Preventing freezer burnout

My husband and I get along well with few disagreements. That's why it was a surprise to both of us when something came between us a couple of weeks ago and, of all things, it was our freezer. And things got downright frosty for a few hours.

I had a long list of things to get done when I got home from work – and cleaning out our stand-alone chest freezer wasn't one of them. Yet, when I entered the house, I met my husband coming up from the basement.

“Hey, I just defrosted the freezer. I have all the food out, so can you help me go through it? I don't want to keep old food we aren't going to eat.”

When I looked at that mountain of food, two things happened. First, I thought of my big list of things to do that I wouldn't be doing. And two, that gigantic pile of food accused me of ineptitude. Food waste! Lack of organization! Lisa, you're the only one with an out-of-control freezer with a mind of its own!

I may have acted less than appreciative that my husband took the initiative to tackle this unappealing task. I mean, if I had wanted to do it, I would have done it years ago. But I didn't want to do it. All I could think of as I stared at that food was my freezer was supposed to save me money, but this feeling of inadequacy made me want to get rid of the freezer and fast.

Freezers do save money

Freezers can and do save money when used the right way. My freezer holds meat and cheese purchased on sale, applesauce (made from free apples from my father-in-law), corn (also free), and much (much!!!) more. These are good things that cost us less.

But the good things about my freezer didn't feel good enough, not when we ended up discarding so many pounds of food. So, because I don't want to give my husband the cold shoulder anymore and because I don't like wasting food, I resolved to find new ways of taming the freezer beast.

Why it's not working

When I analyzed my freezer use, I discovered several reasons why I wasn't doing a great job with organizing the freezer.

1. I can't reach the bottom. I'm short (with “T-Rex arms,” according to my brothers), and it's hard to reach the bottom of the freezer. And what I wanted was always on the bottom. Two wire baskets helped. I also tried cardboard boxes, but they slowly flattened under the weight of the food on top. Plus, they didn't have handles, so they were difficult to lift, and they didn't stack well.

My new idea is to use plastic crates. They have handles, can stack, and they are small enough to lift easily if I don't fill them to the brim. Bonus: I had two unused crates in storage, so this idea didn't cost me anything.

Although short people may have problems, chest freezers do have advantages over upright freezers. Not only do they have more usable space, they are cheaper to operate, because less cold air escapes. Despite the advantages of chest freezers, I think an upright freezer would help me stay more organized. I could reach everything, shelves would eliminate most of the digging through food, and I could see what was available.

2. I didn't know what was there. Sometimes we raise our own meat, but if we don't, we buy our beef, chicken, lamb, and pork in bulk. When we pick up the meat from the butcher, we also get a list of the quantity of each cut. Sometimes I remembered to keep the list, tape it inside a cabinet, and mark off a pound of hamburger as I used it. But sometimes I didn't. And I didn't know how many packages of applesauce, strawberry jam, or pumpkin puree were there, either. I needed help, but it had to be easy. A complicated system is a recipe for failure.

My easy idea is to create “zones” in the freezer. For instance, wire basket #1 will have fruit, crate #1 will have ground beef, and so on. This will require me to actually look in the freezer, but I will be able quickly see what is running low. This is really simple and may not work, but it will be better than what I have been doing.

3. I stored the wrong things. The freezer was my food purgatory. Let's say I made a so-so dish that was not popular with either of us. I knew we wouldn't eat it before it molded in the refrigerator, so I saved the food and put it in the freezer for those nights when I didn't have time to cook.

You know where this is going, right? If I didn't want to eat the food when it was hot and fresh, why would I want to eat it six months later? When we cleaned out the freezer, I discovered unrecognizable single servings in Tupperware containers I didn't even remember I had.

Fixing this issue is the most complicated, but here are some ideas to keep food out of the freezer in the first place:

  • Don't make so-so dishes! With more experience, I am a better cook and a better judge of which recipes will be good ones
  • Don't make so much food
  • Barter the food we don't like
  • Honest appraisal of what we really eat. I got a flat of fresh strawberries a couple of years ago and made strawberry jam. Since we rarely eat jam, I should have frozen the berries for smoothies, something we do eat often. Or I could have given the jam away. Either way, I need to make and store only the food we will eat.

