We have a small freezer, or rather, a three-drawer section of a normal refrigerator. So there is no space for large quantities of anything, as when, in the country, I might buy the side of a pig in Smithfield market at 4 a.m., butcher it, and bag it up for a chest-type freezer.
So what I freeze now is minimal, but the items have a regular turnover. What do I freeze?
Ice is one item – for drinks, especially Champagne cocktails (using any fizz) and for our own grape juice, put through a straining bag and drunk with vodka.
I knead bread and make six loaves at a time. These take up space, but are well worth it, making bought bread seem like eating polystyrene (with making toasted breadcrumbs from bought white being an exception).
Basic meat sauce (minced beef and tomato purée), made in quantity over a few hours and bagged up for future dishes (like chilli-con-carne, spaghetti sauce, shepherds pie and such) is a freezer winner.
I have just made and frozen moules farcie. I steam mussels open, place each on a half shell and coat it with soft butter, pressed garlic, salt and chopped parsley. They have to be frozen separately on a tray before being put into one bag to be extracted as wanted for the grill. They are then eaten like hot oysters, with bread to sop up the delicious juices.
Another constant turnaround item is chicken. I buy two roasters at a time from a Halal butcher and cut off limbs and breasts-on-the-bone to freeze in bags. These items are used for roasting, curries and stews. The bones are pressure-cooked for stock and soup liquid.
A kind neighbour has just given us a load of windfall apples. In one saucepan I have put the flesh and in another the pips, cores and skins. To both I have added sugar and a very little water. The pips and skins have been boiled down and sieved, the resultant pinkish pulp being then added to the white purée made from the fleshy part. This all takes up room in the freezer, so I intend to use it quickly, giving some away, making pies, and having the pulp with raw oats and cream for breakfast.
A few other items are also put into the freezer, like ice cream and chopped scallops surrounded by mashed potato in the shell. As we buy finely-ground coffee from a shop some distance away, part of our purchase is frozen. When the packet is unfrozen and undone, the coffee is as fresh as when bought.
But the main items are those mentioned above. They go to make our quick-turnaround, town-oriented freezer well worth while.