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Freezer Hoarding

Just went through my freezer as part of the new year clean up, and I am astonished what is in there.
Seems I can't pass up any Farmers Market butcher/Rancher/Farmer.
There are all sorts of exciting, delicious looking, unlabeled packages of meat, as well as every known cut possible.
How many tubs of lard and duck fat does one need?
Oh look, yet another package of puff pastry from yet another artisan bakery's take out section.

Frozen cut up Farmers Market peaches???? Try a dozen giant bags, and about 20 bags of frozen tomatoes.

The problem is I hoard them, living in fear that I will run out before the next crop, and then lose track of it all.
I have yet to use any frozen peaches, it's January! What am I saving them for, if not the dead of winter??
(note to self: peach crisp, Friday night!!)

How do you other freezer junkies use your freezer?

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  1. I am guilty of this too! It's too easy for something in the freezer to become "out of sight, out of mind". One of my resolutions is to cycle through things more often. Yesterday I cooked some meatballs that were in there. One less freezer bag. Yay!

    1. I am so glad to read your post. I too confess to being a freezer horder. I did find some cooked and chopped chicken that was frozen and a lot of vegetables (much more than I could use!) this weekend and made some really good soup.

      I also found a ziploc full of at least 10 bananas that I had chopped up thinking I would start making smoothies. That has never happened. There are veal, chops, cookies ... Lord. The list can go on an on.

      Please someone help me!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Tehama

        why make smoothies when you can dip those bananas in pb and melted chocolate, then refreeze them?

        1. re: mattstolz

          Been a while since in here, hope I'm not repeating..
          I put nannas in the freezer too when they're just south of too far gone to peel&eat.

      2. I know it's too late this time, but when I do my yearly freezer runthrough, I make an inventory list (nice to have a helper with a pad and pen), and post it on the front of the freezer. I TRY to keep the list up to date, but that doesn't always work so well. But I'm pretty good about labeling things.

        But do appreciate what you have in there. Four years ago this past July, we had a 5-day power outage with the daytime temps in the mid-90s, and I lost every single thing in the freezer. Not only was the cleanup awful, I cried most of the way through it.

        11 Replies
        1. re: lemons

          When I cleaned it and organized it, I not only marked it and made a list for the front of the freezer to check off whenever I take something out of it, but I put all of the contents into my grocery shopping app.
          Hopefully this will mean I won't be standing at the butcher counter and trying to remember if I have a frozen flank steak or not. (I have three)

          We just bought a new second freezer, because I am came back from a weekend away to find the door partially open, and about a third of the contents in question. I cried too when I threw out that 70 lb. leg of lamb. Could I cook it in anyway, would I kill my family??? I thought about it, hard, LOL.

          Oh, and Tehama??? Two bunches of whole frozen bananas !! HA!

          My goal is to empty the freezer before I buy anything new...

          1. re: lemons

            We try to keep a running inventory, but end up having to re-do it every couple of months because it doesn't get updated for additions/subtractions.

            The single biggest pile of any one thing for me is bread products. We store our sandwich-type bread in the freezer, because we don't eat it that often. Then there are pitas, dog buns, burger buns, stale slices for french toast, stale ends for crumbs, tortillas, and other random breads and buns. If it's not moldy, I can't throw it out...have to find a use for it.

            1. re: Sooeygun

              oooooooh, the crouton trap!!!!!!!

              1. re: mendogurl

                Also caught in the crouton trap here. I keep joking that one day, someone's going to ask what's for dinner, and I'm going to tell them croutons.

                1. re: Isolda

                  I recently have taken to process all the frost-bitten (as well as dried out) bread into crumbs, and then to make meatballs out of them. That clears out the packets of ground beef as well.

                  1. re: vil

                    I confess that I found twelve packages of fantastic grass fed, ground beef that I had no idea I had. Sad.
                    Made some might tasty burgers, meat loaf and bolognese.

                    But I don't think I am going to keep saving bread. Except hamburger buns because our family of four never uses those last two.

                    1. re: mendogurl

                      We eat bread very seldom. I finally stopped freezing the excess. It just took up too much room and I rarely remembered it. Except for Cuban bread brought back from trips to Fl.!

                      Now the squirrels are better fed!

                2. re: mendogurl

                  HA! the crouton trap. That's a great name for it.

                  A general question - Who is the house is better at remembering what's in the freezer? It's me, in our house.

                  We were cleaning out the bread bin from the freezer, found a ziplock bag with something wrapped in a white paper bag in it and had this conversation
                  Mr - Is this an onion bun? The ziplock has Onion written on it.
                  Me (after prodding it a little) - No, it's a croissant.
                  Mr - Why does it say onion on it?
                  Me - Cause that was the only ziplock bag left.

