50 - Freezer Organization & Care ✨

  
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Today’s lesson is 509 words, a 2 min 2 sec reading time. It is the third lesson of How to Hack Your Freezer.

📍 Introduction: 

Like a warehouse, a freezer must be packed, managed, & looked after. An organized freezer can help you: 

  • Find items faster 

  • Optimize storage space  

  • Save energy costs 

  • Avoid wasting food 

📝 Notes, Tips & Tricks: 

Packing: 

  • Group items by category (e.g., meat, veggies) for faster retrieval later. 

  • Prioritize space for high leverage items (e.g., leftovers, meal prep); limit bulky items (e.g., frozen pizzas); remove items from their boxes (almost all are wrapped in plastic inside) 

  • Stack items where possible. If room, use storage bins or shelves.

  • Portion large items into single or double-sized containers/bags. Smaller items have faster thaw times. Portioning also safeguards against having to refreeze or quickly use up leftovers. (Examples: lasagna, rotisserie chicken, soup, tomato sauce, value-pack of chicken parts)

  • Freeze liquids flat (e.g., in a reusable zip bag); this enables stacking or storing upright. 

  • Label contents with item name & date of freezing. A sharpie & painter's tape work well.  

  • Store miscellaneous odds & ends (e.g., parmesan rinds, a bag of breadcrumbs) inside a see-through container or bag; place within easy reach.

  • Adjust the shelves in your freezer or remove & replace them with bins; make the space work for you. 😀

Inventory Management:

  • Regularly clean out & take stock of your freezer (e.g., monthly). Throw out expired items. Find items to use up. 

  • Defrost mystery items. They are taking up valuable space. 

  • When drafting a grocery list, check the freezer for prime defrost candidates.  

  • Keep the freezer "full-ish." Freezers work by cooling warm air, which rushes in every time the door opens. A fuller fridge has less room for warm air and thus maintains its temperature better & requires less energy to keep cool.

  • Don't overstuff. The freezer needs airflow to control temperature & moisture levels.  

Freezer Care: 

  • Clean the Gasket: If your items are not freezing as fast as they used to or developing ice crystals, the gasket (aka the rubber seal) on the door may be mildewed or clogged. Clean it gently with a mixture of warm water and either baking soda, vinegar, or soap. Learn more here, or here

  • Defrost/De-ice: Defrost your freezer when necessary to free up space, keep temperatures regular, & reduce energy waste. Learn more here.   

  • Power Outage: Keep the door shut. Food will typically be safe for about two days if the freezer is full, or 24 hrs if half empty. When the power comes back on, food is safe if it's partially frozen, has ice crystals, or is "refrigerator cold" (~ 40 degrees).

  • Cleaning: A deep clean requires shutting the freezer off & unloading everything. To avoid this task, spot clean as necessary. For crumbs & bits, a vacuum works well. For small spills, a warm soapy sponge or cloth does the trick.   

🎓 Further Study

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