If there’s an avalanche of food spilling out of the freezer compartment of your refrigerator every time you open it, or if stuff is buried so deep in your chest freezer that you’ve stopped even trying to search for things, it’s time to get your freezer situation under control!
When your freezer is not organized into an efficient, usable space, you’re likely to allow the following to happen:
• You’ll buy groceries you don’t need, forgetting that you have plenty of chicken buried in the freezer.
• You’ll be less likely to use your freezer when it’s messy because it’s an unwelcoming environment. (Never mind the fact that you can’t fit anything else in there.)
• You’ll be more likely to have spoiled food on your hands because when your freezer isn’t organized properly, it doesn’t keep things at their optimal temperature and frozen food won’t last as long as it should.
Your freezer is an essential tool and, like with any other tool, in order to get the most out of it, you need to use it properly.
The best way to optimize the space in your freezer—whether you have a chest freezer, upright freezer or over-under fridge/freezer—is to freeze things flat.
When you freeze pasta sauce, soup, ground meat, hamburger patties, fish fillets, sliced chicken or prepared-in-advance future dinners, freeze them flat in heavy-duty zipper bags. This way, you can stack those frozen items nice and neatly. Make it a habit to use a marker to jot down the name of the item and the date it’s been frozen on the front of each bag.
Not only will more things fit in your freezer when flat, but they will also thaw much more quickly. Picture, for example, a bag stuffed with six chicken breasts all stuck together and a bag with those breasts laying flat in a single row. Which do you think will be easier to thaw?
I do this with soup in single servings so that I don’t have to thaw out an entire batch of soup when I know I’ll just end up getting sick of it. Using single serving bags, frozen flat in the freezer, I can easily pop out the flavor I’m in the mood for and quickly thaw it in a bowl of cold water so it’s ready to be heated up for lunch or dinner.
Keep an inventory log near the freezer with a list of items that are in there, crossing items off as you use them. This way, you’ll know when you have six servings of chicken soup on hand, when you’re out of pork chops or when you only have one roast left.
When your freezer is in control, you’ll also be much better equipped to plan meals using what you have on hand.
Your freezer really can save your dinner! One of my favorite Saving Dinner product lines is our freezer menus.
In case you’re not familiar with our freezer meals, you are in for a treat! All our Freezer Meal ebooks include shopping lists that you use to get all of your assembly ingredients at once and then you’re going to get home from the market and do the prep for different delicious meals at one time. Then you’re going to freeze them flat in zipper bags, label them, and stack them in the freezer. When you’re ready to use one for dinner, you simply thaw and cook them up fresh.
For the inventory log – I’ve been using a white board attached to my refrigerator, since the chest freezer is in the basement. I just subtract or erase items as I use them. Easy to see what I have so I can plan meals.
I agree that it is easier and more efficient to freeze everything flat in plastic bags but I have a hard time environmentally using so much disposable plastic. Any other suggestions?
I wash and reuse my plastic bags, unless they have raw meat in them.
Soap and a thorough washing should kill the bacteria, no? My roommate re-uses all his bags by washing them with soap, no matter what’s in them.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Phil 4:6
I agree… and washing and reusing is great, up to a point. But what about BPA?
i use my food saver plus zip lock bags they don’t have any chemical in the plastic witch is great all zip lock products are chemical free .
you can wash the zip lock bags many times i have been doing it for years,
zip lock are BPA FREE AND FOOD SAVER BAGS ARE AND HAVE BEEN FOR YEARS TOO
i just froze lemon juice and lime juice using my ice cube trays then put them in the zip lock bags fast and east , that way when lemons go on special in 2 pound bags that goes for the limes too .
oh also each cube is 2 tablespoons worth.
Great suggestion! Is there a way to keep them from becoming one big lemon ice cube when I put them into the ziplock?
Thanks for these great tips. I will begin doing htis too.
How do you keep things tasting fresh?How long will they keep in freezer?
if you make your ice cubes of the lemon and lime fresh squeezed juice and they are frozen they should be fine i have mine all apart just act fast have everything ready i have no problems at all.