                  Two weeks later...
                  Mr. - Should we have this onion bun with our pasta tonight?
                  Me - It's not an onion bun
                  Mr. - Why does it say onion on it?

                  I expect this conversation will happen again, unless I eat that &$&$&^% croissant soon.

                  1. re: Sooeygun

                    friendly tip - don't write on the bags themselves so you can reuse them. Keep a caddy with Post-It Note Flags (or masking tape) and a couple fine point Sharpies near wherever you package foods headed to the freezer - easy to pull off, jot down name of item and date, and stick on, easy to pull off when removing from the freezer later. And if your frozen items are stacked vertically, don't put the label on the top - put it on the side (whatever side is most easily in view once it's stashed in the freezer) - then you can read what's in each package without having to move stuff around. At least, this is what works well for me! :)

                    1. re: zorra31

                      Yes, I keep blue painters tape and a sharpie in my packaging drawer. The painters tape comes off cleanly and stays on plastic bags as well as glass jars and containers.

              2. re: lemons

                This happened to us, too..whole ribeye roasts, a duck, and numerous baby back ribs and lamb chops, all purchased on sale....all to be thrown away. >[

              3. HA! What you describe is the very reason I refused to get a freezer for 17 years. Growing up, my parents had four huge commercial freezers and oh the things we would find!

                When we started going local with our beef, pork and fowl, I was forced to get a freezer. For the first year or so, I kept an inventory but that got to be too much work.

                My problem isn't peaches, it is peppers, bags and bags and bags of sliced peppers. I have stopped freezing left overs, that stuff just gets overlooked or lost.

                I hoarded chickens during the summer and I do have anxiety about running out before next season.

                I say break out the blender for a massive batch of peach frozen drinks!

                4 Replies
                1. re: cleobeach

                  Yes, the buying local meat also forced me into it. And we raise most of our produce, but this year I went heavily into preserving. And when I started canning, I also started freezing for canning later in the year! Oh my.
                  I too have given up freezing casseroles or other prepared foods. I do however keep big batches of bolognese and pesto. Life saving on those 'what the hell am I making tonight', kinds of nights.

                  I would not mind a couple of frozen soups. The frozen lasagnas took to long to thaw.

                    1. re: mendogurl

                      Completely agree on the lasagnas. Great idea but seriously, I can put a quick meal on the table in half the time it takes to reheat a frozen lasagna. (I do it in the oven, not the microwave)

                      Why peppers? My husband loves peppers and my aunt loves to garden. She brings peppers by the grocery bagful. I dice them and pull out a bag whenever I make meatballs or sausage, I put them in the baking dish together. I use the red ones for red pepper quiche.

                      1. re: cleobeach

                        Slow cooked foods like stews, soups and pulled pork do really well in the freezer.
                        those are my go to items when I'm having one of those weeks when I'm trying to cut back on the grocery budget.

                        it's nice to be able to pull a couple of meals or ingredients for meals out of the freezer and only have to buy the staples for the week.

                  1. I definitely hoard, BUT, I don't forget about things since I organized the freezer(s). We have a regular fridge/freezer in the kitchen, then in the basement another fridge/freezer IN ADDITION to a full size freezer. A bit much, I know, but it comes in handy. My mother in law lives with us and keeps lots of packed sh*t around for days when we're not home or to use some Sandra Lee recipe. I on the other hand, buy nearly all of my meat and other specialty items on our monthly weekend trips to visit my family in NYC. I visit all of my favorite Italian stores and buy wonderful meats (can't find good veal in DC), ravioli from Pastosa (copious amounts), pizza doughs, loaves of bread, etc. So my freezer is always stocked!!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: italia84

                      Much like what I do. We split our time between LA and San Francisco, but I do 70% of my purchasing in SF. So I have to freeze.
                      But what I need is a system to USE it all.

                      1. re: mendogurl

                        Oh good, I'm not alone! We go roughly once a month, so what I've been doing is planning a menu for about a month. Yeah, a bit excessive and obsessive, LOL. In the beginning I've been buying way more than I need. I don't stick to my menu entirely (too many last minute whims and cravings), but it definitely prevents me from having way more than I could possibly use before our next trip. I mean, there's still plenty of stuff in there at the end of the month, but not a ridiculous amount like it used to be! I also organized the freezer, seperated by type of meat, a whole section for frozen meals that I made, etc.

