Comments on: Freezing…and Why Not To http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/ Sharon Astyk's Ruminations on an Ambiguous Future Wed, 24 Jun 2009 08:22:50 +0000 #?v=2.3.2 By: Joanna http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20987 Joanna Tue, 02 Jun 2009 15:36:28 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20987 The biggest lesson I've learn in our going-on-5-years @ Seven Trees is to diversify when it comes to growing and saving food. Some things you'll try that don't work or you don't like (goats for instance), but if you limit yourself you can end up dependent on something that may be low-tech and sustainable, but still vulnerable to weather, varmints, etc. We live in the Pacific Northwest where there are usually 7+ rainy months. Summers are "supposed" to be Mediterranean, but the past 2 years have been cold and wet. We lost entire crops of tomatoes and potatoes to blight in a wet summer, and can barely get greens & broccoli growing before they bolt in a hot summer. The same issues apply to rasing food for our livestock. So we've learned to be flexible, try everything, then stick with what works and streamline the process. When it comes to food-keeping we root cellar in the garage (keeps potatoes perfect until April), store squash, garlic & onions in the pantry, pressure can certain veggies, meat, soups & chicken stock, water-bath can fruit products and tomatoes, dehydrate (electrically) lots of fruit & veggies, sun or air dry herbs, and freeze meats & bulk produce until we have time to process it further. One of my favorites is chard that I haev lightly blanched then frozen. I eat it all winter. We live in an area with hurricane-force winstorms and hte power goes out for days. After a neighbor loaned us a generator our first year, we bought a small quiet sturdy one of our own. Not only will it keep our 2 steers frozen, but the generator itself has proven to be useful for powering the female-scaled power tools in areas too far for an extension cord. Anyway....a freezer can be a vital component of food storage, but it shouldn't be your only one. -Joanna The biggest lesson I’ve learn in our going-on-5-years @ Seven Trees is to diversify when it comes to growing and saving food. Some things you’ll try that don’t work or you don’t like (goats for instance), but if you limit yourself you can end up dependent on something that may be low-tech and sustainable, but still vulnerable to weather, varmints, etc.

We live in the Pacific Northwest where there are usually 7+ rainy months. Summers are “supposed” to be Mediterranean, but the past 2 years have been cold and wet. We lost entire crops of tomatoes and potatoes to blight in a wet summer, and can barely get greens & broccoli growing before they bolt in a hot summer. The same issues apply to rasing food for our livestock. So we’ve learned to be flexible, try everything, then stick with what works and streamline the process.

When it comes to food-keeping we root cellar in the garage (keeps potatoes perfect until April), store squash, garlic & onions in the pantry, pressure can certain veggies, meat, soups & chicken stock, water-bath can fruit products and tomatoes, dehydrate (electrically) lots of fruit & veggies, sun or air dry herbs, and freeze meats & bulk produce until we have time to process it further. One of my favorites is chard that I haev lightly blanched then frozen. I eat it all winter.

We live in an area with hurricane-force winstorms and hte power goes out for days. After a neighbor loaned us a generator our first year, we bought a small quiet sturdy one of our own. Not only will it keep our 2 steers frozen, but the generator itself has proven to be useful for powering the female-scaled power tools in areas too far for an extension cord.

Anyway….a freezer can be a vital component of food storage, but it shouldn’t be your only one.

-Joanna

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By: Sue Sullivan http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20955 Sue Sullivan Mon, 01 Jun 2009 18:26:58 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20955 this was a synchronicitous post for me as well. We were offered an 18 c/f chest freezer for free, just when I had been pondering buying a $200, new, 7 c/f chest freezer to store our growing harvest of backyard produce. I'm not sure if we'll plug it in (though I'm off to google how to use a chest freezer as a fridge) but the young woman who gave us the freezer said that farmers in our area use non-working chest freezers for airtight grain storage. Just thought I'd toss that possibility out for anyone considering turning their freezer off... this was a synchronicitous post for me as well. We were offered an 18 c/f chest freezer for free, just when I had been pondering buying a $200, new, 7 c/f chest freezer to store our growing harvest of backyard produce.

