Organizing the Deep Freeze



Organizing the deep freeze

http://savoryseasonings.blogspot.com/

We depend heavily on our deep freeze for storing quick meals, preserving the harvest from our own garden and from the farmers market and storing various components to a meal that make dinner prep faster. Over the years I have learned a few tricks that have helped us keep our freezer better organized and a better resource for meals.

1. Bake everything in large quantities and store the extra in the freezer. Nothing is better than bread fresh out of the oven, but warmed from the freezer comes in second. Large one gallon size ziplock freezer bags seem to work best for breads and baked goods. Freeze tortillas, waffles, pancakes flat- then store on their side once frozen. We slice our bread loaves and stack in sets of two slices in gallon zip lock bags. We pull the two slices out for sandwiches and toast. Cookies and brownies also freeze well in gallon ziplock bags.

2. Rubbermaid Take Along Series Tupperware containers are my favorite storage containers for liquids and vegetables. The shallow square version comfortably holds 2 cups- a perfection proportion for us. They stack great and don’t topple over. I prefer having dozen’s of the same size storage containers for the freezer instead of different sizes and shapes. By using the same size for all freezer items, I’m able to keep the freezer better organized and keep the containers from falling over when stacked high. I have close to a 100 of these containers. I have used them for over a year and even though they are very inexpensive they have held up great. I use these containers for chicken broth, cooked beans, chopped vegetables, sauces and soups. For labeling, painters tape holds up great with the freezing temperatures (thanks to April for this great tip!).

3. Ziplock one quart freezer bags are perfect for storage when stacking them sideways in a basket like hanging file folders. Place the food in the freezer bag, then lay flat to freeze. Once frozen, stack sideways so it is easy to see the contents. We store berries, chopped fruits and vegetables and cooked meats in quart size bags. It is quick to see what is available and easy to store in hanging baskets.

4. Inventory. I don’t keep an inventory in our freezer, but divide our freezer into sections so I can quickly see which areas are well stocked and which areas are running low. Each week I visually check to see what we are running low on and plan my cooking around what needs restocking. I divide our freezer into the following sections:

1. Meats (raw and cooked), broths, sauces and cooked beans
2. Dinners that just need to be heated (soups, spaghetti sauce, enchiladas, casseroles)
3. Vegetables
4. Fruits
5. Breads and desserts
6. Dairy products

5. Stock up when prices are low. I stock our freezer when items go on sale or when the product is at the peak of their season. We buy large quantities of pork and make sausage when pork is on sale. We chopped 4 heads of celery when it is on sale and store in the freezer to later use in soups and pot roasts, we make chicken broth when chicken goes on sale, etc. By stocking up when the prices are low, we are able to save a substantial amount on our groceries. Plus it makes dinner prep much faster when the celery and carrots are already chopped and the corn just needs to be heated.

We are always modifying and adjusted our routine in the kitchen to find more productive ways to prepare and store food. I would love to hear of any ideas you have found helpful.

21 comments:

Melissa said...

Great tips! It comes at a great time because I am getting ready to buy a lot of freezer storage products and start working on building up my freezer.
I wish I had other tips for you but you've covered everything that I do and some that I'm going to start doing!
thanks!

Melissa said...

I have a question:
Do you use freezer tape or paper? I saw it at the store and I was thinking about getting some.

Emily said...

Hi Melissa, you'll love having a fully stocked freezer. It's like having a little grocery store in your home. :)

Sorry, I haven't used freezer paper and tape before and haven't heard of anyone who uses it either. You'll have to let me know if you try it and like it.

Thanks for your comments.

grandma w. said...

Hi, this is Ellen again, I sent you a note earier about my husband who has very severe reactions to msg also. My daughter-in-law, Kim Whiting just sent us a note from the DR recommending your blog. She said that she knew you.

Anyway I have a question. You mentioned no using gluten in one of our conversations. Have you found somewhere you can buy a kind of gluten that is not vital wheat gluten, or do you just leave it out of your bread? Is there anything else besides yeast in the bread that we make that would bring a reaction?

