Freezer Storage Tips

As we continue our goal to gather a 3-Month Supply of non-perishable foods, we also want to keep our freezers stocked. Today’s post is about tips on storing foods in the freezer:
  1. Freezer foods are good for 1 to 2 days in the event of a power outage. This depends on how full your freezer is. What To Do if the Freezer Stops?
  2. Plan ahead. Know the closest location you can purchase dry ice in case your freezer stops. “A 50-pound cake of dry ice is enough to protect solidly frozen food in a full 20-cubic foot freezer for three to four days. A 25-pound cake should hold the temperature of a half- full, 10-cubic foot freezer below freezing for two to three days.” University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service
  3. The freezer should be set for 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If a power outage is anticipated, lower the freezer a few more degrees.
  4. Keep a freezer thermometer inside to be sure your freezer is functioning properly. If the freezer can’t keep ice cream brick-solid, the temperature is above the recommended level.
  5. It’s important to store items in freezer containers, freezer bags or freezer wrap. Do not use plain old sandwich bags.
  6. Label food packages with an expiration date. Here is a Refrigerator and Freezer Food Storage Chart. Copy and hang on the side of your freezer, or in a kitchen cupboard.
  7. Freeze food in portion sizes for your family. During a power outage, you can quickly grab portioned food. This also helps items defrost more quickly for regular use. The picture above shows how I divide a large package of ground beef. I have a box of plastic food service gloves which is very helpful when touching meat. I cut the meat into approximately 1 lb. chunks, and put them in a freezer bag. Then I place the bag on my scale (mine is a postal scale), and then add a bit more or less. I close the pack as tight as I can leaving a tiny amount of air space for expansion. Then I flatten the ground beef into a flat square, and freeze flat. After it is frozen, I stand them up in a box so the freezer shelf space is used more efficiently. I still need to put the expiration date on, but you get the idea.
  8. Leave a little room (1/2 inch) for expansion in your containers; however too much air leads to freezer burn.
  9. Freeze produce in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Then transfer portioned amounts into freezer bags.
  10. Make your trip to the grocery store your LAST errand. Purchase freezer foods last at the grocery store, and put them away first when you get home.
  11. Keep your freezer fully stocked to help it run more efficiently. If you can’t fill it up, put water in plastic jugs, and freeze them to fill empty spaces.
  12. Cool hot food to room temperature before freezing.
  13. Thaw foods in the refrigerator, or a sink full of cool water. Not on the kitchen counter.
  14. Don’t pack your freezer so tight that air can’t circulate.
  15. Organize foods into food groups.
  16. Place newer purchases in the back, oldest in the front.
  17. Use cardboard boxes to divide food into areas. Measure the length, width and height of shelves. Go to the grocery store early in the morning for best selection of free used boxes.

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