Make your freezer work for you

Chest-FreezerIf it’s plugged in, you’re paying it! Make your freezer work for you!

I have a confession…. Right now I have an empty freezer plugged into the wall in my basement.  This is not by my choice.  A couple months ago our freezer was unplugged and we lost everything!  I was devastated.  We are not sure how long it was unplugged, but long enough that we lost 2 turkeys, 40 lbs of chicken that we had bought from Zaycon, 25 lbs of chocolate chips and lots more.  I am still so upset.  Anyway, I have yet to replace all those items.  I did hear after the fact that sometimes your homeowners insurance can help cover a loss like this, but I didn’t pursue it.

Well, it’s plugged in and cold now it’s time to talk about ways to make your freezer work for you.

Here’s a truth a freezer set at 0 degrees basically stops time.

If you have a bunch of leftovers you know you won’t get to before they spoil, package them up in meal sized portions and put them in the freezer. Now need to buy frozen meals at the grocery store when your freezer is full of dished your family already loves.

Make your own stock! In my freezer in my kitchen I have a bag with a bunch of random pieces and cuttings that I didn’t us.  I take these every few months and throw them in a pot of water to cook them down for a nice veggie broth for soup.  Did you know you can do the same thing with the bones from your rotisserie chickens? Chop them up and start a “soup” collection. Put them in a bag and add to the bowl as time goes on. When you do chicken stock you will get a layer of fat that rises to the top of the pan, just skim that off for a near “fat free” broth.

If you’re not a fan of soup, you can also do the same thing with the intent of turning those bits and pieces into a casserole.  It’s up to you to decide how to make your freezer work for you.

You know you have a busy schedule, with work, maybe a new baby on the way, an upcoming surgery or just life in general, make your freezer work for you. Consider prepare meals that can be frozen. Thaw and reheat when needed.  Here is a link to a great book that talks about freezer meals.

One of the best ways to make your freezer work for you is to stock up on meats when the prices are perfect and enjoy them long after the sale ends.

Here is some information from the USDA of recommended storage times for meat. These are only for QUALITY purposes. The meat will stay SAFE indefinitely if kept at 0 degrees.

Bacon & Sausage 1-2 months

Uncooked roasts or steaks 4-12 months

Uncooked ground meat 3-4 months

Cooked meat 2-3 months

Poultry, whole, uncooked 12 months

Poultry, parts, uncooked 9 months

Cooked poultry 4 months

Wild game, uncooked 8-12 months

How is your freezer working for you? Is it earning its pay at your house?