My recipe is just a general recipe with honey or sugar and I grind my own flour. I am just trying to identify all ingredients in bread that will cause problems for him.

I would appreciate your take on this. Thanks in advance. Ellen

Emily said...

Hi Ellen,

That’s fun that your daughter in law is Kim Whiting! Yes, we used to live in the same neighborhood. Small world. :)

Let me give you a little background on MSG to help answer your bread question. In simple terms MSG is made from salt (sodium) and free glutamic acid. Salt, obviously, is okay for us but the free glutamic acid is what we react to. Manufactures create free glutamic under different names to add addition flavor to their products which is why there are so many names to avoid.

People have different sensitivity levels to how much free glutamic they can eat before getting a reaction. For me it’s very, very low. For others they could eat 20 times as much as I could before reacting. I don’t know how much your husband can handle so it’s hard to say what level of avoidance he should be at.

If you can tell me what kinds of foods you are currently eating, I can get a better idea of how severe on the scale he is and give better recommendations.

I can eat gluten (naturally found in wheat and oats but different from free glutamic acid). But I do avoid vital wheat gluten, an ingredient added to whole wheat bread recipes. Some people who are extremely hypersensitive do react to bread and wheat products and yeast but a lot of people who are sensitive (like me) can handle wheat and yeast in a balanced diet. I also buy only cane sugar instead of beet sugar.

If your recipe is only water, dry active yeast, sugar or honey and your own ground wheat- it should be just fine. But if he is getting a reaction, its from the yeast or too much wheat in his diet.

I would highly recommend the book MSG Myth (listed below is the link to buy it from Amazon). If you don’t already have it, buy it today. Read it twice. It will be a lifesaver as it is full of ideas on how to live without MSG.

http://www.amazon.com/Battling-MSG-Myth-Deborah-Anglesey/dp/0967049210/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265989133&sr=8-1


I hope this helps. If have more questions, feel free to email me at savoryseasonings @ gmail . com (without the spaces). It’s always good to hear from you. Please leave a comment or email me with any questions you have- I am more than happy to help.

Thanks,
Emily

April VanSickle said...

Wow, I am impressed at how well organized your freezer is! How do you reach the things on the very bottom? I am fairly short and we have a deep freeze, but its not this organized because I used plastic grocery sacks to hold things so I can grab them to get the items off the freezer floor.

I have one suggestion that we do. Low tack painters tape. We experimented with a lot of tape, but this tape works great for labeling. It sticks to the plastic lids, even while frozen and peels easily off without residue when you are ready to use it. We are using purple from Wal-mart (but I'm not sure if the color has any meaning or not, but that is what we have and a couple rolls has lasted for years). I then write the contents and sometimes the amount (like for stocks) so I know how much is in there.

Emily said...

Hi April, what a great tip! I can't wait to give painters tape a try (any label I try falls off).

I'm also very short and our deep freeze is pretty deep. I stack everything on top of each other (tomatoes stacked in a column, with corn stacked in another column next to it. Butter stacked in another corner). I grab the item on top but replace new items on the bottom so its not very often when I need to reach ALL the way to the bottom.

I also keep the bulkiest items on the bottom like bags of chicken so it is easy to grab the top of the chicken bag and pull it out. All small items are stacked in rows in the hanging baskets so they don't get lost (that's not to say things don't get lost down there). :)

I hope this helps. Again, good to hear from you. Thank you again for the label tip!

slick said...

Hello, just was linked to your page from lifehaker for something completely different, Im a Culinary arts student. Seriously impressed with level of organisation of your freezer. last time i saw a freezer that organized i was working in a michelin starred restaurant in Barcelona.. looks great, good to hear someone promoting proper cooking! Also a tip and question, have you ever tried vacuum packing any foods or sous-vide cooking?

Shannon said...

