Thursday, June 1, 2017

I'll Just Do That Later

Famous last words:  I'll just do that later. 
Let me tell you the truth:  No, you won't.

How do I know?  I'm guilty of this myself.  Pretty much constantly.  It's a bad habit that I'm determined to break.  Do stuff now before you forget!  Because, yeah, you will forget.

This morning, I decided that it was finally time to defrost the freezer.  It wasn't really too bad but I've never done it since I bartered for the freezer a couple of years back.  (By the way, if you've never bartered for something, take courage and do so!  It can seem a little embarrassing at first but usually both sides of the agreement come out winners.  In one deal, I traded my time and listing skills for the freezer, a laptop, and a camera--totally worthwhile and I'm still using all three items.)

Anyway, the freezer.  During these Zero Food Budget Weeks (and I'm about to face another one), I've eaten most the stuff I've saved up in the freezer--there's no soup, no baked beans, no veggie upside down cake (that's one of my favorite easy meals to freeze--my simplified version of Mollie Katzen's amazing recipe is in this post).  There's not much of anything left other than some fruit, pecans, and black eyed peas (much of which came originally from other folks' freezers first).  The problem there is that the dates weren't labelled on the packages so I'm not sure when they were frozen.  It doesn't matter much about the fruit or the peas; those are should be okay.  But pecans contain natural oils and can go rancid--that's something I won't know until I eat them.  For obvious reasons, I'm a little leary.

And I had to toss out a couple of things today that I froze myself that I knew had to be a little too old (they were right at the very bottom of the freezer and there was discoloration, not a good sign) but I hadn't labelled them or maybe I'd have known to use them sooner.  I know better now, and I'll be more careful.

(By the way, here's what I wrote about last summer when I was emptying the freezer and about what I've discovered works well for me:  post one and post two, including some recipe links.)

See, I've never had a freezer before and I'm learning from scratch here.  I know that freezers are status quo with many people but, the way I was raised, we just didn't think that far ahead.  My family wasn't heavily into preserving food (other than sometimes making jam or marmalade), so I just didn't learn.  We bought what we needed weekly and there was rarely anything leftover and nothing was planned for the future.  And I always just did the way my folks did.  But I figure it's never too late to learn.  Maybe getting rid of the refrigerator and bartering for the freezer was the first big decision I ever made to change things for myself.

Unfortunately, I'm still without a small fridge since my little dorm fridge died a couple of months back.  Fortunately I had a back-up with a large fridge that someone left in my workshop (yeah, everything ends up in the workshop somehow) but the fan doesn't work properly and it leaks all over the floor so that I have to keep a bath towel laid in front of it all the time.  And don't even ask me about the big difference it has made in my electric bill (yeah, I can actually see where the bill has gone up).  I want that large fridge gone!  Like yesterday.  I really do not need a large fridge.  But I can't budget a new dorm fridge, so I'm thinking about putting out a plea on FreeCycle.

Now I'm just rambling but the point is that it's a good habit to pay attention to the small stuff--like date labelling freezer items, like figuring out what appliances cost you less in electricity, like planning meals ahead to freeze.  Every little bit counts.  If you already know how to do that stuff, my hat is off to you, but frankly I'm still figuring it out. 

Do you know what Michelangelo said when he was 87 years old?  "Ancora imparo"--"I am still learning."  Me, too, Michelangelo; me, too.

The freezer is all frost-free and clean now.  I'm gonna start re-filling it with nicely labelled containers as soon as I get past ZFB weeks.

Life is good. 

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