Freezing Time

Rabbi Steinsaltz was busy with a multitude of large projects—including, I might add, the incredible feat of translating the Talmud into English. He went to the Rebbe and asked which projects he should drop, to which the Rebbe responded (not entirely surprisingly) to not drop any of them, but to work on time management so as to change the very nature of time.

How do you change the very nature of time? For one, you can learn to love your freezer. Make a double batch of cake, serve one and freeze one, and you literally froze the time it takes to make a cake.

Freezing Tips

To avoid the dreaded “freezer burn,” double-wrap food items in Ziploc freezer bags and label with a permanent marker. Well-wrapped items can stay in the freezer for six months at least, but don’t let things stay in your freezer forever. Mentally take inventory every few weeks, so that your hard work yields its ROI (return on investment), or keep a list of frozen items on your refrigerator door.

Defrosting Tips

Soups need to be reboiled, and kugels and challah have to be wrapped in aluminum and put into a hot oven. Cake and cookies are simply defrosted at room temperature, which also means that they shouldn’t be frozen for too long, as they don’t lose any freezer burn through reheating.

Menu Ideas

  • Make a double batch of cake or cookies and freeze. You can also take a batch of raw cake mixture and freeze into small aluminum pans. These mini-cakes can be put in the oven at night and preset to cook early in the morning for special days.
  • Make a turkey or brisket, and slice and freeze for several meals.
  • Freeze any soup into small portions. Chicken soup and lentil soup freeze especially well, as do most soups with low potato content.
  • Freeze fully cooked knaidlach (dumplings). Defrost them in the fridge and put them into soup after it’s reboiled. (They are fragile!)
  • Freeze cooked meatballs in sauce; reheat in a Crock-Pot.
  • Prepare lasagna in bulk; reheat in a preset oven.

Don’t Advertise Your Brilliance

While it may be tempting to share your excitement over serving chicken soup that has been in the freezer for three months, most husbands and children will most likely immediately stop eating. Save your brilliance for your good friends.

Fresh or Frozen?

Once you have had some success, it is up to you to experiment and continue to leverage your ability to freeze time. I am well aware that children and husbands prefer fresh rather than frozen food items. I agree that they may taste better. However, if there is a choice between 100% fresh food and a frazzled mom, or 60% fresh food/40% frozen food and a sane mom, I would choose the latter.