Friday, May 8, 2015

That time, AGAIN! Freezer Clean Out

The freezer becomes the place for many stockpiled items.  There are some ways to keep it neat and organized without taking hours of time.  
1. Take everything out.  You have to be able to see the entire space to organize it. 
2. Set up your “Departments.”  Most freezers can be split up in sections for Meats, Breads, Dairy, Pizza and Meals, Appetizers, and Desserts.   With these main categories, you can of course subdivide, keep your Beef, Chicken, Pork, and Seafoods all separate.  Dairy should be split between Cheese, Butters, and Ice cream and novelties.  I have one for flours and pancake mix.  It just stays more fresh.
3. Mark each section.  I use painter’s tape and a fancy…Sharpie Marker.  The painters tape labels “my map.”  I simply lift the deep freezer lid, and can see my sections on my map.  Should you want to change sections around, just move the tape. The map is really for the rest of the family.  They need to know where to look for egg rolls, pizza and ice cream with ease.
4. Baskets make lifting sections out easier.  Be sure the baskets are not too big that when loaded you can not lift without injury.  Baskets with handles work nicely.  If you don’t have baskets, use grocery bags.  The recycle ones sit up nice and square, and you can fit 12 in the bottom of a deep freezer.  Each set of handles can be labeled too. These bags are generally $1 and cost less than plastic baskets.
5. Rotate baskets.  This is a bit of extra work.  But let’s say you stocked up on chicken a few weeks ago.  You have two batches, one is 6 months old, the other is new.  You want the oldest to be on top.  Using stackable baskets will make this easier.  When you empty one, pull it out of the freezer.  Seeing it empty lets you know you can purchase more, and when you get more, you can place it under the older meat.
6. Lay bags on their side on a cookie sheet to freeze.  Within 2 hours, foods will be frozen enough to move into stacks.  Always label the side of the item you will see.  In a vertical freezer, the end of the bag, in a deep freeze, the top side.
7. If you sort your freezer, you may find you have no back up of breads or dairy.  Try to keep in mind that these departments are have seen the greatest price increases recently.  They should be in your freezer. 
8. At this time, let’s talk about what to freeze.  I routinely freeze milk, and coffee creamers.  I’m sure if you take a look at your regular dairy buys, you'll find you could be saving by freezing a few items.
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