I love dedicating a few days out of the month to baking and cooking in order to fill up my freezer. Doing so makes things so much easier for me on a week to week basis. If I have a particularly busy week, I don’t have to worry about finding the time to make our snacks, and I won’t blow our grocery budget by buying processed snacks from the grocery store. In addition, having some meals in the freezer makes it easier for us to not be tempted to eating out when life gets hectic.
Knowing how to store your food is essential. If you do not store them correctly, they will become freezer burnt, or icky–which results in a waste of time, money and effort.
- I use Ziploc Freezer bags for diced onions/green peppers, muffins, cookies, breads, mashed bananas, pumpkin puree, banana chunks, strawberries and almost every liquid–such as soups of all kinds. I always try to use actual Ziploc bags. I’ve noticed that when I opt for the generic brand, they either end up with a hole in them, or my goods end up getting freezer burnt no matter what I do.
- When using bags, make sure you leave some space to allow for expansion, and remove as much air as you possibly can. Doing so will help prevent a complete disaster mess, as well as freezer burn.
- For the most part, I try to flash freeze my goods prior to putting them into Ziplocs. To do so, put the item into a single layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. When frozen, remove and place into ziploc bags and place back into the freezer. This will help with them freezing into one big ball, enabling you to grab the exact amount you need.
- When freezing homemade chicken broth, I love freezing it into ice cube trays first. Once solid I pop them out, and throw them into a gallon ziploc bag. Freezing them into small portions is ideal when I need broth to make cream soups. This method also comes in handy to freeze juice, to use later in punches. You can also use this method to freeze small amounts of other liquids.
- Label everything! Even if you think you will know what it is–a month or so down the road, you will have forgotten. Trust me, it isn’t fun being surprised! I use my trusty Sharpie Marker. If I am using a container that I frequently use in the freezer, I write on freezer tape so that I can remove it, but still be able to use the container for something else in the future.
- Keep an inventory. While this isn’t essential–I’ve noticed that it has helped me to have a better grasp on what was in “the pit”. Even though I keep it pretty organized–it is still hard to know how much of what I have at any given moment. This has also proven to help me with my menu planning adventures. Not sure how to begin one? Rachel has an awesome post on her freezer inventory here.
- I love Amy’s method for organizing your freezer. I’ve found this quite handy for organizing my garden produce, meat, as well as my baked goods.
Here are some additional tips around the blogosphere:
Tiffany from Eat At Home Cooks has assembled a Top 5 list of how she makes her freezer work for her.
Carrie, from Springs Bargains shared on Twitter that she likes to remove frozen pizzas from their box to conserve freezer space. You can either write the directions directly on the wrapping or look them up on the internet.
Be sure to check out this post from Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship, where she shares 1o Easy Prep Foods she always has stored in her freezer–along with tips on how she freezes them.
Inexpensively has a whole host of different freezer tips and tricks here.
Making your freezer work for you, and using it to it’s complete capacity is a great way to save money on your grocery bill and have convience at your finger tips. How are you using your freezer?
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