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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Keeping a Deep Freeze

Tonight Ethan was gone for a bit so I decided it was a good time to reorganize my deep freeze. Since I just added about 20 lbs of frozen strawberries, it was needing some rearranging.

When we were shopping for freezers, quite a few people said not to go with the chest type. They said that too much stuff gets lost in them, and the upright are much easier to keep organized. Well, we looked at the prices and decided that a chest freezer was the way we were going to go. We would just have to be diligent about keeping it organized.

So I thought I would share some of my tips with you and also see if you have any tips of your own.

Here is a picture of the inside of my deep freeze. I found some plastic shoe box tubs that fit wonderfully inside. I have grouped my frozen foods in these tubs: meats, veggies, fruits, desserts, etc. This makes it easy to find what I am looking for, and a lot easier to get to the bottom of the freezer. Instead of having to pull out multiple packages of things, I just pull out a few tubs and I am at the bottom. One drawback of this is that you do have some space that isn't being used at times, but it is well worth it to not have something buried at the bottom of the freezer for a couple of years.

If you noticed the gloves on top, they are always in there. Things get COLD in a deep freeze (duh!), but these stretch gloves don't. They make digging around in it a lot more comfortable (and quick!).

Another thing I do is put milk jugs filled with water in the dead space. This serves a couple of purposes. One is that a full freezer takes less energy to run so the ice jugs help save some money when the freezer isn't filled with food. Some of the ice jugs are labeled "Drinking water". These are used for long days at the farm since we don't have water out there yet. They slowly melt, so we can still have cold water by the end of the day. The ones that aren't labeled drinking water just get put in and out of the freezer as needed. They make great ice packs for coolers too though. Also, if electricity goes out for awhile, the ice jugs will help keep things from thawing as quickly.

Another thing thing that I was told about deep freezers was that people forget what is inside of them and half of the food goes to waste. I can't remember where I found this next idea, but it is a great one!

I have a white board that I keep specifically for my deep freeze. I have it sectioned off into categories and have a list of things that I keep inside my deep freeze. When I take something out or put something in, I just change the number by that item. It not only saves me time digging through the deep freeze to see if I still have something, but it is great to glance at quickly before heading to the grocery store. (This is just for things in the deep freeze by the way - not for things in my fridge freezer, but that is easy to check on.)

In order for this to work, you have to be willing to take a moment and change numbers, even if you are super busy after a shopping trip or preparing a meal. The time and money it saves is well worth it though. I will admit that mine does get off by an item or two sometimes, but when I reorganize my freezer (maybe 2 or 3 times a year) I will be sure to update it.

As for other tips, I have heard of people who keep a sack of ice cubes in their freezer in case electricity goes out and they didn't know about it. If your ice cube bag is all of the sudden a solid block of ice, there is a good chance that food in your freezer thawed, refroze, and could be dangerous to eat. I don't do this, but I probably should.

Also, some people keep rugs and blankets over their freezer to help save energy. Our freezer is in our yucky basement though, and I'm afraid of what might jump out of the blankets if I had them on.

So what about you? Do you have any tips for your deep freeze?


Rebekah Costello said...

These are such good ideas. Dh and I are thinking about getting a deep freezer, too. How much did yours cost, if you don't mind my asking?

I'm so excited to have found your blog. I am also a beginning farmers wife, though we do not own our own farm. I also stay at home and we have two small girls (ages almost four and just turned one).

I'll be reading you with interest!

Dana Derks said...

You are very organized. We have an upright freezer and you are right; its easy to stay organized and you can visually see everything. Plus you have storage in the door, etc... But I think if you are as organized as you are then its not that different. Continued good luck with you farm.. I love your blog.

~*~ Jennifer ~*~ said...

I thought I was being smart and I put MILK CRATE type of containers in my deep freeze. Wowza... those get HEAVY! LOL

Great post Bekah!

Wayne said...

The whiteboard is cool, but I can't imagine our children maintaining it correctly.

We tried blankets on top, but it just caused the freezer to sweat and then the blanket gets wet and molds.

Also people should know this:

When buying a used freezer don't get anything older than 1993. The extra electricity usage will more than offset any savings.

The Beginning Farmer's Wife said...

I don't remember how much we paid for ours, but we got it at Menards. You can check out their website and find prices of various models.

We just got an upright freezer too from Ethan's cousin who was moving (It's a newer year so it should be efficient.) I'm looking forward to the easy of getting to things with it. We will keep our meal things in it and our deep freeze will be used for storing meat once we get to butchering our livestock.

So that's how you got your muscles! :) My mom used to use boxes in hers, but they were heavy as well. So with my weanie muscles, I decided to go for something smaller.

Wayne - Our kids are just 4 and 2, so they don't get into the deep freeze, but I might have to figure something else out when they are old enough! Thanks for the heads up on the blankets. I'm glad I never tried that. Also, I'm glad you posted about years and efficiency. That is why we went with a new one. I didn't even think to mention it.


I love your blog! Great tips!

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