You know that moment when you open the freezer and the last thing that was shoved into it drops on your foot. You howl in pain and vow to clean it out—pronto! That was the state of the Accidental Locavore’s freezer. As a challenge, I thought I’d see how long we could go eating what we already have, buying vegetables and perishables only.
The unofficial start was March 12th — with a grape leaf “pie” from Ottolenghi’s Nopi cookbook (delicious!) made with ground beef and a marrowbone from the freezer — and is still going on as we reach the end of April. We have eaten out several times, and I haven’t really counted the nights we ate leftovers, but so far it’s been over 20 meals created from what we had on hand.
I have bought fish three times, some (extraordinarily tough) chicken thighs and a couple of pork tenderloins, but that’s it for the meat and seafood section of the market in eight weeks. Needless to say, our grocery bill was significantly lower too.
So what does a month of shopping the freezer look like?
- The aforementioned grape leaf pie
- Albondigas I made for Frank before I left for France and an avocado with dressing.
- Lunch of salad with feta (homemade), and leftover steak
- Indian chicken, basmati rice and roasted broccoli
- Guests for dinner of pulled pork and mac and cheese
- Pasta Puttanesca with Italian sausage (from the pig class)
- Moroccan lamb shanks with artichokes, butternut squash (from freezer), dried chickpeas (balance now in freezer) and couscous
- Leftover grape leaf pie
- Chicken with cilantro chutney
- Meringue cookies with chocolate from freezer, cornflakes from cupboard, egg whites from hollandaise sauce
- Broccoli soup with stock from freezer
- Lamb stew with spinach and basmati rice
- Lasagna, sauce and Italian sausage from freezer
- Pork roast with hoisin sauce
- Cod wrapped in banana leaves (from freezer) with cilantro chutney
- Amazing Tartine Bakery bread for toast
- Lamb-stuffed grapeleaves
- French onion soup
- Another batch of pasta Puttanesca with Italian sausage and a couple of meatballs
- Lasagna with the leftover Puttanesca
- Chocolate salted-caramel mousse with chocolate from the freezer (and some tuiles I whipped up
- Rao’s meatballs with ground beef we were going to make burgers from
- BBQ spare ribs
My verdict: Without my FoodSaver (sealer) almost all of this would have suffered from freezer burn–it is worth the money! All the pork, lamb and beef we got locally was either sealed or well wrapped in butcher paper. Even with all these great meals, the freezer is still pretty packed. We could/can go at least another month and let me tell you, shopping from my freezer is a whole lot easier than running out to the market every other day! Besides, I like the challenge of working with what I’ve got. How long do you think you could go shopping your freezer?
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Thanks! Still a long way to go, but it’s fun to figure it all out.
Oh my goodness! You had quite the restaurant in your fridge, the meals you made sound so good.
I am going to try the Coq au Vin; Thanks so much! 🙂
I love this recipe for Indian chicken and you can make it as spicy as you like: http://wp.me/p2SJwY-61.
The other classic for dealing with tough birds is coq au vin: http://wp.me/p2SJwY-6s. If you don’t have any red wine, white will always do.
Joe found chicken in the basement freezer that was exactly two years old. I started to defrost it, but after 4 hours it was still rock hard.I thought it might take two years to defrost. I went online to verify it’s viability as a safe food source, and the consensus was that it was safe to eat but may have lost it’s flavor. The article I read suggested using the chicken in stews,casseroles, curries, etc., where more flavor could be added to the dish by way of spices, onions, etc. I have to cook it tonight – any suggestions, Anne?