Freezer Performance: Seals, Sensors and Alarms

Freezers quietly chug along in a basement or utility area and are easy take for granted – until they unexpectedly fail. This post is about getting a “heads-up” before a major loss.

Most freezes are NOT equipped with an actual internal temperature readout device or alarm. If yours has none then by all means at least get one like this that has a wired sensor run thru the door seal and an external battery powered readout and audio alarm. You can use it both to adjust the freezer temp setting to the zero to 10 below F range best for beef storage and get an alarm should the freezer or circuit fail.

Freezer “door seals” are a major performance concern. The are by no means a perfect “hermetic” seal and only slow down the leakage of internal cold/heavy/dry air OUT to be replaced by warm/light/wet room air leaking IN. This is why frost forms on the internal walls and coils. Frost represents the condensation and freezing of room air humidity on these cold surfaces. The more leakage the quicker it forms. Make sure your door seals are undamaged without excess crud in the pleats (particularly along the bottom seal of an upright style freezer) and are not age-hardened.

Chest freezers are less vulnerable to air leakage because the seal is all at a single elevation with a uniform internal air pressure behind it. Their seal pleats are oriented horizontally and don’t collect crud. Upright freezer seals are faced with a pressure differential between top and bottom due to the tall column of warmer-top and colder-bottom air they are holding in. The bottom seal tends to collect crud from inside the freezer box. Uprights are prone to leak OUT at bottom and pull IN at top.

Box Intro Price Special $6.95

sirloin works well too
Grilled Steak Salad w/Chile/Brown Sugar Rub: NYT Cooking. I used sirloin instead.

Box size (nominally 33 pounds) grass-fed beef packages specially priced at $6.95 per pound with discounted home delivery for a limited time. That’s  over 50 cents per pound off normal pricing! First-time customers only. See “Beef Packages & Pricing” for” Box” cut makeup. Limit one (1)  box per order/delivery address. Only PayPal (not mailed check) deposits received while this post is active will be eligible. Special flat total delivery charge of $7.00 per order/address. See “How to Order” on menu.  For Mpls/St Paul area home delivery on Sept 15 and Fargo area home delivery on Oct. 13.


 

Availability and Delivery

Quarters , halves and  boxes newly available for  fall 2018 farm pick-up or Minneapolis/St Paul or Fargo metro delivery. Check the freezer and see if you need to replenish. Outdoor grilling season still in force and indoor oven roasting and braising becoming compelling again.

Next Fargo delivery  Oct 13

Next Mpls/St Paul delivery Sept 15


 

Lisbon-Style Vinegar BBQ Sauce for Pork

If you’ve got a quality, slow-BBQ’d  cut with a delicate smoke for making pulled- pork this sauce is the way to go. Forget the gloppy, sugary, branded trash entirely. Doubles as a dressing for slaw! Add sparingly (1/2 to 1 Tablespoon per pound) to shredded pork and also serve on the side  as a dip for the sandwich.


 

Altered Reality of Fasting

I’ve completed two 72 hour fast episodes now- separated by 90 days- due to prompting from my low-30’s daughter Amanda. The idea was daunting for someone accustomed to regular meals but it turns out the normal , healthy human body is remarkably adept at managing energy intake and usage. For me the most difficult part was skipping that first mealtime. After that hunger was really no issue and increased mental acuity and an accelerated sense of the passage of time were remarkable. I spend considerable time cooking so had expected the time normally spent preparing and consuming meals to drag by while fasting. Not so at all!

I used a low-carb electrolyte replacement powder in water and went on with my everyday farm activities with seemingly more than normal intensity.  Sleeping thru the night was improved. Skipping the first meal was easier if another activity was planned to displace it.

Relevant links:    lifestyle.engineeering               healthline


 

Osso Buco Milanese

Thinking ahead a bit to cooler fall weather this trusty recipe comes to mind.  All ingredient except the shanks (use 2″ thick shank sections from your haycreek fractional beef orders) and saffron can be found at the Walmart but the results are world-class. Other than skipping saffron the only modification I use -to accommodate beef rather than veal shanks-is to double braising time to 3 hours in a covered pan in the oven at 325 F. Enlist aroma-motivated guests/family to stir the broth into the Arborio rice -the hardest part of the whole prep.


 

Grilled Steak Salad

This NYT Cooking recipe is actually pretty simple to put together and provides an opportunity to grill-up some rub/marinated steak. Sirloin worked great for me. Note that this recipe incorporates  all the separate flavors that make up common “Chili Powder” (chile, cumin, garlic, oregano, salt) so it may not be worth special-sourcing “Ancho Chile Powder”.

A lighter meal for hot weather. Great flavor combination.


 

Cold Rump

Smoke-roasted a small rump roast  using reverse searing (250 F then 500 F) process (Chris Grove) in kamado setup with heat deflector and drip pan. Rubbed a day ahead w/simple blend of 2t salt, 2t brwn sugar, 1t onion powder , 1t garlic powder, 1t blk pepper, and 2t mustard powder.  Smoke-roasted @ 250 F to 120 F internal then removed roast from grill and converted to direct heat and opened vents to target the 400-500 F range. Put roast back on too soon (hungry) and internal hit 130 F before searing achieved. Carved a piece off w/o allowing sufficient rest time (hungry) and found it unexceptional in flavor (bland)  and texture (chewy).  Stored it in tupperware in fridge.

Couple days later in the heat and humidity-when cooking wasn’t appealing- put together a salad of cut greens(arugula and more) from the CSA high tunnel, topped with Ama Blu Cheese dressing. Occurred to me that the cold leftover beef might be a good combo so cut off some thin slices across the grain to go with the salad and a slice of sourdough rye bread. The beef came off completely different cold! Quite appealing with a clean, smoky flavor and firm but tender texture.

Next time I’ll leave the roast off while ramping-up the temp to sear. I’ll also foil-wrap the roast upon removing @ 130 F internal and equilabrate an hour or so in an small, insulated container before testing a warm slice:)


 

All Ground Special $69

Xtra thick ground round burgers w/garlic & balsamic worked in

Get either a 10 (2 each type)or a 15 (3 each type)-nominal 1 pound each- assortment of grounds: beef brick, beef quarter-pound patties, chuck brick, round brick, and sirloin brick: all dry-aged and vacuum packed. $69 for 10 or $99 for 15.

Limit one (1)  Special per order/delivery address. Only PayPal (not mailed check)$20 special deposits received while this post is active will be eligible. Special flat total delivery charge of $7.00 per order/address. See “How to Order” on menu. Make note during PayPal checkout of which order size. For Mpls/St Paul area home delivery on OCT 27, 2018.


 

Not Crowd Bull

We’re about straight talk, not storybook oversimplification and bait’n switch imagery. Let Joe and Ethan forever rehash their already worse-for-wear pet adjectives “craft”, “artisanal” and “curated” peddling to the crowd while exploiting their simple-but-good farmer/enablers. What worked in the misty urban Northwest of Portlandia prob’ly won’t in the not-so-estranged from ag midwest.

We’re about folks who value reality and trust their own judgement of quality. What the crowd is doin’ is most likely wrong anyhow.