I’m not sure if we’ll plug it in (though I’m off to google how to use a chest freezer as a fridge) but the young woman who gave us the freezer said that farmers in our area use non-working chest freezers for airtight grain storage. Just thought I’d toss that possibility out for anyone considering turning their freezer off…

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By: A Case For Freezing and Not freezing | PrudentHome.com http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20913 A Case For Freezing and Not freezing | PrudentHome.com Sat, 30 May 2009 19:29:45 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20913 [...] such as those expressed in the Energy Bulletin (energybulletin.net) on 5/28/09 in her piece, “Freezing…and why not”. Here are some of her [...] […] such as those expressed in the Energy Bulletin (energybulletin.net) on 5/28/09 in her piece, “Freezing…and why not”. Here are some of her […]

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By: linda http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20902 linda Sat, 30 May 2009 13:08:36 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20902 I'm with Sharon on this. I have not gotten into pressure canning as of yet, but have started dehydrating food as well as water bath canning. We use our freezer for very short term food storage, things we find on sale, some left overs and things like that. I also store my grains, seeds and flour in there during the hotter months. I just have a hard time mentally with the idea of relying on freezing foods in the long term. We have thought of buying a chest freezer in the past but since we don't actually have the space for one have not seriously looked into it. Living without one is workable for us in that it has forced us to think of and learn about alternative methods. My personal question then has become, why take it on if there are other ways? I do admit that the rationale presented in the comments here make sense though. I’m with Sharon on this. I have not gotten into pressure canning as of yet, but have started dehydrating food as well as water bath canning. We use our freezer for very short term food storage, things we find on sale, some left overs and things like that. I also store my grains, seeds and flour in there during the hotter months. I just have a hard time mentally with the idea of relying on freezing foods in the long term.
We have thought of buying a chest freezer in the past but since we don’t actually have the space for one have not seriously looked into it. Living without one is workable for us in that it has forced us to think of and learn about alternative methods. My personal question then has become, why take it on if there are other ways? I do admit that the rationale presented in the comments here make sense though.

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By: curiousalexa http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20886 curiousalexa Fri, 29 May 2009 12:03:42 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20886 My woodworking roommate made a custom rail-and-basket system for our huge chest freezer that came with the house. There were three levels of baskets, with bottom being deepest and top being shallowest. The rail frame allowed the baskets to slide left and right, exposing the baskets underneath. It worked extremely well until a power outage while we were out of town... After throwing everything away and finding the rail system somewhat moldy, we stopped using the freezer entirely. I still miss it some days. A friend of mine has an upright freezer full of rabbit and deer hides waiting to be processed. It's quite the sight - green beans on the top shelf, and furry piles on the rest of the shelves! My woodworking roommate made a custom rail-and-basket system for our huge chest freezer that came with the house. There were three levels of baskets, with bottom being deepest and top being shallowest. The rail frame allowed the baskets to slide left and right, exposing the baskets underneath. It worked extremely well until a power outage while we were out of town… After throwing everything away and finding the rail system somewhat moldy, we stopped using the freezer entirely. I still miss it some days.

A friend of mine has an upright freezer full of rabbit and deer hides waiting to be processed. It’s quite the sight - green beans on the top shelf, and furry piles on the rest of the shelves!

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By: Shira http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20884 Shira Fri, 29 May 2009 01:01:44 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20884 I like my freezer. I buy beef once a year, from a farmer, and it's a good long drive to pick it up. I can time shift some of the jam making from the summer. The freezer is not a perfect solution. I lost last year's green beans to a power outage and I still have a few chickens stuck to the bottom of the freezer in an inch of frozen raspberry puree, but it still cuts way down on shopping. I live in the middle of a city. I can't smoke fish and meat in my scrap of a backyard. I actually know a Salish Indian guy who tried, noop, his neighbors called the fire department. Every time. I have been places where the meat preservation issue is solved by letting the chickens wander around in the street until needed, even in urban areas. Not happening here, at least no time soon. Some places where I've lived, I could go down to an open air market and buy a freshly killed chicken once a week. Chicken man would blowtorch off the pin feathers and then the chicken had to go right in the pot because it wouldn't keep even in the fridge. I had a tiny refrigerator, horridly expensive electricity, and a freezer compartment large enough for a single carton of ice cream. It was fine, but then life was set up that way. There is some danger of outrunning the available social engineering in all this. My mother used to go down the street to buy a live chicken from a neighbor in the middle of St. Louis in the forties. We may get there again, but for now the best way for me to get happy local chickens is to buy a bunch and freeze them. It's far better tasting and cheaper than buying one organic chicken at a time at the store, and besides, the store bought chicken is going to come frozen anyway. The freezer is the answer, until such time as it isn't. And I'm with squrrl above, I'd cut back other places before I'd give up the freezer. Shira in Bellingham, WA I like my freezer. I buy beef once a year, from a farmer, and it’s a good long drive to pick it up. I can time shift some of the jam making from the summer.