I too stumbled onto your blog through someone else's link through facebook! I love your natural orientation when it comes to foods; I too suffer from reactions due to these harmful ingredients. My question is this: Have you heard much about the harmful toxins that can leak out of plastic containers into your food? I've read a few different things that suggested this, either by heating or freezing plastic. I guess there is some sort of toxin from the plastic that can have harmful effects on reproductive issues..

Emily said...

Thanks for the compliments Slick.

Yes, I do vacuum pack freezer foods I don’t intend to use within the next 3 months. I’ve have been very blessed with the results. A lot of what I freeze gets used within a few weeks to a month and I’m happy with the ease of ziplock bags and Tupperware containers for those short term items.

Until today I had never heard of sous-vide cooking, I just looked it up and it seems interesting. I’ll have to look into it more. Thanks for the tip!

Nicholas said...

hi, well if your vacuum packing already, sous vide(just means under vacuum in french) is easy. Theres a good few videos and tutorials on youtube.. I think you would really find this useful in your cooking. Its a small step following what your already doing. again very impressed with your freezer!

creb_mo_ said...

Hello, I'm really enjoying your blog, and I'm wondering if you've had an opportunity to try dehydrating food?
There's a great blog called dehydrate2store.com, that shows a lot of food preparation and storage ideas.
Personally, we can a lot of our foods. Beans taste great when you put them up yourself, and canning is loads easier than you might think. My best source has been http://pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm
Good luck!

lovefordinner said...

You have the most organized freezer! ^_^ Thank you for sharing your tips! I wish we had a larger freezer...

Emily said...

Thanks! I love the PickYourOwn website too. Yes, I do dehydrate some but haven't seen the websites you had suggested before. Thank you! I'll look into them a little more, I'm anxious to get a few more ideas.

Camella Black said...

I love this blog, especially this post! My freezer was lost a couple weeks ago due to lightening strike but a new one is on the way... and I can't wait to try out some of your tips.

Camella

http://foundations-a-cookbook.blogspot.com/

Sherri said...

Actually, gluten is not found in oats. Only wheat, barley and rye. But because they are often grown near each other or harvested on the same equipment they can be cross-contaminated. But the idea that celiacs or gluten intolerant folks have to steer clear of oats is wrong. You can find gluten-free oats.

Shawn said...

Wow! I just found your blog from surfing other food blogs, and my jaw dropped at this post! I LOVE organization! I have a tiny freezer, and want a deep freezer so bad! I am definitly jealous! Great blog!!

Emily said...

Thanks Shawn you are too kind!

Mayra said...

Hi Emily,
I love your website and recipes. I have fibromyalgia and Aspergers, and I see an improvement when I go msg free.
I have also used Dr D'Adamos blood type diet, that helps me as well. Since I am a type O, I can not have corn, wheat and potatoes. I see wheat and corn in your recipes. If you don't mind, can you tell me what your blood type is? Since you are very aware of how food affects you, I wonder if it coincides with the blood type diet. I would imagine you would not be a type O.

Emily said...

Hi Mayra, thank you for your kind words. I'm so glad to hear you have found a diet that works for you. I'm B- (I think or B+).

I only eat corn or popcorn in it's natural form from the farmers market and avoid all the processed forms of corn. I actually show up having an allergy to corn and get sick if I eat it too much. I find if I eat it only occasionally I'm okay.

My daughter is gluten intolerant so I make everything strictly gluten free for her and we eat a lot of gluten free as well. If you are avoiding wheat, are you gluten free or do you cook with spelt and the other ancient grains?

Again, I'm glad you have found a diet that is working well for you. Have a great morning.

Stuff Parents Need said...

Hi there! Just wanted to let you know that I'm going to be doing a deep freezer organization round up post on my site and I'd like to include your post! I will post one of your pictures and of course give you full credit and link back to your site so people can get all the details on your method! :-) Please let me know if this isn't ok for any reason. And thanks for sharing your method!