I Only Use My Freezer for Ice Cream. Is That OK?

(Image credit: Samantha Bolton)

The original title of this post was “The Only Thing I Have in My Freezer Is Ice Cream, and That’s Okay.” But the truth is, I’m not so sure that it is. That is not to say that I am passing any judgment on whatever you may (or may not) have in your freezer. And ice cream is great! It’s my opinion that you should always, always have ice cream in your freezer.

But, is it the only thing? I’m not so sure anymore.

The Freezer of My Childhood

I grew up in a home where the freezer was for ice cream and ice cubes — and nothing else. Literally. Nothing. I cannot think of a single thing that we put in the freezer that was not ice cream or ice cubes. And I don’t even think we used the ice cubes; our freezer made them automatically, so they were just there.

The main thing was the ice cream. There was a family-run ice cream parlor a mile or so away from us called Van Dyke’s. They made their own ice cream and we used to go there after Little League baseball games (which we always lost). We also bought quarts of the stuff, mostly vanilla back then. We ate it with melted Toblerone bars drizzled on top and it was heaven.

My Introduction to Real Freezers

A freezer with ice cream, ice cubes, and nothing else is how I always assumed freezers looked, well into my adulthood. I’m not even really sure when I had the shocking realization that freezers could be used for SO MUCH MORE.

This fact probably didn’t truly hit home until I dated a chef who had not one freezer, but two, one of which was a huge monster of a thing that resided in the basement and was filled with things like squirrel and deer.

And honestly? At first I wasn’t into this version. It felt disorganized and frost-bitten and what was that random quart of meat in there anyway? (Hopefully it wasn’t squirrel.)

My Freezer Turning Point

I turned my nose up at the freezer for a good long while, although I did start storing my flour in the freezer. (If you live in a tiny apartment and you’re not doing this, I highly recommend it. It frees up precious pantry space and also keeps your flour out of pests’ way.)

And then I started a new job that challenged the beliefs I held dear. My co-workers opened my mind to the magic and possibility of all manner of household appliances I had previously scoffed at: the slow cooker! The pressure cooker! The Instant Pot!

Before, I thought (perhaps a little haughtily): What do I need these for? I am a minimalist and can make do with my cast iron skillet and my Dutch oven.

Now, I think: I wonder what amazing dishes these appliances can help me make?

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

If I could get into spiralizing and give sous-vide a go, could I not expand my definition of what a freezer should be?

So, not too long ago, I made Michael Solomonov’s recipe for tahini sauce (or tehina, as he would say). It makes a quart of sauce and, me being only me, I did not think I could eat a quart in a week. So I divided the sauce into two and I froze a pint.

I don’t know when I’ll use it, or how. To be honest, the fact that it’s in my freezer makes me a little nervous. But also happy! It is a turning point — and I am excited about all the frozen food possibilities to come.

And, of course, I’ll always have ice cream in my freezer.

Your turn: What do you have in your freezer?