The freezer is not a perfect solution. I lost last year’s green beans to a power outage and I still have a few chickens stuck to the bottom of the freezer in an inch of frozen raspberry puree, but it still cuts way down on shopping.

I live in the middle of a city. I can’t smoke fish and meat in my scrap of a backyard. I actually know a Salish Indian guy who tried, noop, his neighbors called the fire department. Every time.

I have been places where the meat preservation issue is solved by letting the chickens wander around in the street until needed, even in urban areas. Not happening here, at least no time soon. Some places where I’ve lived, I could go down to an open air market and buy a freshly killed chicken once a week. Chicken man would blowtorch off the pin feathers and then the chicken had to go right in the pot because it wouldn’t keep even in the fridge. I had a tiny refrigerator, horridly expensive electricity, and a freezer compartment large enough for a single carton of ice cream. It was fine, but then life was set up that way.

There is some danger of outrunning the available social engineering in all this. My mother used to go down the street to buy a live chicken from a neighbor in the middle of St. Louis in the forties. We may get there again, but for now the best way for me to get happy local chickens is to buy a bunch and freeze them. It’s far better tasting and cheaper than buying one organic chicken at a time at the store, and besides, the store bought chicken is going to come frozen anyway.

The freezer is the answer, until such time as it isn’t. And I’m with squrrl above, I’d cut back other places before I’d give up the freezer.

Shira in Bellingham, WA

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By: Anisa http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20880 Anisa Thu, 28 May 2009 21:31:46 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20880 Our family gets most of our meat wild during hunting season. When the husband brings home an entire elk, there's just no where we could keep it besides the freezer. I don't think we could afford to eat without it actually. :) We freeze some veggies and I am getting better at learning to can (though we've had some *interesting* tasting pickles before), I'm comfortable dehydrating or root celaring most of the veggies we don't eat fresh. I am bothered by the amount of energy it take to run the freezer. We were just offered a second chest freezer for free, but it is an older model, and I can't see the need for it (and it's energy consumption) unless Hubby decides to harvest a buffalo this year and we need to store the whole thing before selling shares to our yuppie friends. ;) The nice thing about where we live is that the most likely time for a power outtage here would be winter during a blizzard... so the freezer would have no trouble staying frozen. And our neighbor does have a generator that would be able to keep both our households fed (between his energy and our food, that is). I see all your points in this post. But I just don't know how my family would manage without our freezer. Our family gets most of our meat wild during hunting season. When the husband brings home an entire elk, there’s just no where we could keep it besides the freezer. I don’t think we could afford to eat without it actually. :)

We freeze some veggies and I am getting better at learning to can (though we’ve had some *interesting* tasting pickles before), I’m comfortable dehydrating or root celaring most of the veggies we don’t eat fresh.

I am bothered by the amount of energy it take to run the freezer. We were just offered a second chest freezer for free, but it is an older model, and I can’t see the need for it (and it’s energy consumption) unless Hubby decides to harvest a buffalo this year and we need to store the whole thing before selling shares to our yuppie friends. ;)

The nice thing about where we live is that the most likely time for a power outtage here would be winter during a blizzard… so the freezer would have no trouble staying frozen. And our neighbor does have a generator that would be able to keep both our households fed (between his energy and our food, that is).

I see all your points in this post. But I just don’t know how my family would manage without our freezer.

