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4 February 2009

Food storage - freezing

I have been using my large chest freezer as a cool room for storing my grains and dry goods. In this humid climate, especially in summer, it's truly been a very good way of making sure bugs and mildew don't spoil our food and thus we avoid wastage. Using the freezer this way I wasn't concerned if the electricity went off, I knew that no matter what, that food would be fine.

However, since we started eating a little bit of meat each week, I now have a small amount of meat in the freezer and I have changed my cavalier attitude towards the contents of the freezer. Now I see it as an active part of my food preservation and have been freezing more. I would be much happier with my freezer if we had our solar panels, but I have to deal with what we have now, so I don't think about what I hope to have in the future and make sure my freezer doesn't use more electricity than necessary. I do this by not putting warm or hot food in the freezer and keeping it full, even if it's with containers of frozen water.

Freezing is a very good way of preserving food. It does not sterilise food, like a water bath or pressure canner does, but it slows down changes in food and retards the growth of microorganisms due to the extreme cold. It doesn't require special equipment, except the freezer itself, and it doesn't take much time. It's much faster than using a water bath and if treated properly, the food usually retains its nutrition, texture and colour. I believe freezing is the best method of preserving food but it does cost money to keep the freezer going and you run the risk of losing the food to spoilage if your power is cut for a length of time. Our freezer is very efficient and since our local transformer was replaced a few years ago, we very rarely have power cuts.

For the best results, keep your freezer below minus 18 C (minus 0.04F). While freezing will not kill the bacteria that causes botulism, if the bacteria is present, it cannot multiply and produce harmful toxins in a freezer kept at under minus 18C. The top of your fridge freezer isn't cold enough for long term storage. It will freeze food but not at a temperature low enough to keep food for months. When we know we will add new foods to our freezer, I set the temperature lower 24 hours before adding the food. That allows the food to freeze faster. The faster food freezes, the less damage there is to the cell wall structure of the food.

There are two main points I always take care with when freezing food I want to store for a long time: blanching and wrapping. Blanching vegetables before freezing them inactivates enzymes that can spoil the food and it helps kills some micro-organisms on the surface of the vegetables. Blanching will also collapse the vegetables and that helps pack more food into a small space. I tend to blanch all vegetables I freeze because generally I don't know when they'll be used. But if you know you'll only store something for a couple of weeks, it doesn't need to be blanched.

Blanching vegetables <- click for information from the National Center for Home Food Preservation
Wash all the vegetables thoroughly. Prepare a deep pot of boiling water and have a colander and tongs ready. Fill your kitchen sinks or large bowls with cold water and ice. Blanch small amounts and time them from the moment the water returns to the boil after the vegetables have gone into the water. There is a chart here for the times most vegetables need. When blanching is complete, remove them from the boiling water and plunge the vegetables into the iced water to prevent overheating. When the vegetable is cool, drain in a colander, wrap and place in the freezer.

I always use freezer bags for vegetables. Place the vegetable into the bag and press gently to expel as much air as possible. If you can move the contents of the bag around a little to make a flat square package, do that because it will stack well in the freezer. Small packs are better than big ones. Make sure you mark the bag or container with the type of food and the date it was added to the freezer.

Freezing soup or sauce
This can be packed into a plastic container, suitable for freezing. Some plastic containers will crack when subjected to very low temperatures so make sure you have the right kind of container. Don't freeze glass, most of it will break.

Fill the container almost to the top. Food expands when it freezes so make sure you leave some headspace, just as you would when you're canning/bottling. The larger the container, the more headspace you'll need. For example, about 500 mls (one pint) will require a headspace of about 13mm (½ inch) and the same food in a 1 litre pack (1 quart) needs about 25 mm (1 inch). If you're freezing commercial milk, you might need to take a little bit out of the bottle to allow for expansion. Defrost milk in the fridge.

Freezer records
It's a very good idea to keep a record of what you have in your freezer. This will allow you to manage your frozen food effectively. A freezer, particularly a chest freezer, is a difficult space to manage and a record of what goes in, with the date, and what comes out, will give you an accurate freezer inventory at any time without you having to unpack it to see what's at the bottom.

If the power goes off
If you know the power will be off on a particular day, turn up the power the day before. Then, when the power goes off, unplug the freezer and cover it with blankets or quilts to insulate it. Don't open the freezer until the power comes on again. When the power comes back on, plug the freezer in again and switch it on. A freezer will usually be able to keep food safe this way for two days.

