Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What I'm Storing-- The Freezer Edition

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It's recommended that we all have a 3-month supply of food and other necessities in our homes.  The food in your 3-month supply should be the everyday, normal food that you and your family eat.  The food in your pantry and even the food in your freezer are all part of a 3-month storage plan.  It is kind risky to have a lot of frozen food because of the possibility of a power outage, but storing frozen food for a rainy day type situation is a good idea.  Plus, if you store canning jars, a large canner, and a propane stove the frozen food can be processed in the event of a power outage.  Or maybe just plan on a neighborhood BBQ party :)

I wanted to give you a glimpse inside my freezers.  It's always fun to see how someone else lives, right?  I have two refrigerators, one in my kitchen, and one in my garage.  I must mention that I don't buy, or cook, a whole lot of meat because I am a vegetarian, so my freezers will not contain a massive amount of meat.  But I'll share what I do freeze....

 This is the freezer in my kitchen.  It's a typical household freezer.  I'll run down the numbers and describe what I have in here. 
  1. I keep my instant yeast in a resealable bag in this shelf. I can easily grab it for recipes that call for yeast. 
  2. The shelf above number two is where I keep my unopened yeast storage and some of my frozen butter.  (yeast stays fresh if frozen for a long time)
  3. This shelf has mostly bags of shredded cheese and most of the butter.
  4. Tortillas, freezer meals, and leftovers from dinner are on this shelf.
  5. This shelf is my baked goods shelf.  I store extra bagels, waffles, dinner rolls, and tortillas here. 
  6. This basket holds frozen fruits and vegetables.  My kids love smoothies and so we always have a large bag of frozen mixed fruit.  
  7. This area in the door holds mostly ice packs for injuries and a few baggies of frozen tomato paste, a few frozen bananas, and when I have frozen OJ it goes here. 

The garage freezer, where a lot of my food gets lost.  Just kidding, but it's hard to remember what I have out here sometimes.  (maybe I need to work on inventory of the freezer) I don't have that much in it right now because this is a really cheap fridge and if it gets too cold in the garage it won't turn on.  So I don't want to risk losing my food in the freezer out here.  The kids frozen popsicles go in the door cubbies.  In the main compartment I have several whole chickens, tilapia, more instant yeast, homemade bread sliced and ready to make toast, frozen ravioli, and leftover ice cream from my daughter's birthday.  You'll notice we don't have much in the ice cream department.  We aren't big ice cream eaters in our house. 

As you can see I don't freeze a whole lot of food, but what I do freeze are the foods we eat regularly.  I really love finding a great deal at the grocery store and stocking up my freezers.  It really helps extend my food budget.  For example, I found a great sale on butter a few months ago and I have plenty stored in our freezer that we'll use over the next few months. I also love having a few freezer meals ready to go as well.  

Nothing makes me happier on a busy night than knowing that I have dinner all put together in the freezer.  Making baked goods and storing them in the freezer is my other time saver tip.  When I bake muffins, or rolls, I make an extra batch and freeze them.  My kids eat bagels in their lunches every day, so when I bake up a batch, I double or triple the recipe and freeze the surplus.    

Remember that most food will last in your freezer for up to a year, IF wrapped correctly.  That means using freezer bags, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, a Food Saver, etc. to protect the food from freezer burn.  But....even if they are wrapped correctly freezer meals will only last about 3-6 months, label them with the date as soon as they go into the freezer.  Don't let the extra few steps of wrapping and labeling your food keep your from storing it in the freezer.  Even if it takes a few extra steps to freeze your food, it will be worth it because it gives you peace of mind knowing it's stored for when you'll need it!

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