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By: Ani http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20879 Ani Thu, 28 May 2009 19:48:45 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20879 I'm pretty new to having a freezer actually- it's a super-efficient 12 Volt SunDanzer that runs off my off-grid power supply. The first year I had it I didn't get the temp cold enough and the food was spoiled, but this year I figured it out and everything stores really well in there. I am finding it to be very useful- with a small household it is way more efficient to cook an entire caserole and freeze several portions which I can then thaw out as needed, take with me for lunch at work etc. I can store fruit- blueberries, strawberries, etc, leafy greens, extra bread and all sorts of goodies. I find it to be very efficient actually as I live far from stores. I think it will actually improve my eating habbits and even save energy costs as well as prevent me from wasting food. Could I do without it? Sure- I did all these years, but I am enjoying having it to use I have to admit. I’m pretty new to having a freezer actually- it’s a super-efficient 12 Volt SunDanzer that runs off my off-grid power supply. The first year I had it I didn’t get the temp cold enough and the food was spoiled, but this year I figured it out and everything stores really well in there.

I am finding it to be very useful- with a small household it is way more efficient to cook an entire caserole and freeze several portions which I can then thaw out as needed, take with me for lunch at work etc. I can store fruit- blueberries, strawberries, etc, leafy greens, extra bread and all sorts of goodies. I find it to be very efficient actually as I live far from stores. I think it will actually improve my eating habbits and even save energy costs as well as prevent me from wasting food. Could I do without it? Sure- I did all these years, but I am enjoying having it to use I have to admit.

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By: Susan http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20877 Susan Thu, 28 May 2009 18:21:25 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20877 I just bought a freezer, oddly enough. We purchased a very small (4 cu. ft) many years ago, and as we have become more and more food self sufficient it simply is not enough space. Plus, the basket broke long ago, and we do find that we 'lose' things at the bottom that end up going to waste. Not so with the new one; it has dividers and we plan to label each divider with what will go where. We will be purchasing a side of beef to store, as well as whole chickens from local producers. In the spring I hope to purchase a couple of lambs for meat as well. I do plan to purchase a small solar array to power the freezer from. It will be the only thing in the house off grid permanently. We live 35 miles from the nearest grocery store, and 49 miles from the coop so anything that helps keep the driving down is a good thing. I think it balances out for us, and if gas prices rise it will even be on the positive side of the balance sheet. Our old freezer we have decided to keep, convert to a fridge, and use it to 'root cellar' our potatoes, carrots, yams, etc. It's the only way we can keep that stuff through the winter, it simply doesn't get cold enough for long enough here otherwise. I just bought a freezer, oddly enough.

We purchased a very small (4 cu. ft) many years ago, and as we have become more and more food self sufficient it simply is not enough space. Plus, the basket broke long ago, and we do find that we ‘lose’ things at the bottom that end up going to waste. Not so with the new one; it has dividers and we plan to label each divider with what will go where. We will be purchasing a side of beef to store, as well as whole chickens from local producers. In the spring I hope to purchase a couple of lambs for meat as well.

I do plan to purchase a small solar array to power the freezer from. It will be the only thing in the house off grid permanently.

We live 35 miles from the nearest grocery store, and 49 miles from the coop so anything that helps keep the driving down is a good thing. I think it balances out for us, and if gas prices rise it will even be on the positive side of the balance sheet.

Our old freezer we have decided to keep, convert to a fridge, and use it to ‘root cellar’ our potatoes, carrots, yams, etc. It’s the only way we can keep that stuff through the winter, it simply doesn’t get cold enough for long enough here otherwise.

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By: ChristyACB http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20876 ChristyACB Thu, 28 May 2009 18:11:47 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2009/05/27/freezingand-why-not-to/#comment-20876 I've been so tempted to buy an additional freezer too. Right now I have a ginormous side by side in my kitchen and it is chock full on the freezer side which keeps it very efficient. And I have to say, being able to have some crisply delicious eggplant in March because I stored it in the freeze is far more appealing than those rehydrated lumpish things that I can use only for stews! But, in principle I agree with you so I haven't made the freezer buying leap. I water bath can, pressure can or dehydrate a good 90% of what I don't eat fresh and am just having to learn what to do with them in those forms. But those eggplant... I’ve been so tempted to buy an additional freezer too. Right now I have a ginormous side by side in my kitchen and it is chock full on the freezer side which keeps it very efficient. And I have to say, being able to have some crisply delicious eggplant in March because I stored it in the freeze is far more appealing than those rehydrated lumpish things that I can use only for stews!

But, in principle I agree with you so I haven’t made the freezer buying leap. I water bath can, pressure can or dehydrate a good 90% of what I don’t eat fresh and am just having to learn what to do with them in those forms.

But those eggplant…

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