yeast, eggs, potatoes, bacon, onions, milk, cheese, plain flour, sr flour, fruit, coconut, rice, pasta etc and then make things from the basics as I have found that buying things already made runs away with what money is available. Making it yourself often does give you a lot extra for the money, but if there is too much rather than waste it - either freeze it down if you can or do swapsies with another member of the family - take it in turns make the money go further - share the love of cooking.
For instance we do not like margarine spreads but prefer proper butter on our bread. Butter really has hiked up in price recently but I have found that buying my butter from Waitrose recently has worked out cheaper. A 500g block for £2.19 (which works out at £1.09 per 250g) where for a 250g block we have recently been paying about £1.70 just recently, although there have been offers on buy two x 250g blocks for £3. The butter does at this time of year does go solid as my kitchen gets so cold, but 20 secs in the microwave soon softens it up ready for use.
Right am off to do some more browsing and there are some recipes I want to commit to my recipe book which involves handwriting. Hope you are all keeping well.
Take care and catch up soon