Since our freezer does have money-saving potential, I am curious to see if these ideas will cut down on food waste and contribute to marital harmony.

If you have a freezer, how do you organize it? How do you avoid wasting food?

More about...Food, Frugality

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Sheryl
Sheryl
7 years ago

Freezer leftovers drive me nuts. I always have the best intentions with them, but inevitably even the good stuff we forget about. Which is all to say that I haven’t come up with a system that work for leftovers. Maybe that’s a matter of setting an actual “frozen leftover” day for dinner to make sure we go through those things in the future.

Other than that we seem to be pretty decent about knowing what meats, frozen dinners etc are already in there and going through them before repurchasing, even without a particular system.

johan
johan
7 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl

We frees leftover, but if we don`t eat them in 3 months we give it to our chickens. They don`t seem to mind what ever it is.

Marsha
Marsha
7 years ago

I rarely put leftovers in the freezer. From experience, I know it’s much more likely to be eaten in a day or two if I just leave it in the fridge. Putting it in the freezer just delays the food-waste guilt. If we’re going on vacation and have perishables left in the refrigerator, I give them to a neighbor who has a large family to feed. If she ends up tossing some of it, at least I don’t have to see the food waste. I know a chest freezer is cheaper to operate, but I bought an upright because it’s… Read more »

Geert
Geert
7 years ago

We only have limited freezer space (three drawers). We do exactly as Sheryl states. We only buy food for 5 nights a week when doing shopping. The other two days we eat what we can find in the house (tins, freezer etc.). Or eat at friends. Most of the weeks we also have friends over on one of the 5 nights. It helps that we have a good storage of spices, rice, etc. We only freeze part of the meal. For instance we would freeze our pasta sauze but not the pasta. And I think we are relativly good at… Read more »

Marcy
Marcy
7 years ago

You might try keeping a stepstool close to the freezer for easier use. I’m of average height, but find it helpfull to keep a stepstool in the garage, upstairs, and down.

Justin@TheFrugalPath
7 years ago

Writing an on-going list of what’s in the freezer is a pretty good idea. I should do that for my main one.
Freezing leftovers doesn’t work for us either because even if you do like it, it’s better fresh.

AMW
AMW
7 years ago

I am a mere 4′ 11″. I celebrated the day we went from a chest freezer to an upright. Even being very organized, stuff got lost at the bottom. A couple of other suggestions that might help: *If you freeze leftovers in individual size portions you can get in the habit of taking them for lunch (never freeze anything you didn’t enjoy in the first place). *Have a month where you get creative and eat out of the freezer/pantry as much as possible. Since I have a seasonal business I have a couple of months without a lot of income… Read more »

Jill
Jill
7 years ago
Reply to  AMW

Tossing food that you didn’t like in the first place is one of the keys. My trick is to leave unappealing leftovers in the back of the ‘frige until they go bad. At that point I can toss them guilt free. Don’t know why that works but I’m just thankful it does. I also give my dogs leftovers that we don’t care for. BEFORE I get slammed for doing that, let me point out that our dogs are extremely active, and keeping enough weight on them is a challenge. I’m well versed in what foods (onion, raisins, etc) are not… Read more »

nicoleandmaggie
nicoleandmaggie
7 years ago

Miser-mom has an amazing system:
http://miser-mom.blogspot.com/2012/02/pillowcase-menu-planning-and-other.html
She basically meal plans months in advance and freeze things by the month.

For us, we don’t have a chest freezer and do relatively well with weekly meal plans that include defrosting things the night before we’re going to eat them.

TB at BlueCollarWorkman
TB at BlueCollarWorkman
7 years ago

I don’t understand why you had to throw any away. ONce you went through and took stock of what you had, why not have it all written down and don’t allow yoruselves to buy any more food until you finished it all? Even the so-so meals that were frozen in there — they’re still consumable meals afterall. My wife and I are very strict about not throwing away food, so long as it hasn’t gone bad, we eat it! Waste not, want not.

Flounder No More
Flounder No More
7 years ago

We’re doing this with the pantry right now. It’s not the pantry’s fault we have two cans of water chestnuts and a chutney no one can remember buying. It’s our job to get creative and eat stuff down (and buy smarter next time) rather than see it go to waste. So-so freezer meals can be “repurposed” just like so much other stuff that would go to waste!

