Operation Freezer, Week Two: Roasted Chicken and Raspberries in Syrup

January 17, 2012

This has been a red-letter week in Operation Freezer. I managed to use up freezer items for at least three delicious meals, and to dispose of one sad lonely pork loin chop that has been making me feel guilty every time I open Freezer One.

However. I have been thinking. I’ve decided that my Freezer Issue isn’t as bad as I made it out to be last week. In my big delve through the freezers, I did not find very many things in there labeled earlier than 2011. Ok, SOME, but I’m not joining FreezeHoarders Anonymous quite yet.

What I really need to do is use up stuff from my pantry. Like the faded split peas I noticed in there, and the 3-year-old dried cranberries, and the organic coconut sugar. To be honest, you can’t even get into my pantry without advanced yoga teacher training certification. Which is why I usually shut the door and go grocery shopping.

So, ok, how about both? How about this becomes Operation Pantry-Freezer? or maybe Operation Use-It-Up? Right now I am tempted to call it Operation Give-It-Up, but I will persevere.

In the meantime, the best and worst from Operation Freezer, week two:

Worst – Jan 12th, organic pork loin chop finally meets its maker. I didn’t even try to eat it, so freezer-burned was it. I’ve been keeping this chop (because it was organic) with the plan of using a soy-brown sugar-garlic marinade to revive it and then turn it into a stir-fry. But I surrendered to the inevitable. May it feed lots of flower beds in the city compost.

Best – Jan 13th and 14th, two different roasted chicken dinners! Friday saw us eating chicken thighs roasted to crisp perfection over a bed of thinly-sliced Yukon gold potatoes (recipe coming soon), and Saturday I made my family’s favourite Roasted Chicken Dinner in a clay roaster – and used up some guilt-inducing parsnips, leeks, and squash while I was at it! That was one of those satifying times when I got to feel all smug about the organic pasture-raised chickens in my freezers and the variety of veggies in my crisper. YES.

Honourary Mention – Jan 15th, frozen raspberries in syrup on our Sunday morning pancakes. Last summer, I raved about this method of freezing berries. It pays off especially during these dreary days of January when we would kill for a taste of summer. Funny thing, though – I had forgotten that I had any berries in syrup because the jars were all buried at the bottom of Freezer Three! Anyway, during my Dig, I found this lovely jar of raspberries and this is what I did with it:

How to Use Your Frozen Berries in Syrup
You don’t necessarily want to use the berries as-is because the syrup is too thin and watery and that will make your pancakes or shortcake all soggy. That doesn’t mean you can’t use the berries and syrup as-is, but if you want to intensify the berry flavour and sweetness, you will do the following:

1. Thaw the berries at room temperature for about 6 to 8 hours.

2. Drain berries , reserving the syrup. Place berries in a bowl while they are waiting for the syrup to be boiled.

3. Pour the syrup into a pot. Bring to a boil and boil for about 10 minutes, until syrup is a mass of thick bubbles, like so:

4. Remove thickened syrup from the heat (still in the pot, though) and let it cool for a few minutes.

5. Pour the syrup back over drained fruit and stir gently. Voila! Super fruity-syrupy goodness, ready for your pancake or shortcake enjoyment. Also tastes good in smoothies, on yogurt, in parfaits and trifles, on scones, or just in your mouth. Yum. Try this on kefir pancakes:

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