Eliminating Freezer Burn

This freezing trick comes as an addendum to a great tip I learned from my friend Kim O’Donnel, who was in town teaching classes last weekend. Enjoy this two-for-one hip trick deal!

I inherited from a market demo an excess quart basket of overripe tomato seconds (the not-pretty, but still great eating variety), and with these tomatoes I made tomato paste. Kim said to peel and seed then puree the tomatoes, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and bake in a low oven (200) for an hour or two until the water evaporates and you’re left with tomato paste. 

Store this or any freezer-bound goods in a straight sided mason jar (to allow ice crystals to evenly expand upward and prevent jar breakage) and top with a little piece of foil to eliminate air from coming into contact with the surface of your food, thus cutting down the odds of freezer burn. (p.s. Yes, this is precisely a reiteration of this very hip trick, but less the plastic touching your food, score!)

Update: A couple hip readers mentioned that the foil might leach aluminum into acidic foods (like tomatoes!) so maybe a small round of parchment paper would do best? The trick would be to cut it just right so it sits completely inside the jar rim and fits on top of the food without bubbling up and causing a pocket of air between food and parchment.

DIY knife block

This hip trick comes to us courtesy of Paula over at Springdale Farm, not too far from my house in East Austin. I was recently in Paula’s kitchen for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance’s cookbook photo shoot and this little gem came to my attention.

Paula told me about how their lovely knife block was an idea she saw in a magazine. They personalized the idea with a box that’s made from shiplap wood from their home’s renovation. Your box can be something personalized like this, or even a repurposed vintage container/jar you love filled with wood skewers. If your proposed knife block container is shorter than the skewers, just snip the skewers with a wire cutter and place them cut-side down in the container so they’re flush with the top.

Upright members of your closet

This hip trick comes to us from Kris in Portland OR.

To help calf and knee boots both keep their shape and remain standing in the closet, weed out some of those old t-shirts or shorts you’ve been meaning to give away (or stash summer clothes just for the season, things you might not have much room to keep elsewhere).

Roll up one or more items together to match the height of the boot, and, if necessary, secure with masking tape. Insert the rolled up material into your boots and salute yourself for successfully implementing a creative improvisation/stashing tactic.