I use my freezer for all kinds of things. Meal prepping, avoiding food waste – you name it. However it doesn’t take much for it to get a little out of control, so today I thought I would try and help! Try these tips for getting the most out of your freezer – and I’d love to hear yours too!
Keep a list and use labels
We all have had times where we find things at the back of the freezer and we’re not sure how long it’s been there, or maybe even what it is. Avoid this by keeping an updated list of items in your freezer, with dates, and use the oldest items first. Match this with clear labels (including what it is and when you froze it) so you don’t accidentally defrost a soup when you needed some pasta sauce!
Prioritise the most valuable items
Freezer space can be at a premium, so don’t waste it with lower value items. Containers of meals are super valuable, whereas food scraps waiting to be turned in to stock can take up space without being super helpful. Instead, make the stock and return to the freezer which is both more helpful and takes up less space!
Choose the best containers
One of the key tips for getting the most out of your freezer is using the right containers. This means ensuring you don’t use containers that are too large for what you are freezing, or can’t easily be stacked. For things like fruit, freeze in a single layer on a tray and then transfer in to a smaller container to conserve space. Ziplock bags are often seen as a useful way to get more in your freezer, but I use the silicone alternatives like these ones and these ones. Make sure you freeze as much air out as possible before freezing too.
Freeze in useable portions
Part of the reason things languish in our freezers is because we don’t think before we freeze things. A family sized portion of bolognese sauce isn’t helpful if you need a quick dinner for one, nor is necessarily a whole cake. Break things in to to portions before freezing and you’ll find yourself using them much more easily.
Keep it running efficiently
Your freezer needs to be treated properly to ensure it can run properly, and keep your food in top condition. One of the most important is to always cool your food down before you pop it in the freezer. If it goes in while still hot then you not only risk freezer burn, but your freezer will have to work twice as hard to regulate the temperature. You also don’t want to go from having nothing in your freezer to packing it full. Ideally, keep your freezer around 70% full to enable it to circulate air and work effectively. Keep an eye on the freezer seals too, and replace as needed.
Make use of your ice cube tray
Using your ice cube tray is an excellent way to freeze individual portions of a whole host of items. This is helpful to avoid food waste and you can then transfer them in to a suitable container to cut down on the space required as well. I freeze things like serves of pesto, herbs in oil, wine for sauces and the like. In fact, I did a whole post on it a while ago!
Organise your space
One of the ways to help your freezer run at its best is to avoid having it open for too long. A key way to help avoid this is to ensure your freezer is well organised. This could mean setting up ‘zones’ within your freezer for different types of items, or making it clear on your list where things are located. Having easily stacked containers or reusable bags helps too, everything can be put away neatly and quickly.
Find the best way to freeze different foods
Whilst you can freeze basically everything, some things freeze better than others, and in different ways. When you’re thinking about popping something in your freezer, do some quick research to determine the best way to go about it first. For example, lots of raw veggies go a bit soggy when frozen and defrosted – which might be fine if they are going in a soup, but not great if you want to use them in other ways. Quickly blanch them first and then they’ll be more versatile when you defrost them. You also need to be aware of how long it is safe to freeze different foods – everything from meats to cookie dough have their own timeframes, so mark this on your list as well.