Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Freezer Organization

For most a freezer isn't something that one spends a lot of thought on, but when properly organized can serve as a helpful resource. Think about all those half eaten meals (that weren't touched with your fork), leftover spaghetti sauces, fresh vegetables not being eaten, or bulk meats bought on sale in the refrigerator. All these things have potential to be used at another time if put into the freezer.
Yet, I never thought of utilizing this space because it was so limited. Cramming everything in and hoping for the best was the "system". A few Ziploc bags later and some work on my part makes a whole new area for storing food! My options are now wide open and the new system saves me not only money, but time. Buying meat in bulk, splitting it into smaller 1lb portions, and flattening with a rolling pin makes it easier to dethaw and serve. Also, it is more convenient then buying it every week and lugging it home and not even at a sale price.

The veggie portion of the freezer was a hot or should I say, cold mess, before storing them in flat Ziploc bags. The top half is meat and sauces already frozen and flattened. The problem with just keeping veggies in the original bag is that it isn't a secure close, hard to take inventory on what I have, and which is the oldest veggie I should use up first.

Now, I can tell from top to bottom which is the veggie that is the oldest, what the contents are, and how much of one thing I posses. Also, when you are done with the freezer bag it is easy to rewash and use again. I would do this only with the ones that held vegetables as it is hard to get a truly deep clean with raw meats. Tips have been to purchase cheap plastic bags, fill them with the meat and then in a nicer freezer bag like Ziploc or Glad to protect them from frost.

I also put onions and red/green peppers in the freezer. Chopping them up and then flash freezing them. Flash freezing just means to put them individually on a flat surface, place them in the freezer let them harden, and THEN place them in a Ziploc bag. This way it is easier to take a few out at a time rather than a clump. They are mostly convenient for throwing in meats and sauces as flavoring.

The flash freezing process is also good for homemade chicken nuggets, pancakes, berries, and casseroles. To properly freeze a casserole and be able to keep reusing the dish, line it with foil, spray with cooking spray, and then flash freeze it. When completely frozen take out the meal in the foil, transferring it to a plastic freezer bag.

One tip for getting your meats to lay flat is to place them on a small cutting board in the freezer and let them take a flat shape before moving them. This way you gain more space and could even stand your foods sideways if you have the room and organizational talent!


  1. Okay, I know this is probably a dumb question, but what is flash freezing? I do freeze-ahead dinners, and I'd love to be able to take the odd casserole dish out of the equation, LOL!

  2. I had only heard of the term "flash freezing" used commerically, but found out that at-home-cooks use the same name and just use their freezers. Take a casserole dish lined with foil, and put it in the freezer without anything covering the top of it, no foil or freezer bag. Leave it there till it is completely frozen through, which is probably a few hours (keep checking on it). When it is, then take it out of the freezer, turn it upside down and it should fall out of the casserole dish because of the foil that the dish was lined in. Then find a ziploc bag big enough to hold the frozen solid casserole, and slide her in! So, without the covering of a bag or foil the food is prone to freeze more quickly, or "in a flash". Allowing it to be individually frozen more easily. I thought I was going to have to buy more casserole dishes to hold all my dinners and then found out about this process! Hope that helps :)