Position of a freezer
If your freezer is under a window, make sure the sun doesn't shine on it. If sun comes through that window, put up a curtain.

Having a deep freezer will allow you to store all manner of raw and cooked foods for several months, depending on the food. You'll be able to take advantage of buying meat in bulk and store harvests from your garden, or cheap buys at the markets, for the months to come. If you're new to freezing, it would be a good idea to find a book on the subject at the library so you know the ins and outs of it. If you do, you will make food storage in your home a safe and easy option.

I am looking forward to reading the ways you freeze food, particularly leftovers.


  1. I used to can -- got tired of that and tired of the investment in jars, lids, etc. I switched to freezing, but for the reasons you mention wasn't happy with that either. This year I tried dehydrating and LOVE it. The food is much easier to store, has a long shelf life, takes up much less space, requires no ongoing electricity to maintain and is extremely portable.

    I would be interested to hear how you used the freezer to store grains. Did you just leave it unplugged? Did you have a problem with humidity inside the freezer?

  2. Hi Lisa, I have very limited experience with drying but intend to try it when I find a cheap dehydrator at a thrift shop. I think it would be a great storage method.

    I used the freezer you see in the photo as a cool room. I just packed all the grains and flour into the freezer and kept it on its lowest setting. I've never had any wastage since I started storing dry goods like that.

  3. I freeze my food much the way you have described. My flours are always stored in the freezer. I have actually been thinking about getting another small freezer to store dry goods in so I can have larger amounts on hand without having to go shopping, but don't want the added electric charge. We have not suffered from power outages in this area, but if the infrastructure is as bad here in the usa as I'm starting to hear we might have to start taking more care. Donna J.

  4. I have a special container in my freezer for vegetable and meat leftovers. When it gets full I use all the odd bits of leftovers and add it to broth for a stew or soup. It's usually unusual but always delicious, plus I know that I am using everything up and not throwing it out. I freeze leftover spaghetti sauce in one container, sometimes only adding a couple tablespoons at a time. When it is full I just use the jar for a spaghetti dinner. I do the same with taco meat. My family loves tacos and we have them twice a month if not more. I save the leftover meat in a certain container and then at the end of the month I have enough to use for a full meal. I think it's important in the realm of living simply and getting the most out of our money to use every bit we can. As for preserving food in the freezer, every summer I freeze corn cut off the cob, shredded zuchinni for breads and casseroles, sliced sweet pepper and chopped sweet peppers, chopped onions, apples, cherries, and freezer cucumbers (cukes in a sweet sauce). I store all bulk purchases of pastas, flour, sugar, and oatmeal in the freezer. This way I know they won't get wormy. Yuck!:)


  5. Rhonda can you please tell me is it really necessary to blanch vegies.
    I cut washed & froze some pumpkin & carrot without blanching & it was good to use. Although I did only keep it frozen for 2-3mths then only used it in a soup. I s'posse a vegie like broccoli needs to be blanched to keep it crisp. Thanks Caroline

  6. In addition to the huge freezer in my fridge. I have a huge stand up freezer. I also store all flour, bisquik, orzo and rice in there.

  7. Rhonda, I'm only just catching up with your blog since I've been out of town. I know you're able to view comments before posting them and I note you say comments on the previous post are closed. But I would like to say this: I was appalled to read your rant post, absolutely appalled. That is just not like you, though I know you have complained about certain comments before. My stomach sank when I read what you had put. Not only that but some of the comments to that post are just so dreadful. How could you let a comment about Paula being nasty and miserable, amongst other comments almost as awful, go onto your blog. Perhaps you were upset by Paula's comments but surely she was using her voice as you encourage people to do. It is so sad that you have both retaliated in such a fashion and put others hateful comments on your blog. Paula is a human being, no matter whether her comments get your approval or not. Can you imagine how she feels seeing such things written about her. Was what she wrote so bad anyway that it justifies such punishment.
    I'm sure you want an end to this and you appear to have moved on but at what cost to Paula. A little more thought perhaps could have been given to how this turned out. There are a few supportive comments for Paula but sadly the nastiness in the other comments must be very upsetting for her. I do hope that you are in some way able to apologise to her, I can't imagine that you feel this is right. Sorry to have kept the subject open but I do feel strongly that an injustice has been done.
    Kath D.

