Monday, 2 September 2019

Dealing with the "F" word

Food in your salad drawer freezing? 
Waste no want not, make freezer burn summer soup.
Can you believe it? I’ve been cursed with freezer burn again.  And it’s all the fault of my stupid fridge instead of my stupid self.You see, we have one of those refrigerators with the freezer on the bottom*, that were tout la rage about 10 years ago.You know … the kind you have to press your face onto the kitchen floor to get the ice cube tray out of.  Yes …. one of those.Well the other problem with having the freezer directly below the fridge is that everything in the salad drawer tends to freeze very easily and without warning.We've all had the misfortune of opening the fridge to find our precious Cos lettuce that we drove all the way to Spain to purchase has been frozen. It could be fruit, vegetables, meat, or even dairy,accidental fridge freezing is not disastrous,but very very annoying.  
I am sure you have heard rumours that once vegetables are freezer burned they are no good and should be thrown out. This is not true. While they may look and taste a little “different”,the FSIS (food safety and inspection site) states that freezer burned vegetables are not dangerous. So, all is not lost! Here is one way to save your freezer burnt salad and eliminate food waste in your kitchen. Using freezer burned vegetables is just like using any frozen vegetables. 
Why is this little oxymoronic food term important? Many of us are eating fresh, sustainable food these days and such foods do not have the shelf life of processed foods. This means that we all need to know how to store “real food” (as opposed to processed food) to retain maximum flavour, texture, and all of those important nutrients. Storage know-how is especially apropos this time of year, when fresh produce is so bountiful that you might be wondering, what the heck do I do with all of these um vegetables?

Freezer burn summer soup
12 oz (350 g) potatoes, peeled and finely diced
4 or 5 spring onions, finely chopped (including the green parts)
1 small lettuce (approx 8 oz, 225 g in weight),, washed, patted dry and shredded
½ medium cucumber, chopped (no need to peel) 
6 oz (175 g) frozen peas
3 oz (75 g) butter
1½ pints (850 ml)chicken or vegetable stock
Approx. 2 tablespoons single cream (optional)
snipped fresh chives, to garnish
salt and freshly milled black pepper


First of all, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter gently, then add the potatoes, spring onions, lettuce and cucumber.Stir everything round in the butter then, keeping the heat very low, put a lid on and let everything sweat for 10 minutes. Now pour in the stock, stir, add some salt and freshly milled black pepper and bring to the boil.Add the frozen peas, then reduce the heat to low, put the lid on and let it simmer gently for another 20 minutes.
Leave the soup to cool a little, then puree the whole lot in a blender. If you need to do this in two batches, it is helpful to have a bowl to hand to put the first batch in.Transfer to a bowl and leave in the refrigerator until completely chilled. Just before serving stir through the cream,if using, until blended.
Garnish with the freshly snipped chives stirred in at the last moment or sprinkle a few into each bowl.
*Refrigerators with top freezers use 10 to 25 percent less energy than ones with bottom freezers.
A top-freezer is the traditional option. It’s also the cheaper option and the more energy-efficient option. The main drawback? It won’t win you any design awards and you’ll have to face the risk of a shower of ice cubes tumbling out and hitting you in the face as you stretch up toopen the ice compartment

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