We all watch it happens gradually before our eyes. We bring them home and place them on our counters, hoping to indulge in their sweet and potassium goodness whenever we desire. But, slowly they become a science project. It’s the metamorphosis of our firm, yellow ripe bananas. By the way, the over-ripened ones are excellent in smoothies, pancakes and fritters.
You see, this transformation of ripe bananas often happens during the warmer months of the year (spring/summer). And, if you reside in South Florida, USA where I am, you know that although it’s spring on the calendar the temperatures are heading for the nineties today. And, that’s brutal for these ripe bananas.
However, there’s a way to lengthen the shelf life of these potassium-rich fruits. Once I spot a speckle or two, I immediately grab a zip lock bag or any plastic bag and place bananas within. Bag is placed in refrigerator where the cooling will stop the ripening process of bananas. It works A1 all the time. Yippee!!
I do think the freezer is one of the most important inventions of the 20th century. We often take this compartment of the refrigerator for granted; but, before its creation, ice and snow were used for preserving foods. Holes were dug in the ground then straw and wood laid. Then, the snow and ice were packed. Of, course, there were the other options which are still in use today, like salting, spicing, smoking, pickling and drying.
Clearly, we have come a long way and are fortunate to be able to preserve foods by simply utilizing this very essential compartment of the refrigerator. Over the years, as my life becomes extremely busy, I’ve re-discovered the importance of my freezer. As a result, I try to make it work for me at its greatest capacity. Doing so has enabled me to save on precious time as well as dollars and cents.
In this day and age, I just couldn’t fathom living without the freezer. Therefore, I take full advantage of its presence. Inside my freezer, you will typically find seafood (sometimes, shrimp, salmon, tilapia or any other), poultry (chicken/ground turkey), and a meat or two.
Other foods that I like to store are:
Frozen vegetables like spinach, mixed vegetables. Whenever there’s a glut on the market, I try to purchase seasonal produce which tend to a little inexpensive compared to out of season. In order to obtain a longer shelf life from these produces, I’ll blanch same and pack them in ziplock bags.
Over-ripened bananas – the peels are removed and then packed in ziplock bags. These bananas are used for smoothies and pancakes
Root ginger – this is stored in baggies after it rinsed under tap water. I use this in different dishes, smoothies and other beverages.
Berries – Different types of berries are rinsed and packed in bags for a quick frozen snack or smoothies
Coconut milk – after blending coconut and extracting milk, this is strained and placed in tupper wares for when needed for a dish
Because I don’t cook on a daily basis, I try to use my down time to prep and cook different dishes from scratch. As a matter of fact, certain dishes like stews, and soups taste even better days later because the flavors become more absorbed into the dishes.
This gives me great peace of mind knowing that I used my own wholesome ingredients to input in my meals. I have control over the spices,herbs,sugar,oil and sodium content. After cooling I pack my dishes into containers for when I desire.
Tupper wares and zip lock bags are my kitchen companions. They keep my meals and foods in serving sizes. Otherwise, I would have to defrost big batches.
I also retain containers from Chinese delivery. Along with the tupper wares, they are perfect for storing my dishes. However, later on, when consuming, I make sure to heat in glass containers so as to avoid the break down of the plastics.
Overtime, I’ve learned a valuable lesson in regards to storing meals. Thus, I try my utmost best to create labels. Example, type of food/dish, date, raw/seasoned or cooked. You see,overtime, once frozen, the foods tend to appear similar. On a few occasions, I had to learn the hard way trying to decipher chicken breast from a white fish and raw from cooked. In addition, I’ve tried to adopt the “first-in, first-out” (FIFO) inventory method. This application has allowed me to use up my older dishes from the fresher ones.
Guys, I see my freezer in a different light. It has allowed me great peace of mind knowing that I can grab a well-balanced meal, defrost same and reheat instead of cooking from scratch. The extra time I’ve on hand can be used to secure a little more shut-eye, burst a sweat on the outskirts and spend more time with loved ones. My freezer is priceless.