  8. Hi Donna and Kris, thanks for your comments, very interesting.

    Caroline, if what you're doing works, keep doing it. I tend to blanche everything because I don't know how long I will keep it. We eat from the freezer only when we have no fresh vegetables. Blanching does limit the amount of enzyme spoilage, but if your vegetables are fine without blanching, you should stick to what works for you.

  9. Kath, thank you for your comment. Having thought about it overnight, I am going to remove the post at the end of the week. I'll wait until everyone has a chance to see their comment is there. This is not the only comment Paula has posted. I usually delete her comments but I thought I'd make a stand on this one to put an end to it. Her response to the ranting post was "Mission accomplished". She is not an innocent.

  10. Thanks for all the knowledge about freezing!
    We mostly freeze fruit. Right now there are cherries from our cherry tree, some apricots and plums, plus some dill leaves in our freezer. Simply put into plastic bags...
    Frozen dill leaves are a perfect example of how freezing keeps vegetables almost as good as fresh, as opposed to other ways of preserving. There's a big difference between dill sauce made of fresh or frozen dill and one made from dried dill! BTW, when I google "dill sauce", it seems it's used for fish. However, the one made in the Czech Republic is usually served with dumplings and beef (and made from dried dill, as far as I know) - and the one made in my family is served with potatoes and hard boiled eggs (and made from fresh or frozen dill).
    There also used to be root vegetables and leek in the freezer, but they got used up and haven't been replaced yet...

  11. I have only had my vegie gardens for 1 year. Any extra amounts, I always passed on to family and friends. This year I have decided to store more so that I can use it later. So far I have only frozen whole tomatoes and cleaned chopped pumpkin. Neither was blanched. The pumpkin is to see how it goes, but I read on another blog about freezing tomatoes as is, if you are going to use them for cooking they come out perfectly. The blog even said that she froze green tomatoes and they ripened in the freezer! When I have enough frozen tomatoes (and my new kitchen in!) I will cook up chutney/sauce etc.


  12. Just wanted to add to the freezing ideas - we freeze loads of apples each year that my uncle brings us from his orchard. They are mostly cooking apples and not all of them are in good enough condition to store in boxes so we peel and cook them and then portion into the right kind of amount you might use for an apple crumble or apple sauce. It freezes very well. I also find that freezing things in square/rectangular tubs (like margerine tubs, for example) helps to pack more in to the freezer.

    We have also done this with peaches and pears. I also find the freezer invaluable for keeping baked goods - I have big baking sessions and then just have to grab a bag of cookies or cakes out once or twice a week to keep the family happy!


  13. I love our chest freezer. It felt like an extravagant purchase when we bought it, but it has paid for itself many times over.

  14. Hello. I owned a food business that provided meals for families. I know a lot about freezing! Sometimes, more than ANYONE should know, lol!

    My favorite little trick: freeze meat in a marinade or sauce. As it thaws, it marinates, discard marinade (or boil to kill bacteria before basting), or simply dump the defrosted contents in a pan and bake. Do this when you stock up on great deals. Use the meals when you're super busy.

    If you don't have a freezer, here's my best tip to buy one. DO NOT purchase a frost free freezer. These freezers heat up periodically to defrost and so does your food, thus cutting down the freezer life of the food. It's worth it to have to defrost your freezer. I only do it about once a year--not a big deal. And I do it during the winter here in Minnesota, USA where we have a huge walk-in freezer (my deck outside!).

    Great topic. I have not used my freezer to store grains (gasp!), but you've got me thinking that this is a great idea for long term storage. Our summers are extremely hot and humid and we get moths. I like to stock up on dry goods too, so I'll definitely be using your tip this summer and when I overstock my pantry.

    Thank you!!

  15. I just want to gush on an bit about how much I love your makes it sooo easy for me to find a recipe and instructions(am bottling some peaches today)you are a lilttle piece of heaven :)

    I also wanted to ask where you got the seeds for your *Golden Nugget pumpkin*
    I can't find any anywhere.

    thanks again!!!!!!!!

  16. Hi Blossom, thanks for your comment. I buy all my seeds here:

    BUt they have no golden nuggets at the moment. Mrs Fothergill's has some by the look of it.

    If you strike out there, let me know. I have one of ours left and when I cut it open I can send you some seeds.