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
7 years ago

Water chestnuts are great crunch in any veggie dish! Or soup. Or, learn to cook Chinese. Stir fry is so easy.

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
7 years ago

Some of the items were pretty freezer burnt. Also, I didn’t know if I could force myself to eat some of that food. For someone who doesn’t like food waste, I’m a hypocrite.
Starting with a cleanest slate (i.e. emptiest freezer without throwing away food I would eat) felt like the best option to me at the time.

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
7 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

You would be surprised at how long things last if properly stored. I put cooked white turkey meat inside two Ziploc freezer bags in 2008. It got, er, overlooked, until September 2011, when I needed to cook something for my in-laws who were helping with a project. I cooked turkey tetrazzini, and it was perfect. The turkey rehydrated in the sauce, and it tasted fresh.

We try to keep a running inventory of our upright freezer, but some computer disasters got the list lost. Take-home lesson: promptly print out and mount the list!

kareninthecity
kareninthecity
7 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

This post inspired me to clean out my freezer this morning. Fortunately, not much thrown away but there were a couple of things that were so freezer burnt, I didn’t know what they were! So, yes, into the trash can it went. But my freezer looks so much better and now I have a plan!!

Jill
Jill
7 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

From a food safety point of view, there is a limit to how long you can safely store things in a freezer. It varies depending on the food, and whether it is cooked or not. Surprisingly, cooked food should only be stored a few months while raw food can be stored up to a year. Run a Google search and you’ll get as many answers as there are sites.

Marsha
Marsha
7 years ago

I’m a spoiled brat, but I only eat food I truly enjoy. For health reasons, I’m limited to a smallish number of calories each day, so I make sure each bite is a pleasure.

I’m frugal in many ways, but I’m not eating the so-so leftovers or the slightly freezer-burned food just to save a few bucks.

Jill
Jill
7 years ago
Reply to  Marsha

I’m totally with you Marsha. Food is that one area of my life where I can spend without guilt. I try not to waste food, or waste money on food, but I don’t beat myself up if I try an experimental recipe or food and it doesn’t pan out.

saurdigger
saurdigger
7 years ago

Freezers work more efficiently when full, but if you’re finding you waste some and never get to the bottom, then: 1) buy the smallest chest freezer that suits you and your family. 2) if it’s not full, fill containers with water (leave room for expansion during the freeze process) and put in that hard-to-reach bottom section (top section too if still empty). This will help keep it frozen longer if the power goes out, serves as a secondary emergency water supply, and if you put a coin at the top after it’s frozen, you’ll know if your freezer has undergone… Read more »

Jill
Jill
7 years ago
Reply to  saurdigger

Oh yes, do mark it. I often make my own chicken stock, and since I make a lot of soup, I never mark it because the stock gets rotated frequently. Worked fine until I got a little crazy and bought too much apple cider one year. I had a gallon that I was afraid would go bad before we could drink it, so I froze it to use later in the year in a couple favorite recipes. Yep, didn’t mark it, and it was a guessing game for a few months whether I was defrosting chicken stock or apple cider…

adult student
adult student
7 years ago

Haha this is what we’re going through on a much smaller scale! Not having the space for a separate freezer means it’s a lot less intimidating though, you can’t fit THAT much in the space above the fridge. We’re making an effort to eat the full meals that have been sitting there for months, and when we finish with those this week, we’re going to have to create a meal plan to tackle the many bags of frozen vegetables, cans of rehydrated beans, turkey carcass, and sad little kielbasa that are filling up the rest of it. It’s funny, having… Read more »

CathyG
CathyG
7 years ago
Reply to  adult student

The kielbasa sounds like the best part to me!! 🙂

Jason
Jason
7 years ago

I think you’d like the classic story “Rope” by Katherine Anne Porter. On the surface, it’s about a husband who comes home from his errands without a couple of items from the list, but with a length of rope, which was not on the list. That’s the starting point, anyway. Your description of the scene in the kitchen made me think of it 🙂

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
7 years ago
Reply to  Jason

I’ll have to read this story, but I really do love my husband and he’s awesome! I was just being a brat that day.

