The freezer compartments of my 3 fridges belong to the most important accessories of my kitchen: I simply could not do without them. They sustain my existence as a happy housewife. Most importantly, they prevent that cooking turns into an irritating chore. On any given day I have usually 3 or 4 frozen meals safely tugged away. When I don’t feel like preparing food for whatever reason, I just pull out a meal and in a quarter of an hour or little more dinner is ready.
Strangely enough, I don’t remember my mother using frozen food. She only prepared frozen spinach puree and frozen fish fingers. She never put ready cooked meals into the freezer: This space was mostly dedicated to hold ice creams. The capacity of my mother’s freezer compartment was rather limited so she had to cook every day. I remember her wondering aloud sometimes in the morning, sounding rather desperately: “What do I cook today? Give me an idea!” When I run out of ideas, I simply open my freezer and study the contents. Although my mother uses a bit more frozen food today - half of her current fridge is freezer space – she never got into freezing ready made meals.
Needless to say, I had to find out by myself how to make the most of freezing. When I was working in Germany, I started to freeze portions of ready cooked dishes. As any working woman knows, after a hard day on the job you really don’t feel like starting to hustle and bustle around in the kitchen for your dinner. There are plenty of occasions when it is very handy to just pull out a container from the freezer - even when you don’t belong to the working mothers and housewives.
Writing this cook book I turned to the internet for information about freezing food. To my surprise I discovered an American website whose author instructs you how to do the cooking for a full month during one weekend! Honestly, this kind of squirreling away ready cooked meals seems a bit exaggerated to me. Just consider the logistics for shopping and the enormous freezer capacity you need for this kind of project. Not to mention the stress of cooking a huge amount of food during one weekend. What a strain! What a hassle! And then here in India, maybe a long power cut arrives and you have to get rid of all the food in one or two days.
This kind of cooking may be practicable in the USA, where you can do all your shopping in one supermarket and power cuts are few and far between. For India and Goa I think it is simply too difficult. However it is effortless to prepare some times a bit more food and have a couple of meals stashed away, as mentioned before.
Freezing is very simple; there are just few rules you have to follow. The one thing you want to avoid is the so-called freezer burn. When food is not properly wrapped it looses moisture in the freezer. It can absorb or transfer smells from other frozen foods. Frozen chicken breasts which you can get in various supermarkets in Goa often show signs of freezer burn. Normally they are protected by only one plastic cover which frequently is torn at one corner or simply is not closed properly. Through this tear air enters and the chicken breast turns a whitish color. Always examine frozen chicken breasts carefully before buying them. This might not make you very popular with the shop owners but it is better than wasting your money on damaged goods.