What ingredients/stocks, etc. do you make ahead and freeze?
I searched for this and did not find any thread like this.
What do you make a batch of and freeze or store for later use? I'm not talking about harvesting and canning or freezing, though. I'm looking for what can be prepared in bulk in advance and then used later.
Some examples I do/have done::
Shredded chicken (roast a few, then shred and freeze)
Shredded pork shoulder (smoke or make a butt in slow cooker)
Roux for gumbo
Oatmeal cookie mix
Mojo de ajo sauce (but I don't need to freeze it)
What about you?
my freezer always has bone broths, chicken and beef, that i reduce severely to freeze. i eat a serving almost everyday, so make huge batches.
braised meats and tomato sauce.
Spaghetti Sauce - I actually used canned sauce as a base, then add lots hamburger, onions, peppers etc to it. I usually make a fairly large batch once a month (we love the thick sauce, and have been known to eat it without the pasta).
Mexican Shredded chicken - I'll throw a bunch into the crock pot with Salsa and/or Rotel, shred, use some immediately, and freeze the rest. Great for enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, etc.
Chili - will make a very large batch o either the stove top or slow cooker, intending to freeze at least half.
Chicken Tortilla Soup - Make it in the crock pot, freeze remainders in single-servings for lunches.
Vegetable Beef Soup - Same as above. :)
I can my stock, I don't freeze it. Saves freezer space and it's always ready for use, no thawing needed, no risk of freezer burn or loss from power outage. I'm going to start canning my own marinara sauce for my husband since he loves to make spaghetti on a whim. I already can my own bbq sauce. Other than that, I'm generally an make it now person.
I am generally a make it now person, too. But with only two of us, it is a lot of work to make a shredded pork shoulder for one dinner, so we freeze and keep.
I never had any experience with canning growing up and I don't have the stuff. I use a foodsaver vacuum system so it doesn't use much room in the freezer and I almost never have to worry about freezer burn. [And while I doubt anyone else does this, my freezer is on a big UPS with my fridge, well, and stuff.]
I love my foodsaver too. I haven't gotten around to freezing cooked foods yet, even though we have a huge chest freezer. But we tend toward a cycle of cook a big batch and then have stuff in the fridge for leftovers. We rarely cook food for just one meal at a time, only for items that do not reheat well.
Yes, stock as with all other low acid foods must be pressure canned. I use the Presto 23 qt, Amazon has them for about 75 dollars right now. I bought it specifically to can stock as I got sick of dealing with it frozen. I love it. I can both pints and quarts for convenience.
I do sometimes save up the cooked chicken carcasses in the freezer until I have enough, or the time to do a big batch in the 12 quart stock pot. For Thanksgiving, the turkey carcass goes into the stock pot that night and I pressure can it the next day. One thing I've enjoyed is having turkey stock canned from last year for the next Thanksgiving so I can use it for the dressing and gravy instead of chicken stock if I need it. I haven't gotten around to fish stocks as I don't cook with them often so I generally just make them fresh as needed.
Cooked-from-dry beans are also a great thing to freeze. If I'm not using part of my stash of bulk dry beans (so I can take just what I need from the jar), I'm using a one-pound or two-pound bag of dried beans. Many times, I just don't need that large amount of cooked beans, but I'm very unwilling to chase a half-pound bag of beans around the pantry. So, I cook the whole lot, use what I need, and freeze the rest. For me, this is short term freezing (< 2 months) and they've never seemed to suffer from any degradation in storage.