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Thursday, September 23

I’ve officially hit COOL status…I’ve got a stand-alone freezer.

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What is that white box standing in my garage?

Oooo…it has a door on top. What could be in there?

Frozen food? Say it ain’t so!

Yup, we went to Sears and bought a stand-alone freezer last weekend. And I couldn’t be happier.

We all know I like to freeze stuff. Cookie dough, vegetables, wine, jam…and this article about freezing food by Mark Bittman might be one of my most favorite New York Times articles ever. So the fact that I now actually have room to freeze all this stuff makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I know, ironic.

Now that I have 5 cubic feet to freeze things, what should I be freezing? Obviously I already have oodles of ideas. And I’m even thinking of going in on a cow next year. Yes, a cow. A local friend of mine purchased a cow with some other friends and when it was butchered, they split the cuts of meat. Now I can actually do something crazy like that!

You know how much I love hearing from you. Please share your favorite foods and tips for freezing!

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36 Comments »

  1. Our freezer is EMPTY! We lost power over the summer for a couple of days while we were on vacation and had to clean it out. I’ve been cooking fresh, fresh, fresh lately, so have very little in the freezer. But…I find myself without backup quite a bit (meals, that is), so I really want to fill this baby up! Looking for ideas myself. Congrats on the fun purchase :)

  2. 2
    Nicole

    My mom used to keep a half a cow in ours, plus lots of pies and cookies, yum. We once had the meat stolen, seriously. Clearly a neighborhood job. I’ve had one for a while (great for breast milk :) but sadly my husband forgets it’s there when I keep frozen dinners like lasagne in there. Yours seems awfully tall, don’t fall in :)

  3. 4
    andrea p

    We dice and freeze the bell peppers from our garden. Currently I also have fresh blueberries and strawberries in my freezer. We learned this summer that it’s much easier to squish raspberries or blackberries for jam if you freeze them and then thaw them first, they seemed to give off more juice too.

    I might have also purchased 6 packages of wholly guac pico de gallo style when they were clearing them our for $1 each at my grocery store and tossed those into my deep freeze. It feels good to be able to have the room to indulge like that.

  4. 7
    Nevadamtnbear

    Okay, we have two stand alone freezers and are in the market for one more. Right now, one freezer has nearly twenty whole chickens (we raised our own meat chickens – that has been an interesting experience), I’m not certain how many different roasts, etc. The other freezer has misc. other items – frozen Lean Cuisine to take to work for lunch, corn dogs, etc.

    I actually feel like they look a bit bare, but we moved a couple months ago and had spent the months leading up to the move trying to get the contents of the two freezers down to fit into the one small one for the move (the second freezer is HUGE and was in the basement and hubby didn’t want to haul a full freezer out).

    But, we ultimately, they’ll both be full and if we get a deer/elk/antelope/sheep tag next year, combined with the lamb and steer we’re going to raise, we’ll definitely be needing at least one more.

    We’re a bit obsessive about food storage (not for religious or paranoia reasons – but we just look at it as a “savings” plan if something were to happen to either of us and we couldn’t work for a period of time). We can, freeze, smoke, dehydrate, and preserve as much as we can. I can’t wait for my kitchen remodel (in progress) to have our new wood cook stove and the grain mill out!

  5. 8
    Jane Maynard

    love all the comments.

    especially nevadamtnbear…your comment completely brought me into your world, and it was a fun trip! :) love it!

  6. Congratulations! I LOVE my stand alone freezer. So much so, I couldn’t handle it being in the basement and had my husband put it in my tiny kitchen. Now my fridge and freezer are “looking” at each other from opposite corners. I love the convenience of having it right there!

    I have labeled bins in the freezer (veggies, fruits, fish, meat) and can quickly grab anything I want. This summer I loaded up on fresh organic blueberries when they were in season. I also portion out lunches for my hubby when I’m putting away left-overs. He just reaches in the freezer each morning for lunch left-overs. My daughter likes to grab the frozen muffins, apple bars, and, of course, cookie dough and ice cream!

