Friday, December 10, 2010

The Freezer’s Time Has Arrived

I was getting something from the freezer the other day and had to do a little jig to avoid a mashed toe as a chunk of meat slid out and hit the floor - I decided I needed to either organize or wear steel-toed shoes when I need something from it. And the last straw was when Bev asked if I’d like country ham and biscuits for breakfast – a rare treat – and neither of us could find the ham. I opted to organize, especially since the temperatures were more conducive to leaving the doors open for a while – it’s cold in the garage and I can cool the pantry down by opening the door to the garage.

We have two upright freezers that needed to be dealt with – the first is the meat unit used in large part for my BBQ meat and allows me to buy large quantities when the local grocers have a sale. This way I can actually buy cheaper than from a food service company and get just as good or better quality. We do the same with meat for ourselves  – such as buying a whole beef ribeye for cutting into steaks and roasts, getting ground chuck for $1.78, etc. We’ve found we can actually buy cheaper this way than by getting a side of beef and we only buy the pieces we want – I don’t need a dozen packages of liver, but the dogs liked it.

The second is mainly the veggie freezer, used for our garden produce plus other odds and ends longer-storage items like the meat and fish stocks I’ve been making, extra soup, bread, pie crusts, fruit, polar packs, etc. The smaller freezer in the kitchen then gets used for the use-soon or use-often items, such as ice cream, a part bag of hashbrowns, etc.

I started with the meat freezer (I knew it would be less challenging) and only found a couple of things needing relocation, threw nothing away, and took out two deer front quarters to do something with. I forgot to get a before shot, but trust me it was a hoge-poge of everything, but here’s the after pic. I have room for more items, and it’s all together – no need to rifle though everything to find a steak. It’s really hard to restack frozen meat and a few items on the second shelf are headed for the other freezer.

The second freezer was a much bigger job as it was a disaster and I basically took everything out and reloaded it. The first thing I dealt with was the stock, as it was scattered all over, and after seeing how much I had, I considered contacting Swanson to see if they wanted to buy some. I set out several items to become dog food, a few items were moved to the other freezer, and I found the country ham. Here’s the before and after shots and the pile that’s to become trash or dog food. I'd already removed several items from the second shelf when I remembered the photo.  The oldest thing I found was a 5-year old container of pumpkin.

One of the things I’ve learned living with Bev is this must be an ongoing process, because when she comes in from the store with items to go in the freezer (or fridge, or panty), she puts them in the first hole she sees – you saw the empty shelves in freezer two, just wait a couple of weeks. If I were sharp, I’d do a little organizing every month, then it wouldn’t require a near injury or missed special meal to motivate me to tackle the bigger job. The final step will be to go through the kitchen freezer, but I need Bev hear to tell me what things are, and several items always get moved to one of the other freezers. Here’s the first requirement for effective freezer reorganizing – you must be willing to get rid of stuff (same for closets, dresser drawers, garages, etc)

I made yesterday's meal to use the shanks from the freezer and when I cleaned it out, I found three more packages – there’s a lot to be said for staying organized - I think I feel some osso buco coming on.

Did I motivate you, this only took an hour and I felt great having it done.  Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.

Larry



12 comments:

  1. You worry about a toe and I worry about killing one of my little dogs. I have a side by side and the freezer is always a mess. But then my little upright freezer in the basement is pretty much in order most of the time. Isn't it a good feeling when you've just re-organized something?

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  2. You motivated me to want a bigger freezer - we only have the small one in the side-by-side and it's organized often (by necessity). I have a veggie shelf, a meat shelf, etc., to keep on top of what I have. On second thought, I don't know how I'd keep up with that much freezer space!

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  3. I'm with Vickie.. you motivated me to want a bigger freezer! WOW.. I am envious for sure!

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  4. Come organize my freezer next!!

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  5. Love your furry friends on your header. They look very cozy and happy.

    I really, really don't like working with the freezer. I had almost rather do anything other than organize the freezer. A while back I made labels for shelves to try and be more organized. It's helped a little.
    Sam

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  6. Larry, I have one of the old coffin-like freezers. I try to keep it organized so I 1) don't fall in and 2) can find things without taking everything out. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  7. I figured with as much cooking as you all do that you had to have had at least 2 large freezers. we have two frig's --and each of them have freezers.. BUT--that is all... We still run out of room at times...The key is to eat things from the freezer --and not leave them in there til they get freezer burn.

    I am so picky about freezer burn --that we bought a FoodSaver gadget --which can suck all of the air out of each bag that you want to freeze. That's one of the best things we have ever bought. It WORKS.... We also date and mark EVERYTHING we put in the freezer...

    Good Luck with your organizing!!!!
    Betsy

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  8. Having an organized freezer is a joy. And I'm adding country ham and biscuits to the list!

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  9. Do you hire out? I need for my freezers to be purged and organized. You have inspired me!

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  10. After YEARS of not having a dedicated freezer we finally bought a used upright in good condition when I bought a 1/2 cow from my brother in law.

    Both my wife and I are now saying almost daily "why did we not buy a freezer before this!"

    Now we are taking advantage of bulk sales, food club meat sales, etc.

    Thanks for sharing some of your "freezer organization" tips!

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  11. Larry, What you actually accomplished for me...since we're 'eaters', not so much kitchen/cooking mavens, is to remind me why we don't and shouldn't own a freezer. As it is, I have to maintain a current listing of all the meat we have on hand, (75% from your smokers), so we avoid overloading on any single product...or just lose track of what we have. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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  12. I bitch about and at the very same time, feel thankful that I have "not enough freezer space" as a problem!

    Looks like you are working your leftovers well! I need to do better.

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