my honest answer
my honest answer
7 years ago

I used to keep a paper list of what was in the freezer. It was hard to maintain, ran on for pages, and was never up to date. Then I decided to laminate a sheet of paper after sectioning it into space for my three freezer drawers. I write to stuff on when I put it in, I rub it off with my finger as it comes out. If I put multiples of something in, I just do a mark for each one, so I only have to write ‘Beef in Red wine’ once, and then I wipe out a… Read more »

Anni
Anni
7 years ago

I live by myself and I have a smallish chest freezer I got for $20 from a restaurant that my son worked at. Since I don’t have a lot to freeze, the entire bottom layer is jugs of water. I probably wouldn’t even have the freezer if I had a larger one in my fridge. I have a very old little fridge with the little freezer compartment inside of it. My boyfriend and I cook 2 or 3 meals on the weekend just to portion out and freeze for the week. He takes his home and mine go in the… Read more »

CincyCat
CincyCat
7 years ago

Good article! And, for what it’s worth, I don’t think the “freezer” was the issue, so much as the husband’s approach. Mr. CincyCat and I have similar, um, discussions when this happens. One of us gets on a sudden cleaning spree, and the other is soooo totally not on the same wavelength. I think that if he had said, “you know, I was thinking that this weekend might be a good time to go through the freezer & defrost it,” that you’re reaction might have been very different. That said, I also have T-rex arms, and have a hard time… Read more »

snerk1
snerk1
7 years ago

I know that it might be different if we had children or others living in the home with us, but we really don’t freeze anything (unless we buy something like vegetables that are already frozen). Also three months ago we decided not to stock up on food items (with the exception of some cans of tuna in case we don’t get to the store). It has been liberating! We shop each week for what we know we will actually eat rather than what we think that we should eat. For example I would love to eat 5+ servings of fruits… Read more »

Sassy
Sassy
7 years ago

We have a small chest freezer; bought for storing grassfed beef and lamb — it also ended up holding a lot of other stuff. What worked for us: A list when we first loaded it, kept next to it with a pencil to mark off what we took. We were pretty good about that until we got low…but then it was time for a new batch and new list. Two teenage boys — we went through food fast! Putting leftovers in the kitchen fridge/freezer. If we forgot to label things (often) we would, every few months, thaw the unrecognizables and… Read more »

Kay
Kay
7 years ago

I must be the only one who doesn’t freeze meals I make… if it’ll only last in the fridge for a couple of days, I make sure it’s eaten quickly.

In my house, the freezer exists to store frozen vegetables or pizza, or ice cream of course! 🙂

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago
Reply to  Kay

The only meal I freeze is homemade soup which is so packed with veggies that I can heat it up for a quick meal with a slice of bread. The rest of the food is all components of meals — frozen veggies, meat (only if it’s on sale, otherwise I buy fresh), bread, cooked grains, lentils and sauce. It’s all stuff I can throw together for a quick meal when I don’t feel like cooking. I also make some things ahead to enjoy later such as freezer jam, apple sauce and muffins. I learned long ago that freezing meals doesn’t… Read more »

Rail
Rail
7 years ago

I dont freeze leftovers in my deep freeze, to easy to forget about them. Lefovers go in refridgerator freezer in kitchen. Deep freeze for beef or pork from locker and deer meat, fish and other game. Also when occasionaly buying things from Schwans or food service or hollidays. I have an upright and I think it works very well. Keep a list and lable what you put in with the date clearly printed, and rotate your stock.

Sara
Sara
7 years ago

We bought a chest freezer about 6 months ago, and we really aren’t taking advantage of it fully, mostly because I have a hard time coming up with good containers to freeze single portions in. We both work and I love taking leftovers to work. Does anyone have any recommendations for good single serve containers that freeze well and can be heated in a microwave?

il engr
il engr
7 years ago
Reply to  Sara

Ball mason jars. They’re inexpensive, stack well, and are easy to label. I take them straight from the freezer to the microwave with no problems. Bonus, they’re made in the USA. Make sure to get the wide-mouth kind.

Jill
Jill
7 years ago
Reply to  Sara

I use the Glad and Ziploc plastic containers you can buy in the grocery store. They come in a variety of sizes. I’ve used them to freeze homeground beef, chicken stock, various juices, apple butter, chili, cheese, and other things I can’t think of right now. I’ve never had a problem with freezer burn. They’re inexpensive and some I’ve had for nearly 10 years and they are just now beginning to show signs of wear. They’ve held up better than the Rubbermaid items I used to buy.

