With a full plate of family, work and community commitments, one busy mom -- a neighbor -- saves time and money with a 20-cubic-foot freezer. She considers it a valuable household management tool.
Her secrets -- bulk shopping and marathon cooking sessions. On a typical shopping trip she purchases 30 half-gallon containers of milk, and large quantities of chicken and salmon. Her super-sized shopping helps her reduce trips.
She keeps her freezer stocked with soups, home-made breads and other goodies. The rationale: cooking a large pot of soup takes no more effort than preparing smaller portions. And having a supply of prepared foods reduces kitchen prep time for this mom who holds down a part-time job.
She bakes bread for the taste and the savings. ''I don't buy baked goods,'' she said.
The freezer offers cold storage for uncooked noodles, cereals and other grain products. The freezer preserves freshness and keeps products bug free, a consideration in Florida.
Whether you store dry goods or meat in the freezer, the team at Whole Foods store recommends the following handling tips:
• Seal food properly. Food, especially meat and fish, should be properly wrapped and stored to avoid frost burn, leaks and cross-contamination.
• Don't block the fan. If a freezer is overstocked with food, a lack of ventilation could hamper the cooling units.
• Divide and seal fish and meat into meal- or individual-sized portions before freezing. Smaller portions defrost more quickly.
This is from my latest column in the home & design section of the Miami Herald.