  7. 10
    Kidkopf

    Wow! That’s cool. (hee hee!) I love the size of this one. I have thought I would do well to have one of these in the past but never actually went shopping for one. I could definitely fit that in my garage, also. :) Yeah for you!

  8. I love, love, love, love my extra freezer. Did I say love yet? ok, one more time, LOVE our freezer!

    I’m a big Costco shopper so I buy tons of different meats in bulk, divide them up, sometimes adding marinades, then food saver and freeze them up. The marinaded ones are great, like tri tips, b/c I can pull something out in the AM to defrost and it marinades all day without lifting a single finger, or messing up one dish…when hubs gets home he takes it all to grill outside. I think I’ll say it again, LOVE my freezer, congrats!!

  9. 12
    Jane Maynard

    kidkopf – ha! I have to tell you – this smaller one is perfect for a garage and for someone who doesn’t have any space (like me)…but it will hold a LOT.

    shanna – you are the freezer queen! curious – what kind of bins do you use? thanks!

  10. 13
    Jane Maynard

    wait, shanna, do you love it? hee hee – great tips btw!! :)

  11. We got ours at Sams Club!! We didn’t last very long without one, since JJ’s grandpa owns a cattle ranch. We get way too much meat to store in the freezer in the kitchen. I wish there was a better way to organize it though… I hate having stuff underneath stuff that I can’t see so I have to lift out a bunch of food to get to the food underneath. The two little baskets it comes with just aren’t enough. Let me know if you have any thoughts as you get to know and start organizing your new freezer!!

  12. 15
    Jane Maynard

    commenter renee mentioned that she uses labeled bins…I’m going to bug her to find out what she uses! :)

  13. You need to freeze these: Oatmeal Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies I have them in the freezer right now. NOM NOM!

  14. 17
    christy

    I freeze all kinds of things that I buy on sale in large quantities: cheese (block or shredded), butter and/or margarine, guac, yeast, wheat flour and sometimes milk! Plus the stuff I come up with like cookie dough, leftover sauces and soups, bread, meat in bags with the marinate ready to go, etc. My extra freezer is an interesting place, to say the least, but I don’t know how I ever lived without it! I’ve also heard you can break eggs into ice cube trays and freeze them, but I haven’t tried that one yet. :)

  15. 18
    Patty

    We bought freezer beef last year, and have been so pleased!!!!! Organic beef, grass fed, hormone free goodness at our fingertips. Ours has been so lower in fat that what we ever can get in the store, and oh so tasty. I’m never going back.

    Not only that, but I am afforded the extra space to freeze all the things you mentioned, leftover fruits and veggies before they go bad languishing in my crisper drawers, as well as an extra lasagna or loaf of zuchinni bread. Good stuff!

  16. 19
    Nevadamtnbear

    Another way to use your freezer – we shop 1x a month (pick up fresh veggies along the way). And, I menu plan for the entire month. So, I’ll Food Saver a portion of meat for a particular meal, and on the bag I’ll write the meal/recipe name, cookbook and page no. That way when I’m looking for the 1 lb. top sirloin for the “Open Faced Garlicy Beef Sandwiches” I can grab the particular meat I purchased for that recipe. And, I’m not hunting questioning each freezer package.

    We have upright freezers, and we have purchased metal baskets (got them years ago from K-Mart Martha Stewart Collection) that we store like items. Chicken breasts together, ground beef together, pork chops together, etc. Makes it easier to find items.

    Oooh, and with ground beef, we freeze in 1 lb. portions and after they are vacuum sealed, we squish them FLAT. This does a few things: first, it makes it easier to stack and store; second, they freeze faster; third, they defrost faster (we defrost in a sink of cold water and it’s amazing how fast it will thaw).

  17. 20
    Jane Maynard

    you are AMAZING. can you come live with me?

  18. 21
    adrianne

    everyone gave great tips already…. i dont know what else to write, EXCEPT now you can keep your cuisnart icecream bowl in there all the time. it’s always ready for frozen yogurt. enough said.

