Our tomato harvest is peaking and the time to make various sauces and soups to freeze for the winter is here. So, this morning John and I cleaned out the freezer and came up with a new method of tracking and some 'rules' to follow.
The method is simple and we are determined to keep up with it. I had purchased a pad of graph paper for John to keep track of his garden plans and used it to make a list of our inventory. Then for each item type, I marked the squares with the date if I knew it, or a dot if I didn't. The plan is to mark off food as we use it. And add items to the list as we go.
I made three pages; one for meats, soups and sauces, and miscellanea. They will be kept on the freezer door.
The main rule - which isn't really new - is to identify and date each package/container. I can no longer rely on my memory. We package most soups and sauces in pint containers to freeze. Then we pop them out of the container and use the FoodSaver to make 'bricks'. The problem was we weren't always marking the containers, then waiting too long to remember the contents when we made the bricks. Sometimes it's a mystery when one of the containers gets pushed to the back and overlooked for too long.
The other rules are to use the oldest items first and check the inventory for meal planning each week. Hardly original!
Based on our existing freezer inventory and garden bounty, here are our menus for the upcoming week.
- BBQ Chicken, roasted potato wedges and garden green beans (using leftover Bourbon BBQ Sauce)
- Cioppino, crusty bread and a salad (I use the recipe in The New Basics Cookbook by Rosso and Lukina)
- Chicken Enchiladas with mole sauce and Calabacitas. This uses some leftover mole sauce and garden peppers.