Marathon cooking has helped me in more ways than just having a bunch of meals on hand. It has helped me see the freezer as the great asset it is. Big sale on bagels/bread, frozen vegetables, meats, or shredded cheese? Buy a bunch and freeze it up! Fruit going bad? Peel it, chop it, and stick it in the freezer to use in smoothies or yogurts or baked goods later. I REALLY dislike handling onions, so I buy a couple bags, chop 'em up all in one tear-filled standing, freeze 'em, and don't have to deal with them for a while again, but they are ready to saute or add in whenever a recipe calls. Like canning, it's just another way to stock up on seasonal items. Right now I'm wishing I had frozen some bags of cranberries when they were out over Thanksgiving/Christmas. Did you know that every brand of canned whole berry cranberry sauce has high fructose corn syrup in it?! I'm sure that there's an organic brand out there without it, but every brand that I checked at two stores had it listed under ingredients. Boo! But I digress. Point is, the freezer is your friend.
This is is one of my favorite new tips (Thank you, Mary Dunham and "The More Beef for Your Money Cookbook") because I love the kick ginger gives foods and soups but it seemed like, no matter what size I purchased, there were always leftovers that would go bad in the fridge and be wasted. No more! Here is how to get the most out of your ginger:
Buy whichever size seems appropriate for your usage.
(Go ahead and grab a big 'ol root; it's so tasty, and you won't have to remember it next shopping trip because your freezer is stocked!)
Cut into 2inch-ish pieces and pare/peel
Wrap pieces individually in foil
Place wrapped pieces into dated and labeled freezer bag/s
When a recipe calls for some ginger, pull out a piece and grate away!
I like to only partially unwrap it because the foil keeps my fingers from getting too cold.
Proper Freezer Packaging/Prep
Share the Cold!
Another great idea is to have a Freezer Swap with some friends! Similar to a cookie exchange, everyone puts together a freezable/storable entree (should feed 4-6). The number of meals that you make depends on the number of participants. Then everyone gets together and takes one meal from everyone else. The benefits of this system is that you only have to buy the ingredients and prepare all the food from one recipe, so you can buy in bulk (save money), and you can do it all at once (save time and dishes), but everyone walks away with many different meals to enjoy.