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Old 05-05-2009, 10:22 PM   #1
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Question got a freezer...now what? Lots of ?'s

I just bought a house and there is a upright freezer in the basement. I was told it works but still need to make sure. But once we know it works I don't know where to start to use it. I have lots of questions about having a freezer.

TIA for any help/advice

- I read that for the freezer to run efficiently it needs to be full so I should put gallons of water in it with food while getting started until I get it well stocked and even then keep a few in there to take up empty space. True?

- Can I keep anything frozen in this freezer? Meats, casseroles/prepared meals, breads, stock, popsicles? Anything I would normally keep in my regular freezer than I get the chance to stock up on.

- What kind of dishes/freezer bags can be used in this freezer? is glass ok? Plastic/freezer bags/ regular zip-lock bags?

- How long can I keep food frozen in there before it goes bad? Is there a link for this info, maybe a chart of some kind?

- How do I stock a freezer like this? It is pretty big and we dont eat processed frozen foods. I don't know where to start. It is a bit overwhelming.

That is it for now. Any tips, advice is welcome and greatly appreciated.

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Old 05-06-2009, 12:52 AM   #2
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Re: got a freezer...now what? Lots of ?'s

I would put a few jugs of water in there if it's pretty empty.

Glass is ok but leave lots of headroom or the jar will crack. I use whatever ziplocks I have, but the regular ones don't keep food as long before it gets frosty. I would love to have some of those square shaped tupperware containers like my mom had when I was a kid, because keeping track of frozen food in bags in a big freezer is kind of like stepping into a booby trap every time you open the door, lol.

Yes, most food has a time limit on freezing, but as far as I can tell it's usually given for when the food won't be "best quality" anymore. After that you can expect things like freezer burn and flavor loss.

If you don't eat processed foods, you are the best candidate ever to fill up a nice big freezer!! A half or quarter of good grass-fed beef will give you a good start.

Cook to feed the freezer. Double up (or even triple) on recipes that freeze well, it doesn't take much more effort to cook 3x the amount of something you're going to make for dinner. Put a couple of meal's worth in the freezer, once or twice a week. Make sure to date them so you use the oldest first.

Make big batches of things like enchilada sauce, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, broth, navy beans, lentils, cooked rice. Freeze meal-size portions and you'll be able to make a meal that normally takes an hour in half the time. Other things to freeze for convenience are muffins, quick breads, pancakes, waffles, french toast, cookie dough. Buy bananas on sale and put them in there whole, when they get ripe. Use them for smoothies and popsicles this summer.

Check out the farmer's market this summer, you can ask if vendors will give you better deals if you buy a whole flat of produce - bring it home to prepare & freeze. Most Ball canning books have all the info on freezing different types of produce.
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:44 AM   #3
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Re: got a freezer...now what? Lots of ?'s

thanks!

Maybe it would be good to ask...Is there anything that does not freeze or re-heat well from frozen? Liked cooked rice & pasta, do they get mushy? Is dairy ok (cheeses, butter, etc...)

I think until I get going this is still going to really intimidate me. This freezer is so huge I cant imagine making much of a dent in it without living in my kitchen I know it wont get stocked overnight but I seems like a huge task. I want to try it because I think it will save us money on groceries and I would love to be able to pull a ready to go meal out on those busy days instead of getting take out.

So, do I just plug it in and see if it gets cold, maybe start with the water jugs and see how they freeze to make sure it works ok?

Thanks again for the tips. I am excited
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