My current freezer situation is not good. You might say that the hellscape of my freezer is definitely overstuffed with my good intentions. Freezing food is wonderful, and it’s the easiest way I know not to be wasteful, but my freezer is not large. I don’t have a full-sized refrigerator and the freezer is just a small, unorganized box with no shelves. As a result, it’s a bit of a gamble to even open the freezer these days; I find myself bracing to catch whatever frozen foodstuff that has been precariously perched on top when last closing the door. I could probably only eat out of my freezer for two weeks and never miss a meal. I wouldn’t have any veggies, but I definitely wouldn’t starve. So, I made it my mission this month to start grocery shopping my freezer and try to reduce the contents to a somewhat manageable level, or at least allow my roommate to use her half of it again.
A few of the items I found crammed and buried in my freezer last week:
- A rack of ribs I’ve been meaning to cook since September
- The chicken I overbought for a friend’s going away party
- Breakfast cookies I didn’t remember making but now remember hating
- Extra sugar cookie dough from November
- Various compound butters
- Half a pack of bacon from…when?
- Two gallon-sized bags of chicken broth
- Ice (I have ice? I have ice!)
- A metric ton of bread heels, crusts, and scraps I’ve been collecting since I moved into my apartment
I decided to tackle that last bullet point first. My purpose in stockpiling all those bread scraps was to make breadcrumbs, and I really did have good intentions. I’m so proud of myself every time I add other heel of bread or a last, stale slice to the bag, reveling in my thriftiness and congratulating myself on not being wasteful. But here’s the thing: I rarely need breadcrumbs. I can’t remember the last time I made a recipe that called for them, and I have my iPhone for when I get lost in the woods. The one store-bought container I have has been collecting dust in the back of my pantry for more than a year. Without a reason to make breadcrumbs with my scraps, they’ve just remained in my freezer commanding a hefty amount of precious real estate.
No more. I would clear out some serious space and transform my bread scraps into crumbs ASAP. I pulled out the food processor, got to work, and 20 minutes later I had pulverized every last scrap. It was easy, and my over-stuffed, gallon size bag of bread was condensed into a liter sized jar of crumbs…that I immediately put in the freezer for storage.
For the crumbs:
bread scraps (crusts, heels, etc)
- Bring any amount of fresh or frozen bread scraps to room temperature. Heat oven to 300 and spread scraps on a baking sheet in a single layer, torn into smaller pieces if necessary. Dry out in the oven for 15 minutes. Let cool.
- Pulse in batches in a food processor, until desired size. I like a mixture of finely ground and larger pieces for more interesting texture. If necessary, sift out larger pieces and re-grind in the food processor.
- Transfer crumbs to an airtight container and store in the freezer.