                    2. Used to have this problem and then found solutions.
                      First we got rid of the 20 cubic foot freezer in the basement, it was very inconvenient to go there and see what we had. Our basement is accessed through an outside Bilco door that currently has three feet of snow on it.
                      Second, we have a SubZero side by side in the kitchen that has a narrow freezer. This is used for cooked food and bagged items and breakfast things for the kids such as waffles.
                      Third we bought a 7 cubic foot upright that fits in the mudroom closet. This can hold one month's supply of raw meat, boxed items and fish. It is not wide enough or deep enough for anything to get lost or hidden.
                      Fourth, we check the freezers before going food shopping

                      Fifth and really NUMBER ONE..my grandmother taught me to put the prurchase date on all food containers/packaging (month and year with a black Sharpie). We use the first in first out method of inventory control. That way we don't end up with a 2007 can of tuna or package of chicken breasts when we've been buying them each month since.

                      That said there are certain items we have in more than one month's consumption amount, as we don't want to run out or the supply is spotty. My 88 yaer old mother loves Golden's Apple Blintzes, but they are often out of stock at our local grocers, so we buy and keep 6, eventhough mom is not likely to eat more than one box in a week.

                      We buy perishables every week, but only do a major shopping monthly

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: bagelman01

                        My mother taught me to write the date on everything too. It really does save you, when you are trying to figure out if things are still okay to eat. So I use freezer tape to write on, and then tape them to the freezer bag. (More easy to recycle)
                        So you choose what you are going to cook, by date? Am I right?
                        I never thought of that.
                        When I am perusing the contents, I should pick the earliest date I can find....interesting.

                        We have a Viking Side by Side. I really hate the freezers in side by sides, too small and narrow.
                        But I use those for the daily things. Hash browns, some frozen fruit and veggies. A container of pasta sauce, a container of chicken stock, etc. Stuff I might need on any given day.

                        In my laundry room I have another fridge, which I use as a root cellar, to store things I have grown. The vegetable drawers are filled with sand, and I keep root vegetables cool in them. I have baskets of apples, sweet potatoes, squash. I really want a root cellar but it doesn't really work in California. But I read that a second fridge if it was an energy efficient one, in combination with growing your own food, was a very green way to go.
                        So that freezer is where I stage the upcoming week.Pull out of the mother freezer 5 days of dinner.

                        The stand alone freezer is where everything else lives. That is the tricky one!

                        1. re: mendogurl

                          The root cellar idea is a great one! I love it. What temperature do you set it to?

                          1. re: sedimental

                            About 35.

                            I spent two years trying to figure out how to do some sort of root cellar, including a very cool idea of burying an old fridge (locked door, facing up). But that felt complicated.
                            Then I stumbled on the spare fridge idea.
                            I never wanted a second fridge because of the green issues. But they compared the energy useage of the second fridge (with home grown food), and driving to the grocery store and buying shipped in food.
                            The second fridge came out way better.
                            Love using the sand. Carrots last forever...

                        2. re: bagelman01

                          I like my little upright also. It's just two of us so, despite Bob's whining!, I don't buy four turkeys on sale when I know two is fine. Same with other things. I mostly freeze meat and serving portions of cooked items. I've got a little trick that I started doing with stock. I put one or two cup portions in zipping bags, lay them flat on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, they "stand up" niclely in a shoe box in the freezer. Takes up less room and easy to find.

                          1. re: c oliver

                            oooooooooh, nice one!!!!
                            I freeze mine flat in a bag as well, but standing them up in a shoe box...genius!!

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Really good idea, c oliver. I'm presently eying the 25 year old snap-top plastic disc case for 80's era 5-1/4 inch floppy disks And their really huge storage of 600K, but we got the work done with them in their day). Magenta in color, and basically vapor-proof. If I use It, I will never loose track of stock again.

                              The fact that I still have that disc box indicates that there are other arenas than just in the freezer in which we may be eclectic hoarders.

                              .....signed.... The Packrat Kid.

                          2. Hello, my name is sedimental, and I am a freezer hoarder.
                            I am in denial. I know this because I often say things like:
                            "I will clean it and organize it NEXT weekend"....or.....
                            " But, I LIKE surprises".....
                            "I know, but it was on SALE"....
                            "you just can't have too much pre-sliced procuitto".....or...
                            "Well, I'm not going to throw the rest AWAY"!!!!

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: sedimental

                              I think prosciutto multiplies in the freezer!

                              1. re: mendogurl

                                I wish it would multiply in mine!

                              2. re: sedimental

                                "you just can't have too much pre-sliced procuitto"''

                                that one is NOT a fallacy.

                                1. re: sedimental

                                  I could be an enabler. I don't think y'all are hoarders I think y'all are prepared!

                                2. living in hurricane country (S Fl) we tend to clear the freezer to bare minimums by June and don't really restock till late October just in case the power goes and everything needs cooking which we can't do. So the freezer is mostly emptied by summer. Wilma left us with no power for 8 days so it pays to be careful each year.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: smartie

                                    Wilma prompted me to buy a generator 5 years ago. The longest power outage I have experienced since has been 42 minutes.