  17. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    Your blog is so thought provoking, thank you. I use a food saver, which I dearly love!! The bags are a little pricey, but I never have to throw food away due to freezer burn. Are you familiar with food saver?
    Have a nice day,

  18. Hi,
    We have a tiny freezer above our fridge - but it's amazing how much we pack into it! I squash everything down flat to freeze - like mince - and then stack it.
    One thing we do is keep a bag in the freezer for vege scraps. Carrot peelings, onion skins, parsley stalks, broccoli stalks. When its full I make stock and then freeze that. It's my poor mans version.
    If I don't have enough containers, I put a bag in a container, pour in a batch of what I need to freeze, and then when its frozen I take it out of the container and repeat. Blocks in plastic bags!

    PS is a good resource for seeds. They have golden nugget. They stock traditionl open pollinated seeds mostly organinc.

  19. Hi Rhonda, Your post regarding freezing food is very timely, as I am about to have a freezing frenzy this afternoon.
    I will be freezing zucchini and patty pan squash, which I slice thinly and blanch, then pack in freezer bags as you describe. I will also be freezing peaches. With these I will blanch them, remove the skins and the seeds. Then these will be diced and packed in a light sugar syrup in takeaway containers (I had to buy some at the $2 shop as we don't do takeaway). Peach crumble this winter, here we come.
    I love my freezer, and couldn't live without it. I will be making bulk pesto in the next few weeks and will freeze this. The colour does suffer in the freezer but the taste is still there. I store nuts and breadcrumbs in the freezer. If I have to buy parsley, I will store it in the freezer as is, and will chop it frozen. I also store my home-made limoncello in the freezer.
    My freezer is always pretty full, but will take your tip about filling the freezer with ice-blocks to help it run more efficiently.
    Cheers, Paola

  20. Hi Rhonda,
    When I had the family at home I had a big chest freezer and when the stock was running low I filled the empty spaces with carrier bags stuffed with crumpled newspapers. I have a smaller freezer now and use it to freeze seasonal excess such as runner beans (by far my most successful crop). I blanch them then open freeze on baking trays before bagging them up. This makes it easier to remove as much or as little as you want as they dont stick together. I also use it to freeze home made soup which I make in big batches.
    Cheers, Eileen in England.

  21. Hi Rhonda

    I have a fridge top freezer, and it is usually full. As a singleton I often find I don't want to use all of a container of something I've opened at once, or over next few days. As a result I have sucessfully frozen refried beans,tinned beans and chickpeas, buttermilk, coconut milk or cream and even homemade macaroni cheese. I portion up these (and any meat) before freezing. I portion up butter too.

    And always make more than I need of soups and stews then freeze portions.

    I also find it great to freeze bread and pizza dough. Make up a full or double quantity. Let it have its first rise, punch down then cut into portions and bag (and label!) the ones to freeze. To use these just thaw , pat into the shape you want, allow the second rise and your away......

    Just had a quick peep - there is a bag of limes and juice all sliced ready for making marmalade, sliced strawberries for instant strawberry icecream and pine nuts (to keep the nuts fresh).

    And I build up a store of cooked chicken bones (after eacting the cooked chook pieces) until there are enough for making stock.

    My folks now freeze prepared fruits instead of bottling (canning) it. Mind you they have 2 huge charged up batteries and a generator in case of power cuts.
    N.B. look after your chect freezer well and it will last for years. Mum and Dad bought theirs back in the early 1970s. They've only had to have the door seals replaced and it is still going strong

    Enough rambling from me - great topic for a post, Rhonda,

    Thanks and care, Michelle in Wellington (enjoy the cricket!)

  22. This is a very timely post for me Rhonda, I've made a promise to myself that I would sort my freezer out - its a jumble! I do keep a list of contents which helps a lot with meal planning and also is a help to identify those anonymous packages that manage to lose their label!

    I line a plastic container with a freezer bag, put the food in the bag and seal it. when the package is frozen I take out the plastic container and have it to re-use (margarine tubs are very useful for this). I tend to keep like things with like - so eg a number of packs of stock all in one larger container

    I cook enough for several meals at a time and freeze a couple of meals for later in the month - means I don't have to eat the same thing several nights in a row.

    The best freezer book ever is the A-Z of freezing by Mary Norwak. Its a 70's book but still available. It has info on freezing every type of food imaginable and also some very good basic recipes for freezing. I just bought a preloved copy from amazon because my original is falling to pieces - I have to keep it though for all my scribbled notes in the margin.

