This time of year the pickings get slim in our freezer and basement pantry. The longer I garden and preserve food the better I get and not ending up with too much food come spring. The only things that remain in the freezer from last summer are: 4 gal. bags of wild black raspberries, 1.5 gal. bags of strawberries, 9 pints of corn, 2 cups of peas and 1 gal. bag of roasted tomatoes. Since the freezer is as empty as it will get, I defrosted it yesterday. I always defrost it during April or May.
I pulled everything out, put it in coolers and the fridge freezer, then I turned off the freezer, opened the door, lined the bottom with a bunch of towels and turned on a fan. In an hour or two it was completely defrosted (one reason to do this yearly is because the frost doesn’t build up and take as long to thaw). I wiped out any excess water and turned in on. When it was cold once again, I put everything back in.
I have a specific method for organizing my freezer. The worst thing ever is finding things that have gone bad because they get pushed to the back of the freezer and you forget they’re in there. When you have a big deep freeze it’s important to keep it organized and keep a list of what’s in there. That way you’re never suprised either by finding something you forgot was in there, or by reaching for something that isn’t there.
I organize the freezer shelves into types of food:
top shelf – berries, fruits, and veggies
middle shelf – whole chickens, ham, prepared food, and bread
bottom shelf – chicken, meaty bones, organ meats, and lard
bottom compartment – venison: steaks, roasts, and ground
door – nuts, grains, things frozen in jars: stock, corn, etc
I like to keep track of what’s in the freezer so I know exactly how much of each thing I have inside without having to open the door. I do this by keeping a list of what’s inside on the front door written in dry erase marker. When I remove something, I update the total for that item. This is a quick and easy way to keep track of what’s in your freezer. I organize my list by type of item, but you could also write on the area of the door that corresponds to the shelf inside.
We do have a lot of venison in the freezer since hunting season was in late November and Mr Chiots got three deer. I also just ordered 150 lbs of meaty bones, chicken feet, beef liver & heart for Lucy, which will take up a lot of the available space. By the time I start freezing summer berries and other vegetables we’ll have just enough space for them. Keeping your freezer full helps make it more efficient since your not cooling huge unused areas, and the cold food helps keep the freezer cold. If your freezer is more than half empty simply fill with plastic milk jugs filled 3/4 of the way with water. They’ll freeze and can be used to keep coolers cold in the summer, and they’ll help keep your freezer from using so much electricity!
Do you have a deep freezer? How do you keep track of what’s inside?Filed under Freezing, Harvest Keepers Challenge | Comments (65)