Give your freezer a cool new look this summer. A well-kept freezer is handy for your weekly lunches, dinners, snacks and everything in between. Use the following tips when organizing your freezer to keep it in tiptop shape and ready for anything: like back-to-school season!
Know what to freeze
The first step on how to organize your freezer is to know what type of food is actually supposed to go in there. Unfortunately, not all foods were meant to be frozen — for that reason keep unfrozen all raw and hard boiled eggs; vegetables and fruits with a high water content such as lettuce, cucumbers, watermelon, oranges; soft herbs; and most dairy products (except, of course, ice cream).
On the other hand, some products that can be frozen include butter and margarine, soups, stews, chilis, homemade pancakes, waffles, French toast, pies and other baked goods, meats and tomatoes.
You’re going to do a lot of condensing, so you’ll want to assemble a few tools before reorganizing your freezer. These include a large trash bag, plastic freezer bags and red freezer tape, freezer labels, a permanent marker, and plastic baskets with handles and squared-shaped storage containers — they’re more space friendly than rounded containers. Also, make sure that the containers and bags you’ll be using to store your food are proportionate to the size of the leftovers. Minimizing the amount of air inside them will also minimize freezer burn.
Now to the cleaning part: the first thing you’re going to want to do is be ruthless when taking inventory. Toss out anything you know has been in there a long time or what looks questionable or too old. Once you’ve done some tossing and have cleared up your freezer a bit, begin to clean the walls, racks, and containers — make sure to use hot soapy water or a baking soda solution to get the toughest stains out.
Mark bags and containers
You’ve emptied your freezer and now it’s time to refill it. As you get in the flow of storing leftovers again be sure to take a few extra moments to place them in container and bags, and begin marking them with dates, number of servings, who likes or dislikes certain foods, and any special flavorings or hot spices.
Throw out boxes
If your freezer is small, discard food of boxes and store items in bags to save space—don’t forget to label!
Remember to also rotate older foods in the freezer as you put new ones in. That way the oldest items get eaten first.
In case of emergencies
If you notice your freezer still has a few pockets of space available, fill these spaces with ice packs and water bottles. A freezer that is fuller will actually use less energy since less air will be circulating and the temperature will stay the same longer. And in case of a power outage, the ice packs will buy you more time to keep your food safe until electricity is restored.