Lindsay
Lindsay
7 years ago

Hi there, We were just having the “should we clean out our freezer” discussion this weekend as well. Not because it’s disorganized though, just because we need to get it ready for our 1/4 cow that’s coming in January! That said, and I don’t recall where I saw this online, but one woman suggested putting all of your “like” foods into the cloth grocery bags and organize it that way. For example, we have all of our deer in the green bag, our fish in the purple bag, our pig in an orange bag, stock in another bag, etc. I’ll… Read more »

Kurt @ Money Counselor
Kurt @ Money Counselor
7 years ago

“Freezers can and do save money when used the right way.” Really? This assertion strikes me as one of those ‘conventional wisdoms’ that many people accept without actually analyzing the issue. The cost of the freezer, the cost of electricity, and the family’s preferred diet I think play a role in the calculation, no?

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
7 years ago

In the article, I linked to an article JD wrote where he compared savings and electricity costs. His conclusion was that freezers really did save him money. While I didn’t do that, most of our food is really cheap (like meat from animals we raise ourselves), free fruit from family members, etc. So it seems like it does indeed save us money. However, I can’t say for sure. So that is something I will check when I have time…

Michael
Michael
7 years ago

I’m not sure if stores in other countries do this, but UK supermarkets heavily discount items that are sold on the evening of their use-by date. Every few weeks when I’m prepared to spend a couple of hours shopping, I can get a trolley-load of food for 10% its original retail value, but this requires a freezer since I obviously can’t eat it all before it goes off. In my case it saves a ton of money!

Kelly@Financial-Lessons
7 years ago

When it comes to not wasting food I think the biggest thing is knowing what you have and planning meals to use the ingredients before they go bad. Of course, with your freezer they wouldn’t go bad, but knowing exactly how much of each meat you have would prompt you to make certain meals at certain times, and use up each cut of meat. Cleaning out the freezer and fridge is something everyone hates to do but really helps you take a survey of the foods you waste for future reference.

Charlotte
Charlotte
7 years ago

I too am short, so when I bought my house, I bought an upright. I was also living alone at the time, and harbored an irrational fear that I’d fall in and no one would ever find me. Upright helps a lot, because I can see what’s there –and I too use a sort of zone system. Top shelf is soups and stuff in jars (frozen chanterelles in butter, herb pastes, etc). Next shelf is small cuts and packaged ground meat from our annual pig/lamb and game people give me. Next shelf is big stuff — hams, turkey, big roasts.… Read more »

Hel
Hel
7 years ago

This may have already been said, but sticking a dry erase board to the top of the freezer or the wall next to/behind it might help. Or if the top of the freezer is smooth, just write on it with a dry erase! That makes it much easier to change quantities, plus means you can “see” what’s in the freezer without even opening it. (If you are going to write on the freezer, be CERTAIN it’s perfectly smooth. My mom once wrote with fry erase on my brother’s fridge, which wasn’t perfectly smooth, and it took about a dozen wipings… Read more »

David S
David S
7 years ago

For our freezer bottom we filled expandable plastic water jugs with water (leave about 10% of airspace for expansion). Not only does that raise the floor a bit but it also slows down the warming in case of power outages.

SL
SL
7 years ago

Would the solid plastic bins prevent air circulation or otherwise hamper the freezing process?

Jacko
Jacko
7 years ago

backup freezer, check.
backup power check.

This is the most important step. Too many people forget the need to power that freezer in the case of the next volcano or tsunami or who knows what’s coming next.

Megan
Megan
7 years ago
Reply to  Jacko

Agreed!

We have lost our power at random times and during big storms. It’s usually out for a few hours, and it was out for a few days on one memorable occasion.

We don’t have room for a backup power source, so that won’t work. While I’d love to keep a chest freezer stocked with goodies, I also know I’d be sick if we lost power for a few days and then had to dump everything.