    Sorry for the long post
    RosieB :)

  23. I use my freezer a lot. I freeze a lot of bread. I have 5 children, so when I do a baking I will make 10-15 loaves and tuck them away in the freezer, it will last us about two weeks and it saves me from baking every other day.

  24. Rhonda, just caught up with the big news. (sorry - I'm not ignoring your excellent post on's just not as exciting as a wedding!) Congrats to the whole family - I hope the unfortunate jibe in your comments hasn't been too much of a downer.

    Our wedding was on DH's family farm, under a eucalypt in January. We had a marquee, a hired bbq catering service and a bush band. We begged and borrowed to save money. Mum made my dress and there was enough left over for a flowergirls dress for my niece. A friend's father supplied fairy lights. A friend's friend gave ivy and hydrangeas to decorate the marquee. A dear friend of DH's family provided vases and the most gorgeous sprays of scented roses. She also made and decorated the cake. Our table centrepieces were large candles on terracotta saucers surrounded by lush seasonal fruits (cherries, plums, peaches etc). I made the invitations. The CWA did desserts for $3 a head. We bought our wine/beer & bubbly from an outlet that gave free glass hire. We had a pro-photographer, but we also had a friend who is a gifted amateur (who didn't want the pressure of being the sole one) take some stunning pics. A work friend of FIL drove the bus we hired to safely ferry the revellers home.

    There weren't any hitches that I remember and while it wasn't a day that Vogue brides would cover, it was a beautiful wedding. We had 110 guests and it cost a little over $6000. That includes the recovery bbq the following day.

    I'm so thrilled.

    Lisa x

  25. Having a freezer is one of the very best things!! I love having one...I had 2, gave son's one, my standup one...and I do miss that because it is so much easier to organize and keep track of things, but my large chest one runs effeciently and keeps things frozen hard in even hot weather. Being we cook for gluten free kin, etc. I have to keep a lot of things in there that normally I would keep on a shelf. It helps too when we hit a good sale!! Maybe someday I will become a gardener, if I read your ideas enough!! One could sure do well with the produce when you have a good freezer.

  26. I have only the freezer on the bottom of my refrigerator, so don't freeze very much or for very long storage times. For fruit and veggies, I freeze the pieces spread out on a cookie sheet, then dump them into a freezer bag. It makes it easy to pull out just a handful of veggies when making soup or an omelette, or when I want a small dish of fruit for dessert.

  27. sorry I did not see the comment conclusion note.
    This is a good post.
    I will be using my homemade sour dough tomorrow. It is coming along very well.

  28. My freezer is now organised and I recommend keeping a proper freezer inventory. You only have to inventory it once, then make a mark on your inventory sheet when you add or remove something. It's fantastic -- you really know what is on hand, have meals to hand and use the contents in a reasonable time frame. I wish I had done this years ago!

    I wrote about this at

    Cheers, Rose

  29. Your blog is such an amazing source of information !!! Thanks for taking the time to post !! I'm sure I'm not the only one who appreciates it !!

  30. That National Center for Food Preservation is marvellous, isn't it? I really enjoyed the course, and while I am canning things mostly, we are thinking of investing in a chest freezer. Our tiny British freezer on top of the fridge just isn't adequate to store food, particularly with all the garden produce.
    (Yes, we are still eating zucchinis/courgettes from lst year, as well as runner beans, and the blackberry crop). My hub says he will turn green with all the zucchini!

    Re: the Paula stuff. Best you can do is ignore people like that. They live in pain and feed on the pain of others. Nuff said.

    Thanks again for your wonderful blog, and I hope that your book proposal results in a great publishing deal for you.


    AM of the Bread.

  31. I was just thinking of a new freezer system. I would like to sort my chest freezer every fortnight or month and move the older things to the freezer compartment of my refrigerator to be the next used. Otherwise obscure little packets fall to the bottom and stay there.
    I found a good book in the op-shop with lots of information on freezing food and freezer-friendly recipes for everything from entrees to desserts. Now that the boys are back at school I can start to experiment.

    BTW, I have hesitated to comment on the "rant" and the reason for it. I too do not understand why people need to criticise in personal blogs. I don't agree with things sometimes that I read but don't feel the need to let the writer know my feelings. I can see why you were goaded into responding.

