Seven Weird Things In My Freezer

lemon zest in freezer

I don't like to throw stuff away. It's partly because I want to conserve the environment, and partly because I'm cheap. Turns out the nooks and crannies of your freezer make an ideal vehicle to save food scraps. Here are seven weird things that I store in my freezer.

1. Chicken parts: I have a big freezer bag full of neck bones and rotisserie chicken bones. When the bag is full, I make a delicious chicken stock. The bone broth is approximately 1000% better than store-bought and, since you're using garbage, it's also basically free.

2. Carrot peels, celery tops and parsley stalks: I shove them in the same bag as the chicken bones and dump the whole mess into a stock pot once a month to make chicken stock.

3. Lemon zest:  It seems like recipes either call for lemon juice or zest, always in disproportionate amounts. Before I use a lemon for juice, I zest it and place the unneeded zest into the little sandwich baggy. It's tucked in the door of my freezer and comes in handy every time I bake or need to brighten up a sauce.

4. Partly squeezed lemons and limes: Most recipes call for just 1 tsp of juice, but what becomes of the rest of the slightly squeezed fruit? I keep them in the freezer. They can be stored frozen and microwaved for full juice extraction.

5. Parmesan cheese rinds: The waxy, hard rind of cheese adds great flavor to soups, like minestrone. Instead of throwing away these has-been cheese nubbins, freeze them and add a depth of flavor to your cooking. No prep needed – just drop them into the broth.

6. Black bananas: The minute bananas turn slightly browed and speckled, no one wants to eat them. I keep them in the freezer for banana bread. In addition to saving them from the trash, the freezer makes them blend into the batter easier and they have a more concentrated banana flavor.

7. Ginger: Ginger seems to come in 2 formats in the grocery store – as a powdered spice or an enormous root the size of your hand. Since I prefer the fresh variety, I place unused ginger in my freezer and grate it directly into recipes using a microplane.