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
7 years ago
Reply to  Megan

Our apartment was painted and the blithering idiot painter unplugged the freezer for a couple of days. As broke graduate students, tossing it wasn’t an option. A fellow grad student helped us cook up all the thawed meat. Pork chops fried with mustard (Superb! I miss that grad student. He was a great cook!) Hamburger turned into meatballs and frozen. Or you could do meatloaf, taco meat, chilli, or anything else that turns you on. Veggies into soup. Once cooked (thoroughly), you can just refreeze. You can also go to Freecycle or a wildlife rescue or check with local vets,… Read more »

Peach
Peach
7 years ago

Good topic, Lisa. And, honestly, I can relate to all the things you did wrong. It’s easy to put stuff in there, day after day, just because I think I’ll eat it one day and don’t want it to spoil before I do. I have NEVER gone back to eat those things. They always eventually get tossed. I’m short too, and it’s a drag to keep track of what’s in there. So I end up forgetting what’s buried below everything and I put new stuff on top. Last month I “discovered” frozen vegs from last year which were close to… Read more »

Holly@ClubThrifty
7 years ago

Reading this article made my stomach turn a little because my chest freezer really needs my attention right now. I recently found a few packages of forgotten turkey bacon in there and had to throw them away. It made me sad.

Thanks for the reminder, Lisa!

Kay
Kay
7 years ago

I rarely have to throw food away from my freezer. I use a Food Saver that seals the food without air so there is no freezer burn. Granted, I’m using plastic, BUT I’m not wasting food. I have some apple sauce from 2 summers ago that is still fine. Most things don’t last that long. I’ve more that paid for the machine by saving the cost of thrown-away food.

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
7 years ago
Reply to  Kay

I got mine at a thrift shop on half-price day for $2.50. I got online and got the bags that you cut to the size you want cheap (by shopping around quite a lot…)

However, you can do a really good approximatation with two Ziploc (brand name) freezer bags nested.

Edward
Edward
7 years ago

This is the best/most human article I’ve read on GRS in months! Whether we have big ones or just the small ones at the top of the fridge, we can all relate to freezer issues. Well done! 🙂

..Pretty funny (and slightly mean) that your husband sprung the reorganization project on you with no warning.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago

Love the article, great first-hand illustration of an everyday problem, but it makes me reconsider the wisdom of buying a freezer in the first place (for my family I mean, not for others.) We’ve considered the idea, and it’s currently low in the list of priorities, but after reading this article I’m leaning towards a definite “no”. First, why eat frozen when fresh is tastier. No contest there. Second, seems like a lot of work and overhead for a savings of $6 per month for a couple, as the JD article shows. That’s not even counting the real estate cost–… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
7 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

Hi Lisa! Yes, absolutely. Context is (almost) everything. We attempted to live in a rural setting a few years ago, so I’m aware of the challenges of making it in the country– where the unfit will surely perish. Unfortunately I’m not really wired for rural life so I almost went completely mad (but it was a good experience and it dispelled some myths I had). We still keep a cabin in my wife’s family land, but it’s more of a getaway place than a home. We are some times tempted to establish a base camp there, but we realized it… Read more »

jim
jim
7 years ago

My mother had problems with wasted food in ther freezer. My parents had a large chest freezer in the basement. She would buy food on discount and store it in there. But she rarely retrieved food from the freezer and it would spoil with freezer burn. Then as she aged it was very difficult for her to make it up and down the stairs to the basement so eventually all the food in there went to waste.

cathleen
cathleen
7 years ago

The only things I put in the freezer are ingredients, not finished dishes. Also I don’t like the texture of things that have been frozen so the kinds of ingredients I store are minimal like puff pastry, homemade chicken stock, ginger root, vodka(!), etc. My husband is a chef and we owned a restaurant so I’ve learned a lot about how to cook from the pantry/fridge and not meal plan the traditional way. I find that spending Sunday morning or afternoon for an hour or two chopping and prepping for the week really helps and I find enjoyable. I usually… Read more »

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
7 years ago

If there is a long-term or medium-term power outage, you can get together with your neighbors, agree on a rotation, and decide whose freezer full of food you will cook first. Keep everyone else’s freezer closed, with lots of insulation around it. We have a house with both electric and gas stove and oven, so we are covered for being able to cook. Or you can use the grill. I like the idea of keeping a step stool by the freezer. There are some that fold up to about an inch in width. Use that thing! My mother cracked a… Read more »

Kyle @ Rather-Be-Shopping.com
Kyle @ Rather-Be-Shopping.com
7 years ago

Your title reminds of one of the worst things you can put in your mouth, freezer-burnt meat. Ewwww, mini throw-up for me. But yeah I feel your pain, we waste way too much food in our deep freeze as well. The one thing that does seem to work is constant rotation, always moving the stuff in the bottom to to the top. I do this whenever I add more than 3-4 items to the deep freeze. It is also a good way to keep mental inventory.