    As a person, you inspire many to reach their potential in life and living. Unfortunately, this makes you something of a public figure in the blogosphere and there are people who see it as some kind of civic duty to bring down public figures, tall poppy syndrome if you like(and I'm sure there are comments you never allow to be published).

    Keep up the good work Rhonda Jean. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that you won't please everyone all of the time. :-) There's an overwhelming amount of good in these pages - from practical advice to personal anecdotes- and the vast majority of us see that.

    Take care and enjoy your son's upcoming wedding.


  32. When I had the family at home I had a big chest freezer and when the stock was running low I filled the empty spaces with carrier bags stuffed with crumpled newspapers.

    It's a better idea to rinse out your milk jugs or milk boxes, fill them 85% full with water, and stash them in the freezer. As long as they stay there for at least a week, it's actually cheaper to run your deepfreeze than if you use crumpled newspaper.

    Deep freezes do a good job of keeping food frozen economically, a poor job of bringing room-temperature food to freezing. If you freeze the veggies you grow, or the chili you made for supper, you can pull that ice out of the freezer and use it to chill the new items to near-freezing before stashing them in the deep freeze.

    That improves quality. Toss a lot of warm food into the deep freeze, and it tends to thaw the food that's already there. In any case, slow freezing results it larger ice crystals, which turns the texture of food to mush. If food is quickly frozen, and stays frozen, you get small ice crystals and better food texture.

    I just about had to hold a gun on my wife to get a deep freeze. Six months later, she was trying to decide if we should have two of them - 25 cubic feet, she decided, wasn't enough for two people.

  33. Hi Rhonda, Thanks for this post, I had never heard about blanching veggies before and didn't realise that's what you could do to store veggies in the freezer. I'm off to do some research! Thanks again mate.

  34. We buy a split half of beef every year and that takes up a lot of our freezer space. I also make pesto in the summer months and freeze it in ice cube trays....then pop out and store in a freezer bag. Glad to know about storing the dry goods.

  35. Thanks for this Rhonda Jean. I've learnt quite a bit I didn't know about freezing, (stuff I really should and need to know). In fact I plead freezer ignorance, and just bung things in and hope for the best. Not the best of systems...hehe.

    Definitely bookmarking this post for future reference.

  36. As you know, Rhonda, I gave birth to a baby girl 3 weeks ago, and ever since, there has been a trickle of neighbours from our street, all of whom stopped by with homemade meals for the new Mom (bless them!). I have enough food to feed a small army now; wrapping and freezing it is an excellent idea to prevent spoil and waste.

  37. Rhonda, I enjoy your blog. Just wanted to let you know that I freeze in glass all the time without problems. I use my canning jars alot to freeze in. You just need to give them a little more head room. I also freeze in my glass pyrex, corning ware etc and have never had any break. Have a great day.

  38. I can't take credit for this, I read it on your colleague's blog Throwback at Trapper Creek & thought it was worth passing on. Here it is...when loading food into a freezer, especially a chest freezer (I have one myself), make sure that things like raw meat (particularly chicken) goes on the bottom so that there's no chance of it dripping/contaminating other foods, especially in the event of power outtage. If your freezer goes, you might be able to salvage fruit, veg, baked goods etc., but not if the chicken defrosts on top of it and leaks!
    Great blog, by the way. It's really changed the way I think.

  39. Aren't freezers wonderful? Last summer Jerry and I bought a new energy efficient chest variety - the old upright one we had was 30 year old and although it worked just fine, it was an energy hog. We raise our own beef and lamb so there's always that frozen. And Jerry is a hunter so there is venison, too. (I know that some people are abhorrent of hunting but I grew up in a family where hunting is a way of life. There is no "trophy" hunting in my family - there were many years in my youth when venison was the only meat we had.) My garden is not huge and mostly for fresh eating but I freeze my beans and my peppers. I'll also buy bushels of chiles, peppers, and beans to keep us going all winter. When my daughters come to visit they are welcome to help themselves from our freezer bounty. It makes me feel good - still - to "nourish" them in any way I can:) My leftovers usually go to the chickens who cluckingly expect them and I can't disappoint them, you know?

    What a marvelous next few months you'll all have with the Wedding preparations! We will enjoy the updates, Rhonda.

  40. Dear Rhonda,
    Thanks again for sharing your wisdom with your audience. I think freezing, drying and canning all have their benefits depending on what you are trying to do. We can jams, lots of applesauce, tomatoes and fruit; freeze berries and vegetables and dehydrate fruit and tomatoes. All the products are so welcome especially in the middle of a long cold winter like we are having now.

