Well, we all know that sometimes things go into the freezer with the best of intentions, but somehow get forgotten behind, or underneath all the packages that go into the freezer with anticipation of being used at a later date.
Well, our freezer is no different. Actually, I should say that we have 3 freezers. We have two refrigerators (one upstairs, and one downstairs), and one upright freezer. The reason we have two refrigerators is because we are renting, and our personal refrigerator would not fit into the space designed for it in the kitchen. So, we are using the refrigerator that was here when we moved in, and are keeping our own refrigerator downstairs, as well as our upright freezer. This means that I tend to stock up on freezer items, because I know I have lots of space... right? Well, the problem with that is that sometimes it is easy to forget what you have and to stock up on things you really don't need.
So, in my anticipation of the upcoming hunting season, I knew that my freezers needed attention. I began dehydrating some of the frozen bags of vegetables that can be stored indefinitely in jars, and used as needed, freeing up quite a bit of space in the freezer. Then, while rummaging through the freezers, I found old packages of meat that had gotten freezer burnt. This meat is still good, but not the best quality. I have decided to cook this meat in my crock-pot along with some vegetables that have also gotten freezer burnt, and turn this into cheap dog food.
I have been cooking up this freezer burnt meat and veggies in the crock-pot, cooling it, and feeding it to Annie, our Husky-German Shepherd mix. Annie is a smart girl, she pays attention to her food sources... so now when I get out the crock-pot, she gets so excited, sniffs it, and just sits there looking at it expectantly. She doesn't understand that it takes a while to cook her food, and expects it should be ready as soon as I get the crock-pot out, lol.
Sniffing the pot...
Barking now... WHERE IS MY FOOD?
No patience at all... she expects to get things now! LOL!
In the pot is a pack of leftovers from our deer last season that was a mixture of gristle, bone, fat and some meat. I also threw in some freezer-burnt veggies as well, salted it down nicely, and put the lid on to cook for about 12 hours or so.
Because Annie couldn't understand that what was going into the pot would be ready for her to eat for a day or so, I had some "dog food" from earlier that I served up to her.
As you can see, the paper plate was licked clean, as well as the floor all around it! You've never seen a happier dog after a meal like this!
In reality, this has been a very good experience for us, and I intend to keep making dog food for Annie like this. We always save all the bones, gristle, and fat from any venison we kill, and freeze it.
Recently, while at the local grocery store, Mitchell's, I noticed that the butchers also package up the leftovers from the meat that they package, and sell it. It is sold for a fairly reasonable price, and would certainly be far better and more nutritious for your dogs than much of what they get that is called dog food. I've noticed that Annie hardly eats her dog food any more - I would say she is eating about half of what she had been eating, and maybe even less than that. So, this has definitely been a big savings for us. After all dog food is not cheap, and even more, it is usually chock full of additives and GMO food that can't be good for them either.
So, if you don't have access to freezer burnt meat, or vegetables (hooray for you!), then you can also go to your local grocer or butcher, and see if you can get leftover meat bones to cook down in your crock-pot for your dogs. They will love you for it!!!