There is something understated and charming about Thanksgiving that simply does not compare to Christmas. As a child I cherished the frantic shopping and storing that became synonymous with Thanksgiving, and watched with amazement as my family crammed into my grandmother’s small kitchen calculating cooking times and choreographing the oven relay with near perfection. The pint size version of myself would navigate under arms, around waist lines and bounce through legs to catch a glimpse of the commotion, captivated by the swearing, the laughter and the memories being made while turkey smells wafted around the house. By the time I was 8 I was granted full kitchen access, and given the role of prepping our freezer and ultimately passing out the all important freezer items as they were needed. This November I am passing that tradition on to my daughter Margeaux who eagerly accepted the role of “freezer princess”, and who is now writing her list and filling our freezer with the essentials needed to pull of a stress free Thanksgiving.
10 Items to freeze before Thanksgiving
- Herb drops: Freeze fresh herbs and olive oil in ice cube trays, and use them as needed to create aromatic stuffing, roasted vegetables, or accent your roasting tray.
- Bacon fat: Freeze your bacon fat in ice cube trays or in measured amounts using freezer safe bags, and then add them to your gravy or roasting tray.
- Red wine: If, on the odd occasion, you have left over wine, add it in measured amounts to a freezer safe bag and then use it to create fabulous sauces or post Thanksgiving stews.
- Mash Potatoes: Save oven space by freezing your mash potatoes in a freezer safe container before your start cooking your Thanksgiving meal, and then reheat them in the oven prior to serving.
- Gravy: Roast chicken bones, vegetable scraps, onions and garlic in a pan, then add chicken stock to the mix to create a faux Thanksgiving gravy base. Freeze it in a freezer safe bag, and then add it to your Thanksgiving roasting pan to for easy Thanksgiving gravy.
- Baked goods: Spend the month baking fresh breads, muffins and rolls for freezing, and then thaw them on Thanksgiving eve to ensure you have plenty of baked goodies to nibble on throughout the day.
- Celery: Celery is a stock stable and essential for adding flavor to your roasting tray and left over soups — but it takes up so much room and never lasts as long as you wish it would. Wash, dry and then seal in an air tight freezer safe bag. On Thanksgiving day, drop your frozen celery into your roasting pan or stews as needed.
- Butter Cream Frosting: Keep the children happy with fresh butter cream cupcakes, by making a batch prior to Thanksgiving, freezing it an an air tight freezer safe container, and then thawing it on Thanksgiving eve (along with your fresh cupcakes). Once thawed, frost and serve with little to no effort.
- Fresh Cranberry Relish: Regardless if you served stewed cranberries or a cranberry salad, you can make them prior to Thanksgiving, and then store them in freezer safe bags.
- Vodka, Rum and Tequila: While these will not freeze, they will stay chilled allowing you to serve chilled cocktails all day long.