    Try not to get discouraged at the negative comments although I know it is hard not to. Most people are genuinely good, but sadly a few ruin it for the rest of us. When I was the owner/moderator of a yahoo group I actually had someone quit the group only to sign on again under an alias so she could be mean and nasty to the other members, then threaten me for banning her group priviledges.
    I am trying to learn that I can't change how people will act, but I can change how I react. That said I think that you have more than the right to reply and use the delete button as needed. elaine

  41. I once put 20lbs of raw potatoes into my deep freezer. They looked fine for a couple weeks and then they started turning dark and ended up black. I've not done that since. (I was experimenting with doing all the 'prep work' for cooked meals ahead of time, so I could just grab a bag of diced potatoes or minced onion etc when making dinner. I think the 'convenience' bags of such frozen veg in the stores must be flash-frozen or blanched or something.)

    We keep mostly meat in our freezer, though I do put flour in to freeze any bugs that might be lurking in the sack, and some garden veg that I run out of time to "deal with" in the fall. (Right now I have several gallons of green cherry tomatoes. I've been told I can make them into jam using raspberry Jello.)

    We don't generally have a problem with humidity in Montana, otherwise I'd consider keeping grains and beans and such in there as well. Oh, I do keep dehydrated foods in the freezer because I think it helps prolong the shelf life.

    Speaking of dehydrators, I found a used on at a yard sale and it works well, but it also uses a LOT of electricity. I'm looking into how to go about building a solar dehydrator (or purchasing one if that is less expensive / better quality than we can make).

  42. Excellent, a freezer post! I've never canned but we freeze a ton of things. We have the freezer in our kitchen refrigerator and a separate upright freezer (in the basement). Both are full of food.

    We freeze a lot of leftovers in single-serving plastic containers. This is especially handy for my daughter's lunch for daycare (she's 15 months), not to mention taking our lunches to work. Small leftover quantities from meals are a perfect size for her lunch, and she gets all kinds of healthy food: soups, stews, chilis, crock-pot meals, etc. The container goes from the freezer to her insulated lunchbox, and by lunchtime it has thawed enough to separate from the plastic container and be heated in a bowl.

    We also buy meat in bulk, portion it up, and freeze it in meal-size packets. Put it in the fridge one night and cook the next.

    Can you tell I love my freezer?

    Carolyn in Pennsylvania

  43. About the freezer... I was just wondering: How much space are you supposed to have around the freezer? I mean, aren't there fans and stuff? if the freezer is in a little nook, like in your photo, won't it overheat and have to work harder using more electricity? Is a chest freezer better than an stand-up freezer? You said the bottom freezes better than the top, so does that mean in a stand up freezer the top part would be better for short-term storage? or in this case, would the front be better? Sorry for all the Qs, but I'm looking to invest in a freezer, and I want to make sure I have good info: you can't always rely on the honesty of someone making the sale. ;+)

    Linda P, SE WI

  44. Linda, the freezer is fine where it is in that room, it's a bathroom and very cool. You shouldn't enclose a freezer, it does require breathing room but what you see here is fine.

    The middle of a chest freezer is the warmest part, the walls and bottom at the coldest. So when you pack your freezer, put those new items up against the walls, then rearrange it when everything is frozen.

    I have never had an upright freezer, I prefer a chest type, but I think they are probably both equally good at doing their job. The difference is in how you access them, the uprights have drawers that you can slide out. I think you can fit more in a chest freezer though.

  45. I have had had an upright freezer for years. I did read on another blog that the lady organized her chest freezer using those very big zip lock bags. She put all the little things in one bag so it can easily be brought out and things taken out of it...all ground beef in half or lb packs in one and such. If you have too much of a thing for one bag two can be used but lable one #1 and the other #2 with freezer poen so you know #1 is to be used first. The contents can be marked on the very top side of the bag too. In chest freezers little things get lost and you don't always have many baskets to sort things in. The problem with the upright ones is that things tend to fall out if not frozen completely flat...and how many meats etc can be frozen such ;)My freezer is 25 years old so I am thinking it is no doubt using too much electircity compared with the newer ones. That is the problem too with buyig a used out how much energy usage that model uses. Great post Rhonda. Jody

  46. We've just been recently looking at our freezer use and what we need to do to make it more efficient.

    Thanks for the tips.


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