  19. 22
    Jane Maynard

    ADRIANNE! I am SO GLAD you said that! I totally didn’t think of that. and I have TWO ice cream bowls….I’m putting them in now!!!!

  20. I shred both cheese and cut onions up and freeze them in individual ziploc baggies. They freeze so well and are a cinch to whip out for dinner ingredients when you need them.

    BAM!

  21. Jane- Just for you, I took pics of my freezers. One’s organized with bins. One’s not. The post will run tomorrow! If you buy bins, try to avoid ones with holes in the sides and bottoms (like a lot of metal ones); fingers and foods can easily get stuck in them. -Renee

  22. 25
    Karen

    We freeze (frozen berries, peppers)and can(tomato sauce, pickles and jam)bounty from the garden. Freeze meats bought at the downtown market (local lamb, beef, chicken.) I often bake large amounts and freeze. I try to always keep at least one homemade pizza crust on had. And whenever I make chicken pot pie, enchiladas, soup, cavatini, and lasagna I make two pans, and put one in the freezer. There is a meal for us, or a meal that can be brought to a friend in need (where they can pot it in their own freezer or use it right away.) Always label with instructions.

  23. 26
    Jessica

    I just wrote this post revisiting my favorite freezable pancake recipe. I also like to freeze beef stew, bolognese sauce, turkey burgers, cookie dough, and pesto.

  24. 27
    Jessica

    Oh, and little meatloaves that make a single dinner for my husband and I.

  25. Wow so many great tips in these comments!! Ok Jane, you asked about the bins, and I LOVE these too (hee, hee!) I use them everywhere in my house and they are great in that second freezer too…

    http://www.containerstore.com/shop/storage/openBinsBaskets/plastic?productId=10022942

    Have a great weekend! Looking forward to seeing you in SF soon!

  26. 29
    roxanne

    I keep these little things from heaven in my freezer for an unexpected craving or for whatever reason!

    http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/09/single-serving-pie-in-jar.html

  27. 30
    Lindsay

    if you ever want to venture into making homemade stock, i think good stock has made a really noticeable difference in my cooking (for soups, sauces, any recipe that calls for broth or stock). if i had a big old freezer, i’d fill it with that. if you’re going to the effort of making it, a big batch is all the more worth your time. plus, it’s one of those things where freezing and thawing doesn’t sacrifice any texture.

  28. Lots of good ideas.
    A couple of things that I like to do…I put raspberries right out of the basket onto a big cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. When they’re frozen, I put them in a labeled, freezer ZipLoc bag. Strawberries get tops off and cut; pineapple, cut up; mango, bananas, etc the same. When you freeze them first, they don’t get into a big lump and you can take out as much or little as you want. This is great for fruit smoothies.

    Another thing I do is freeze fresh baked cookies. They’re not hot out of the oven, but when the boys need cookies for a party or fireside, they are all ready to go. The whole family loves frozen cookies anyway and then I don’t have to always be baking. Just make sure they are cooled before frozen or they might stick together.

  29. 32
    Marie

    I’m SOOOOO jealous! I want one so bad!! Congrats!

  30. 33
    Greg

    Get a Foodsaver. It will vacuum pack your foods so that they will last much longer than any other method. Some of the things I freeze: Costco prime rib roasts that I cut into individual steaks, bulk shrimp that I portion then freeze, homemade stocks in Bell jars, various nuts bought in bulk.

  31. 34
    Jane Maynard

    oh what a great idea! I honestly hadn’t even thought of it, but I think I might just have to do it! thanks, greg!

  32. 35
    Kim

    We bought one this last spring because of getting a cow–or, part of a cow. I think its about the same size, and what I couldn’t believe is that 1/4 of a cow doesn’t come CLOSE to filling it up. So, since they run best when full, until I have enough food to keep it full, we put gallons of water in it. Now, we have some water stored for emergencies, and I always have a frozen jug to throw in a cooler, which was a life saver all summer with our dinners at the pool.

  33. 36
    Jane Maynard

    kim, what a great tip! thank you! and good to know 1/4 of a cow doesn’t fill it up…that’s super helpful info! thanks!!

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