My teen-aged son has been filling up the family crock pot the past few days with different recipes for the new year.
We worked together on his grocery lists.
“Put down green peppers,” he said, turning the pages of my favorite cookbook.
“Look in the freezer,” I said, hovering my pen over the scrap piece of paper and waiting for the next ingredient. “We have plenty of bell peppers from the garden. They are diced and ready to go.”
“Ok, add chopped tomatoes,” he said, moving his finger down the page.
“They are the freezer,” I said.
“What about squash?” he asked.
“It’s in the freezer,” I said, putting down my pen.
“Maybe I’ll make Eggplant Parmesan, too,” he said.
“The key ingredient is in the freezer.”
I also have zucchini, beans, onions and potatoes — all frozen from the summer garden. Digging past those foods, he will find packages of sauce, vegetable soup and stewed tomatoes made from our 2016 harvest and more freezer pickles than we could ever eat made with cucumbers from the garden.
Looking at how much food we have stashed in our refrigerator freezer, with more in the basement freezer box, I realize I’m a garden hoarder. Most of the food we put away from the garden remains uneaten along with the pick-your own strawberries and blueberries we collected at local farms and frozen cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving.
Maybe it’s good that we have those vegetables and fruits stored away as we resolve once again to eat healthy and exercise in the coming year.
But it’s time for me to stop being freezer stingy.
While others welcome 2017 with a Polar Plunge swim in the frigid sea, I plan to dive into our freezer and surface with some of the food I have been stockpiling. The taste of summer could provide great hope and comfort in the bitter days of winter when I don’t want to venture out into the cold to go to the grocery store.
Here’s a toast for 2017: May the new year bring the taste of homegrown vegetables to everyone’s crock pot. May people everywhere share an abundance of desserts made with fresh local fruits! And may we all have successful gardens and good help in the kitchen throughout the coming year.