Monday, July 11, 2011

6 Things You'll Always Find in my Freezer

Photo Credit
A couple weeks ago I told you the basics you can always find in my pantry. I promised a list of what's in my freezer too, so here it is! :)

1. Meat
We buy our meat in bulk, so you'll always find some form of meat to turn into dinner in a hurry! :)
This year I spent $78 on 40lbs. of chicken breast and another $125 on the meat processing fees for a deer a friend hunted for us this fall. So for about $200 we have approximately a year's worth of meat stored and ready in the freezer. (At the rate we're going, it may be even longer then that). We have all varieties of choices. Just to give you an idea, we have the chicken, 2-3 kinds of sausages, roasts, steaks, and hamburger. Then, I also bought a ham on sale during the holiday season and prepared it for meals and for lunchmeat. I did the same with a turkey we got for free from my husband's employer the week of Thanksgiving.

2. Milk
Yes, I know. Forget everything anyone ever told you about it being impossible to freeze milk, it's NOT true. There are few tricks to it though. 1. You MUST empty some of the milk before you freeze it. If you do not, then your milk will explode and you'll get the lovely job of cleaning out your entire freezer, wasting your time and your money on the milk you'll need to replace. 2. You have to completely, seriously, totally and completely thaw your milk before drinking any of it. It does separate will freezing, which leads me to number 3. You have to shake it back up after it's thawed to mix it back together (which is why you need to have it all thawed to mix it properly). If you do it correctly, it's very convenient to have an extra gallon or two in the freezer. It's there to keep you from having those "emergency" trips to the store late at night for milk for breakfast that turns into a full on grocery shop and you leave with a cart full of groceries you didn't need to buy! See, this is about SAVING you money and a hassle! ;)

3. Bread
Again, it's there to keep you out of the store. If you have a few extra loafs of bread in the freezer you don't have to go to the store each week for bread. Bread should also be fully thawed before you eat any of it, but it'll thaw just fine and tastes great. 

4. Quick meals 
I have several meals that I've prepared and frozen in the freezer for a quick dinner fix after a day that just hasn't worked well for a full on cooked dinner. I keep a lot of soups, and dishes like lasagna and a couple of frozen pizzas to keep us from resorting to, "let's just go out to eat." I also have meals that can be fixed really quickly and don't require thawing like raviolis, meatballs, fish sticks/chicken nuggets, that sort of thing. 

5. Shredded & String Cheese
Shredded is the one exception I make for freezing cheese that I plan to put in a meal. I know there are some cheeses that freeze well, but I'm not sure what they all are.  I just keep a few varieties of cheese in the freezer that are shredded and ready to add to a meal. Since they are melted (usually) on a dish, the texture change isn't a factor. It keeps my prep and cooking time lower and also ensures I have things to turn into a meal on hand. 

I also freeze string cheese because they are a great snack to have on hand, but we don't eat them quick enough (I buy the largest bag, it's the cheapest per unit) before they go bad. Since they come individually wrapped, I'll just thaw the number I need for the next few days and leave the rest in the freezer until we need them again. 

6. Frozen veggies
If you read this post or this one, then you know all about me any my frozen veggies! ;) I like to stock up through the summer on all kinds of fresh, great produce to use throughout the winter months when produce prices are higher. It's so convenient and cost effective to have a freezer loaded with summer! ;) And, because I love you all so much, I want to share this amazing find with you too. It's the perfect resource for knowing what to freeze from this summer's produce. (I freeze some of the things they say not to bother with, but I'm okay with that, it's working for me!)

What To Freeze

Here’s our handy guide to what does (and doesn’t) freeze well:
FoodFreezeDon’t FreezeMaybe FreezeNotes
ApricotsXGood taste, slight change in texture
CantaloupeXMaking melon balls can be work intensive
HoneydewXMaking melon balls can be work intensive
MangoesXCube to use in smoothies; otherwise try using in salsa or preserving by drying
PeachesXGood taste, slight change in texture
PlumsXGood taste, slight change in texture
RhubarbXPlan to cook with it (like in pie)
Sour CherriesXPlan to cook with them (like in pie)
OrangesXMushy, and citrus lasts long anyway
GrapefruitXMushy, and citrus lasts long anyway
LemonsXMushy, and citrus lasts long anyway
LimesXMushy, and citrus lasts long anyway
TomatoesXHold off unless part of sauce or dish
HerbsXTry freezing into ice cubes!
Sweet PeasX
Sugar Snap PeasX
Wax BeansX
AsparagusXA bit soggy, but will taste good in soup
BroccoliXGood, but similar to store-bought
CauliflowerXGood, but similar to store-bought
Green BeansXGood, but similar to store-bought
SpinachXGood, but similar to store-bought
BeetsXNot great for freezing; last long anyway
CabbageXSoggy and useless; don’t bother
CarrotsXNot great for freezing; last long anyway
CeleryXGets limp and gross; don’t bother
CucumbersXToo weird and mushy; don’t bother
EggplantXCook into a dish and then freeze
OnionsXLast long anyway, not worth it
LettuceXMeant to be eaten fresh; don’t bother
PotatoesXNot great for freezing; last long anyway
RadishesXNot great for freezing; last long anyway
Summer SquashXCook into a dish and then freeze
ZucchiniXCook into a dish and then freeze

This handy chart came from LearnVest

Yes, you can all thank me now (by leaving a totally awesome comment), because this chart has the potential to save you bunches of money this winter at the grocery store. You're SO welcome! :) 

What's in your freezer?


  1. Hey there! New follower from the design it chic blog hop! I always have a full freezer too! As a family on a budget I don't think you can live without a lot of the things you listed!
    Love your blog can't wait to see more!

  2. I love your list of things to keep in the freezer - I'm totally going to start stocking up on some of those things! I love your blog :)


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