After two weeks of no food shopping, I went out last night and stocked up on chicken for the month, as well as a few other things. Without checking, I assumed I would have room in the freezer for it (especially since I hadn’t put anything in for two weeks), which is usually true. Well, that was a mistake. My freezer is very full, for which I’m grateful. But since I didn’t realize this until I got home, I put myself in a challenging situation of having alot of perishable food and no place to store it. Believe me, I’m not complaining about having too much food. But I was very busy for hours last night trying to find a solution (and I’m still working on it today!).
I started by rearranging the fridge to make room for the new groceries. Since earlier in the day I defrosted a large amount of fish to make two new recipes in bulk, I took that out. Then I prepared two fish pies and several loaves of a three layer fish dish – so there was more room in the fridge – but then I needed freezer space to store it! It was a classic catch 22 situation, and one that was repeated every time I tried to make more room.
I realized last night that I had some fresh turkey bones in the fridge so I made a pot of stock (that now needs to go into the freezer). I deboned it and have a pan full of turkey for a stir fry or pot pie now, but then my kids told me we have more turkey bones in the freezer. So I figured I would just cook up another batch and be finished with all of the bones at once.
Because of their shape, they take up a disproportionate amount of room, so even though I would need to put stock and a pan or two of shredded turkey back in the freezer, I figured I would have some space gain. I asked my ds8 to bring up all the bones – and he brought up three big supermarket bags full! I didn’t realize they had been accumulating – I vaguely remember dh bringing them home and asking what to do with them, and me telling him to put them in the freezer. But I didn’t see how much he had, and assumed it was the same amount as usual (enough for one pot of soup). Usually I don’t have more than one batch in the freezer at a time at the very most, but there was a lot after Thanksgiving (in case you’re wondering how we could possibly have so many turkey carcasses, we got them for free from a friend who owns a restaurant). I’m now on my second bagful, so we’re down about 8 carcasses. Just 10 or so carcasses still waiting to be dealt with!! My sink and counter are full of them!
I’ve decided to spend all day making stock and since it’s so concentrated, I can freeze it in small amounts. When I defrost it, I’ll add plenty of water and each container of stock will be the base for a delicious soup. Since I’ll have an entire shelf available in the freezer with all of those bones taken out, I’m planning to spend some time cooking ahead all the chicken I brought home and then pans of chicken will replace the bones. And then I should have a little more room in the fridge – so I can go shopping for vegetables.
By the way, do you know how extremely good for you properly prepared bone broths/stocks are (not the stuff that comes in a can from the supermarket)? I didn’t, until reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon a couple of years ago, a combination of a cookbook and nutritional information resource. She goes into detail about the benefits – a gelatin rich broth (the gelatin is released by the bones that are cooked for a long time) supply hydrophilic colloids to the diet (you’ll have to read the book to know what that means!), and are protein sparing and thereby allow the body to fully utilize the proteins taken in. Gelatin also is useful in the treatment of many chronic diseases. Broths also contain amino acids, cartilage, and collagen, which have been used to treat a number of health ills. In short, they are very nourishing and if you are on a limited food budget, they are not only inexpensive to make, but can substitute for meat in the diet. You can cook your grains in them, use it to flavor other dishes, or use it as a base for incredibly flavorful soup. I always marvel at how everyone seems to think that you need a powdered MSG filled soup mix to give a soup flavor – definitely not!
Last winter I posted instructions on how to make stock from scratch, so if you want to try your hand at it, you can click here.