Thursday, 23 December 2010

Frozen food - but not in a good way!

For the past two or three years we have stored our allotment crops for long term storage on shelves under a car port shelter that Steve erected in our garden. The flat-packed, self-assembly car port kit just happened to fit neatly between the conservatory and our neighbour's outer wall. Not necessary the most attractive outbuilding but certainly very practical - a large mostly weatherproof storage area for garden toys, bikes and produce. In the corner we have a tall cupboard and high up on the wall are shelves where we put boxes of onions, shallots, garlic and apples and bags of potatoes. Ideal really as it is cool and dry yet warmed enough by the adjacent walls to be frost-free.

Or so it was until this week... with nighttime temperatures getting down to -13°C on Saturday, even the potatoes inside the cupboard and double-wrapped in hessian sacks froze solid. So that's that, suddenly no more potatoes, apples or onions in storage.

Fortunately, I happen to have a bag of potatoes in the fridge which was just enough for Sunday's roast dinner but not quite enough for Monday's. Instead, I decided to use the last of these potatoes with some parsnips and a slightly frozen shallot to make potato and parsnip rostis. These turned out to be quite tasty and probably something I shall make on another occasion when it isn't quite such a necessity.

Potato & Parsnip Rostis

Some potatoes
Half the weight in parsnips
1 small onion or shallot
Salt and pepper to taste
A little oil for frying

Place a clean t-towel into a bowl. Peel the potatoes and grate them into the t-towel. Do the same with the parsnips. Peel and finely chop the onions and add to the bowl. Season well then gather the t-towel up around the mixture. Squeeze the t-towel hard to remove the water. Open up the t-towel and scoop out the ingredients in handfuls, squashing them together between your hands. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the rostis gently for 15 minutes in total, turning occasionally.

Later in the week I used a lightly frozen apple in a pork casserole. I imagine that whilst the weather remains bitterly cold I shall be able to use the onions and apples in certain recipes straight from their slightly frozen state but at some point I will have to empty all the boxes and the bags of potatoes into the compost bin before they turn to rotting mush. It is a little disappointing but at least we don't depend on this food for our survival. I now have 4 bags of supermarket potatoes safely stored in our cool front hall so at least we'll have spuds with our Christmas dinner and maybe next year we'll learn our lessons and rethink our storage solution!

1 comment:

  1. Oh no! I'm sure that was a shock. I've never stored things outside like that before. I do have a cabinet in the garage right outside the kitchen door that we keep pop, juice and water in. It's never completely frozen before but it does get really cold. Colder than keeping it in the refrigerator. It's great in the Winter.

    Merry Christmas!