If you're like me and desperately need help with kitchen organizing, not just with your freezer but your life, then this post is for you! I'm happy to share some valuable points and my experience of getting things in order with my friend, Felicia Toler, The Organizing Guru. We'll be diving into some freezer food facts along with helpful tips on keeping order in the deep freeze. Brrr!
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It's a simple process to understand. Freezing food at 0° F (or lower) stops the growth of bacteria. People have been preserving food this way since the 1940s when the first freezers, or "deep freeze," appeared. Before then, preservation came by canning, drying, fermenting, smoking, and storing in root cellars or cold pantries.
I'm thankful today we don't have to work so hard to keep our food. I can't imagine life without my freezer. It's the unsung hero of a working machine always standing at attention keeping our food safe.
Though my freezer is a good steward, I haven't been doing such a hot job of getting optimal use from it. You see . . . I'm a stuffer. Yes, I stuff things in my freezer without any thought of how I'll find it when I need it. That's how food often gets wasted or over-bought from the store. Have you noticed how things have a way of getting lost in the deep freeze?
So when I first heard about my friend starting an organizing business, I thought that she could help me out of my messy dilemma.
Introducing The Organizing Guru
This is Felicia Toler, also known as the Organizing Guru. She is gifted in making order out of chaos while enjoying building a business around it. After seeing her ad on Instagram, I asked if she'd be a guest (first guest ever!) on Louisiana Woman Blog while doing her guru-ing on my freezer. She kindly agreed to the task.
As I recently watched her take control of my jumbled-up mess, I was amazed at how quickly she knew precisely what to do. I asked her if her brain always works that way, compartmentalizing everything. She said, "Yes!" And it shows.
Everything Has A Place And Everything In Its Place
First, she put on gloves to protect her hands from getting cold (clever!). Then in a matter of minutes, she had all of the sweet items on the top shelf. They were arranged away from the freezer's vent for good circulation. Then she placed all of the bread items on the second shelf. I had several leftover dishes (I freeze leftovers all the time), and she spread them out for easy access at eye level on the third shelf.
Next, she separated the meats putting them in the available freezer basket drawers. I had a few plastic bins that she used; two for seafood and one for breakfast meats giving them a home for easy locating.
In the freezer door, she arranged things like rice, bagged ice, and nuts. I have a freezer drawer in my refrigerator where fruits, vegetables, and pizza fit nicely. They are in a place so that when I'm making a grocery list, I can open the drawer or door and quickly spy out what's needed.
In less than an hour, her job was done, and I was thrilled. It was fun! I did help out by wiping the shelves, and of course, we chatted the whole time. Now I'm ready for her to tackle the pantry.
This is how she works. At your request for her services, she comes into your home, takes whatever needs organizing, and quickly turns it into order. There is no judging, reprimanding, and sharing your business with others; just friendly, helpful restructuring and categorizing. You can find her at The Organizing Guru on Facebook and @theorganizingguru on Instagram.
Now let me share some food storing info with you.
Containers For Freezing Foods In Kitchen Organizing
Before storing foods in the freezer, it's essential to know that extracting as much air as possible is needed. Plastic bags make it easy to push out the air before zipping or twisting them up. The bags also stack better for space-saving storage.
Liquids keep well in plastic bags. Lay them flat in the freezer until they are frozen, then move them to their designated spot for better space-saving storage.
You can purchase plastic storage containers anywhere. They are trendy and made to keep the air out. Using a leftover store-bought food bowl is a good idea as long as the lid seals properly. Sometimes I'll tape up or wrap the bowl in cellophane or foil to secure the cover.
You can also use glass containers. Be sure they are made for freezing. Glass jars with screw-on lids are great as long as they are for canning. These are thick enough to withstand the cold without breaking.
If you can't find something to adequately hold your food, try wrapping them in cellophane and/or aluminum foil. A large ham bone is an excellent example of this method.
Try using some sturdy plastic bins; they fit well and keep order on freezer shelves. You can find inexpensive ones in dollar stores or on the internet.
Placing And Labeling
If you want your foods to freeze quicker, consider placing them on the freezer floor or near the walls. That's the coldest part of the deep freeze.
Also, keep in mind that it's important to place new food items to the back or bottom of the shelf or bin when storing them. This way, you are using up the older frozen food items first.
And don't forget to label and date E V E R Y T H I N G. You don't want the good stuff to be wasted because it was unrecognizable or used too late. When food is kept at 0 ° F or colder, it will not spoil, but it could discolor and lose its flavor.
Taking Care Of Your Freezer
First things first, keep it clean, inside and out. Inspect it often to see if there is any frost build-up. An icy freezer keeps your machine from performing its best and takes up space. The easiest way to defrost is to use a hot towel, and I've sometimes used a fan or blow dryer to melt some thick ice. Also, keep the coils clean from dirt by vacuuming them periodically. The build-up of dirt can damage your appliance and cause it to not work efficiently.
A good idea is to keep your freezer full. The more frozen items in there, the colder the freezer, causing the appliance not to run as much. It's also wise to have an extra supply in an emergency like a pandemic or power outage. And if you do lose electricity, the full freezer should keep food safe for approximately 48 hours as long as the door stays closed.
Another helpful tip is to make sure your food is at room temperature before freezing. This aids in keeping the rest of the food at a safe temperature and the freezer from over-working. So does making sure the door stays closed as much as possible when loading and unloading items.
Foods For The Freezer
Did you know you can freeze milk up to 3 months before its expiration date? Yes, you should pour it into a different container that's airtight, leaving a small space at the top for expansion; liquids have a way of expanding when frozen. Defrost it in the refrigerator and shake it up before serving. Don't keep it past 7 days after defrosting.
Other items to freeze besides what's in your grocer's frozen food section:
- Leftovers, just about anything.
- Extra sale items bought at the grocery store for later use.
- Fruits and vegetables that are in season.
- Broths in ice cube trays.
- Tablespoons of tomato paste measured onto waxed paper, layered and stored in a plastic bag.
- Deli meats and hard cheeses.
- Fruit juices, Kool-aid, gatorade, energy drinks, and choclate milk for popsicles.
- Breads and baked desserts like cakes, cookies, and muffins.
- Used SOS or Brillo pads for cleaning pots and pans wrapped in a paper towel to keep from rusting.
- And lots and lots of other things
Dishes That Freeze Well
- Shrimp And Corn Soup
- Chicken And Rice Soup For The Soul
- Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
- Vegetable Beef Soup, “La Soup a’ Marie"
- Creamed Potato and Carrot Soup, Kat’s Rodeo Soup
Stew, Jambalaya, and Chili
I hope this post has been helpful to you. Maybe you're considering employing help from The Organizing Guru or someone like her in the area where you live. They are well worth their salt for getting and keeping order in our homes.
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Have a nice day!
“An active faith can give thanks for a promise, though it is not as yet performed, knowing that God’s bonds are as good as ready money.” – Matthew Henry