Deb
Deb
7 years ago

When DH and I build our house out in the country, we will be 30 minutes from the nearest grocery store. Now we live about a half mile from one. Lots of things will change, and having a big freezer will be one of those things.
Thanks for the tips!

Sweta
Sweta
7 years ago

Totally with you on #3, I hate wasting food so I often put the wrong thing in the freezer. I need to tell myself if I don’t want to eat this thing now, why would I want to a few months later with all the freezer burn on it?

Always remember to label your leftovers because after a few months in the freezer you won’t be able to tell what the heck it is.

EmJay
EmJay
7 years ago

My husband and I had a very small chest freezer, but needed more room. Rather than upgrade to an upright, we bought another small chest freezer. Sometime mid-winter we usually can consolidate everything to a single freezer, and then defrost and unplug the spare. In the summer, I reorganize as I add things. This saves energy and results in about 2 times a year where I take an inventory that goes on the refrigerator door upstairs. I’m not great about crossing everything off the list, but this helps a lot. I double-bag paper grocery bags and put like items together… Read more »

Ann
Ann
7 years ago
Reply to  EmJay

Making a meal plan has helped us too!
First, we buy things that we need to make the meals on the plan.
Next, we stick to the plan– in the morning, we get out whatever needs to defrost for dinner that night, and we’re not looking at each other at 6pm wondering what to have for dinner, and deciding on “take out”.
We figure this saves us way more than $25 a week, because we waste less food, eat better, and save all that money on takeout!

Priswell
Priswell
7 years ago

I bought an upright despite the fact that it’s more efficient. I just can’t see myself struggling to reach the bottom items on any kind of a regular basis.

I regularly use my freezer, though. I keep soups, spaghetti sauce and cooked beans going through there in regular rotation. Sometimes something gets pushed to the back and dies of frostbite, but I still think i save money with my freezer.

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

When I make things in bulk to then freeze in portion sizes, I find the most time consuming task is wrapping them to present freezer burn.

i.e. wrapping cooked whole grains in portion sizes in airtight plastic.
i.e. wrapping serving sizes of fish or meat in airtight plastic.

(meals that can go in plastics serving size boxes are no problems).

I dread this task more than the cooking of the food.

Any advice on how to quickly package the food for freezer storage?

Marie

Marie
Marie
7 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I used vacuum packing w food saver as well. It was amazing how much longer the food stayed good in the freezer (i.e. double the time) and in good condition. However, once again, I found the work simply to vacuum pack the serving sizes was very laborious and took a lot of time.

Anyone else with any tricks of how to quickly pack serving sizes for the freezer?

Jenifer
Jenifer
7 years ago
Reply to  Marie

I use different size canning jars (with plastic lids) for soups and sauces. Take it out frozen and by the time I heat it up for lunch it is mostly thawed.

Good luck!

Kay
Kay
7 years ago
Reply to  Marie

It’s not a super quick way of storing it, but I find ground meats (or liquids) to be most easily stored in freezer zip bags, flattened as much as possible, and then laid flat so they freeze in that shape.

All it takes is filling one side of the sink with lukewarm water and letting the bag of meat or liquid float for about 10 mins… very quick thawing and really no freezer burn!!! Also easy to store and organize (and write on!) in the freezer.

Marie
Marie
7 years ago
Reply to  Kay

Thanks everyone!

Daisy @ Everything Finance
Daisy @ Everything Finance
7 years ago

One thing that we were really looking forward to in buying our first home is having a big freezer. We have a tiny, fridge freezer right now that is apartment sized. It hardly holds a loaf of bread we want to freeze. It’s going to be nice to be able to store stuff. But I can relate – growing up when we had our freezer in the garage, I could never find anything in it, and it was always such an unpleasant task.

