I have had a bunch of freezer conversations this week. Most of them were with people looking to “stock up” on something they like to eat. I think it gives us a sense of comfort knowing that within a few feet of the kitchen we have food. Very few of us are actually in a situation where we would starve, but the headlines might make you think otherwise. They bombard us with stories of shortages and what that will do to the price of everything from beef to eggs. So it makes sense that having a little extra on hand makes us feel more comfortable.
But what I really want to talk about happens after you bring the meat or other frozen items home. What do you do with it? Obviously, it has to go in a freezer. We have two house freezers and three commercial freezers, and I can tell you that things can get lost pretty quickly in there. It does you no good to store it if you cannot retrieve it!
Here are my suggestions to keep your freezers from becoming the black hole of lost meals.
Label everything. Sure, that is easy with that beef bundle where each piece is clearly labeled and dated. But how about that homemade soup that was too good to throw away? Or that tray of lasagna that you didn’t need to use over the holidays? It may seem obvious when you put it in the freezer, but in six months you’ll be hard pressed to remember if it was broccoli soup or bean soup.
Keep a list. Knowing what you have is just as important as having it. Making chili and need ground beef? A quick glance at the list would tell you whether you need to go to the store or not. But here is the most valuable reason to keep a list … before you decide what’s for dinner, check to see what needs to get used up before it gets old. Food waste is expensive! If that ground beef is getting to a year old, it’s time to get it used up.
Let it go. If you haven’t used that leftover soup and it’s getting past its prime, toss it. No sense keeping it unless it is something that is going to get eaten. Having a little bit of space in your freezer will allow you to take advantage of a deal when something is on sale.
And my last bit of advice. If you are putting a lot of food in your freezer, like a half of beef or something expensive like that, consider getting a temperature probe. These probes will send a message to your phone if the temperature gets above a certain threshold. For a couple hundred bucks, it could save you from losing thousands in food.
So, this week we are highlighting a few of our “bundles” for you to store away. There is a bit of savings tucked into each bundle as an added bonus too.
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