Freezer

This is another big energy draw. I have one stand-up freezer that we keep filled for maximum efficiency. We’ve resisted offers of additional freezers because this one keeps us in food for the year. The freezer is such a big investment that it’s the appliance we would use a generator to maintain in an emergency. With wood stoves in the house we have backup heating and cooking systems, but we’d hate to lose a year’s worth of meat, and we also want to honor the animals.

Meat

The freezer holds a year’s worth of meat. We buy half a pig and a quarter (or so) of a cow in the fall and turn these over within the year. I get a chicken a week from Blackjack Valley Farm and use them within the week. Fish goes in and out of the farmers markets, I buy extra when it’s available. Meat is far and away the biggest single item in the freezer, using three-quarters of the space.

Pork, beef, chicken, fish.

Dairy

Goat cheese is available fresh locally. Cow cheese isn’t, unless we make it ourselves. I buy Tillamook cheddar on sale and freeze it. We use about a pound a month and stock three or four in the freezer. Butter is also not available yet in Kitsap, and we use way more butter than we can make. We use a pound a week and keep twelve in the freezer. I write the date I bought them on the packages with a sharpie so I can make sure to use the oldest first.

Cheese, butter.

Vegetables

The first year we converted from industrial to local food I froze every vegetable that came into season. As we changed our approach to food we realized that we prefer to eat fresh from seasonal vegetables rather than eating frozen vegetables out of season. There are a few exceptions however. Celery takes a year to grow and comes available just once in late fall. I grow this and freeze it for use in soups, stews and stir fries all year. I throw in carrots and onions with some of these for instant mirrepoix. Peas are great in stir-fries, we can never get enough of these. In late fall I monitor the squashes in the pantry, and when a type of squash hits the end of its shelf life I bake them all and freeze some and use within the month.

Celery, celery-onion-carrot mix, peas, squash.

Fruits

I freeze some cherries in season to use in ice cream and crumbles. Berries freeze so easily that I tend to have a lot of them, they’re great eating out of hand.

Cherries, raspberries, blueberries.