Freezer Facts

Today I’m talking freezers. Now, I realize that a freezer isn’t an exciting topic for most, or one that you probably even think about much, but it is a great convenience and offers us great opportunity to keep our food safe. Because of this we need to make sure we’re using it properly.

I live in a very small one bedroom apartment. Included in my small apartment is a small refrigerator with a small freezer. Since I live by myself and cook for only myself the freezer is a great friend of mine. It gives me the ability to store any extra or leftover food I may have without having to worry about it going bad. Because of this my freezer was getting really full, to the point that every time I opened the door I was having to dodge a bag of fruit or stick of butter falling out. After a heavy bag of veggies landed on my toe this weekend I decided it was time to get things organized.

I started by taking everything out, laying it on the counter, and evaluating what all I had packed in there. Much of the stuff had been in there for over two years or had severe freezer burn. Freezer burn does not mean your food isn’t safe to eat, but it can affect the quality and taste of the food, and since I needed to make cuts the old and freezer burned food had to go.

Freezer 4Freezer 3After cuts were made I divided the food into groups, meats, dairy, produce, etc.Freezer 1

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I then went through and made a list of everything I had and hung it on my refrigerator. Now I can visually see what I have in my freezer, even if something gets shoved in the back corner. As I use items from the freezer I will cross them off my list. This will be beneficial when planning meals and grocery shopping.

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Lastly I organized everything back in the freezer as orderly as I could. There are no secrets to how a freezer should be organized, however you always want to make sure that your freezer is at least three-fourths of the way full. This saves energy by making your freezer run more efficiently, and it is also a life saver if your electricity ever goes out. The more frozen food you have in there the longer the temperature will stay cool without power.

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I encourage you to take some time and go through your freezer. Clean out those items you’ve been saving for over three years. You many want to also invest in some plastic freezer bags or freezer containers. These will help prevent freezer burn and insure a better quality for your food. A refrigerator/freezer thermometer can also be very handy to make sure your freezer is working properly, you want the temperature to be at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent any bacteria from growing.

Another great sheet to hang on your refrigerator is the USDA’s Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Chart.Write the date you place the food in your freezer on the box with a sharpie. Then when you pull it out a few months later you won’t have to guess if it’s still safe to eat or not.

Resources:

USDA Freezing Food Safety

The Science of Freezing Food – University of Minnesota Extension

Freezing Food Questions & Answers – University of Minnesota Extension

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