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

I have a chest freezer. It came with 4 hanging baskets. I directly ordered 8 more. So now I have 4 stacks of 3 baskets in the freezer. The stacks make it so much easier to find stuff and look for items. I have one stack assigned to ice cream / cake / fruit. One basket is for bread. The others vary. We do a lot of portion sized home cooked meals (aka leftovers) on purpose. I have glued a clear envelope on top of the freezer. It holds a paper inventory list. I fill in manually whatever I put… Read more »

Tina
Tina
7 years ago

I oganize everything. In my fridge/freezer, I have baskets with labels for items that I use reguarly. In my fridge, I store lunchmeat in one and cheeses in another(small crates) In my freezer, I use linen baskets(like the ones you can use in your closet). These work great because you know they will hold alot plus already have the slot on the front to label them properly. I make lists of the foods too. I organize my pantry by taking masking tape and a sharpie, write the expiration date and label all my canned goods, ketchup, pasta sauce, etc and… Read more »

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
7 years ago
Reply to  Tina

Wow, Tina, can you come to my house? Your organizational skills sound amazing!

Peach
Peach
7 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

I’ll second that! She has me thinking about organizing my fridge/freezer differently. A couple of bins and small baskets would make a world of difference. Thanks Tina!

Ann
Ann
7 years ago

1)It is *always* my husband who undertakes to sort out the freezer. 2)I’m never excited about participating. Ever. 3)There’s always a few “Gee, I forgot we had this…. ” surprises. With these notes out of the way, – we have an upright freezer, because it’s what would fit in the space we had available. It is easier to see what’s in there. – My husband put in place a series of bins a long time ago. One for beef, one for chicken, one for pork…etc. These don’t stay sorted out over the long haul, but it does help. – Someone… Read more »

Sarah
Sarah
7 years ago

Definitely agree that if you weren’t keen on the food now, it wont taste any better after being in the freezer for 6 months – just chuck it! In my freezer I’ve stopping keeping little bits and pieces I won’t get round to using and leftovers we won’t eat. I have also split my chest freezer into compartments using cardboard – I have fruit, veg, ready meal, meat, bread, dessert and lunch things sections. It definitely makes me use the freezer more efficiently, and its much easier to see what is left. I also keep a note on a white… Read more »

devis renovation lyon
devis renovation lyon
7 years ago

I believe that avoiding ready-made foods is the first step to be able to lose weight. They will often taste great, but highly processed foods possess very little vitamins and minerals, making you try to eat more in order to have enough vitality to get with the day. Should you be constantly ingesting these foods, switching to cereals and other complex carbohydrates will assist you to have more power while consuming less. Good blog post.

Jasmine
Jasmine
7 years ago

I have not had that problem yet just because we tend to eat everything,but I do still relate because I was about to start cooking extra meals and freezing them. The freezer has come in handy for buying meat in bulk. I actually just try to keep evrything organized in categories as you suggested…this works well.

Marie
Marie
7 years ago

I try to plan meals that will generate usable leftovers. The best recently was the 2 large pork loins I bought to feed 4 adults and 9 children. With sides, we only ate one, so the other went in the freezer. It came out a month later when we had all the kids but only 2 adults. There were enough leftovers to make pork stir fry two weeks later. With all the veggies and the rice, the leftover stir fry will make another meal for sometime next month. How I remember to use what I freeze: I date and label… Read more »

Jane Savers
Jane Savers
7 years ago

I have small freezer but it is currently unplugged. We seem to make due with the freezer on top of the fridge.

Meat is too expensive so there is no need to buy most weeks so bread and vegetables are the main things in my freezer. I buy meat when it is on last day of sale and either cook it right away or rebag it and freeze it.

I do make chili, pasta sauce and soups in large batches but I freeze them flat in milk bags so they do not take up too much space.

Peach
Peach
7 years ago
Reply to  Jane Savers

milk bags?

Jane Savers
Jane Savers
7 years ago
Reply to  Peach

I am a frugal Canadian. Our milk comes in 3 sturdy plastic bags in a larger, less sturdy, holding bag. When we have used the milk I cut the top off the thicker small bags,turn them inside out, wash in hot soapy water and leave to dry overnight. The plastic is thicker than freezer bags. I fill them to just over the half way mark and close with a twist tie. I worry about leakage with soups so I freeze them upright between the freezer wall and something heavy -like 6 frozen flat bags of chili. I do not reuse… Read more »

Peach
Peach
7 years ago
Reply to  Jane Savers

Interesting!

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