                                    1. re: Veggo

                                      Generator is a wonderful tool with one caveat. You need to have the freakin' fridge plugged into one of the "live " outlets. Last March mrs j and i were out of town for the 4+ day power outage. One daughter was home. She knew to save the hot dogs from the basement freezer but stupid me forgot to tell her just to run a cord to a "live outlet 20' away. Bottom line, tons of food for the garbage donation.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        I thought that power outages were banned in New Canaan. :)
                                        The compressor failed in my freezer some years ago, and it's quite a rude surprise how quickly a treasure trove of goodies becomes a gag-inducing clean up.
                                        And generators should be standard in every home in hurricane prone areas. I keep a 7 day fuel supply and I can pretty much power up everything, including AC. I have some very elderly neighbors who would be quite vulnerable to the discomforts of a prolonged power outage and would be interesting boarders for a few days.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          A 5 foot long chest freezer died in my garage last year. I lost 2 whole lambs, homegrown pork, whole boughten pork loins, 50 lbs of venison, different fish. It was horrible. When we discovered it, all the meat was already spoilt and was reeking. I thought I would cry.

                                          It was too nasty to even deal with - we pushed the freezer out onto the car-port, Dad looped a chain around it, towed it out to the woods behind a tractor, pulled it onto its side and let nature deal with it. Now we have a mere three free-standing freezers and two fridge-freezers in the house, for two people.
                                          It is an addiction. We hoard meat.

                                  2. I once had 20kg of frozen raspberries and 20kg of frozen prawns in my freezer. I was wondering what to do with it all so I could freeze some mango cheeks (had 5 very fruitful mango trees at that point in time). My problem was solved when I was away and my sons dad rang to tell me that my then 3 year old had turned the freezer off. We figured out it must have been a couple of days previously, but 45 degree (celsius...113 farenheit), 99% humidity does work its magic eventually. I am so glad I wasn't there for the aftermath of that one. I rang my father to tell him his fanatacism of teaching my son to switch off things at the powerpoint was a bit overzealous.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: TheHuntress

                                      Not only is that a great story (and well told, I might add), I love the term "mango cheeks." May I borrow it? In fact, I may use it on Mrs. W. tonight 8>D

                                      1. re: Bob W

                                        LOL Let me know how Mrs. W responds :D

                                    2. Mrs. G's the same way, She buys and then forgets she has it and then buys more. I've recently thrown out foods that expired a few years ago. What a waste of money.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                        That's exactly why I have set up the full system. The waste was kind of appalling.
                                        The goal in having the freezer is to save, so if I am not going to use it efficiently, what is the point?

                                      2. I don't hoard really, but I do keep a lot in the freezer. I see I am not alone in the bread overload. We eat bread, but not quickly enough, and Mr. travelmad478 is very picky about which bread is appropriate for this or that use (sandwiches, toast, and French toast all have their own varieties!) So I routinely have at least three loaves in the freezer at any given moment, PLUS the "bread ends" bag that get made into bread crumbs on an as-needed basis, PLUS a bag of cubed good bread that gets made into stuffing or croutons.

                                        I keep a lot of meat, packaged in serving sizes, and just pile the new stuff under the existing so that it gets used on a FIFO basis. I also keep portions of stock, chicken fat, and all kinds of reheatable food that I cook in huge quantities like soups and stews and sauces. Always a couple of pie crusts in there. And don't forget the schmaltz!

                                        I first bought a small upright freezer three years ago, when I came home from Alaska bearing 40 pounds of frozen halibut that I'd caught on a fishing expedition. It took us a year to eat it all, but I think the cost savings on the halibut alone offset the price of the freezer!

                                        1. I read your title and immediately thought, "Crap, I'm busted!" When daughter was home for a few days at Christmas she declared me a food hoarder. Just because you need steel toe boots when you open my freezer, doesn't make me a hoarder....does it?

                                          1. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who does this. My freezer is in the basement. Out of sight, out of mind.

                                            When chicken breasts are on sale I buy a family-pack and split the up. I vacuum seal them individually, freeze them...and then forget about them. So when they go on sale again...

                                            I have enough rhubarb in my freezer to make enough pies for the whole neighborhood. My next door neighbor has a very prolific plant, and he gives me bunches of it.

                                            Then there's the five ziplock bags (gallon size) of wild grapes just waiting to be turned into jelly.

                                            I don't know *how* long that turkey has been in there, because I always buy a fresh one for turkey occasions.

                                            And all those perogies from the Ukrainian church bake sale. They only sell them a couple of times a year, so I have to stock up.

                                            DW went thru ours a couple of months ago and made the list, too and put it on the fridge. So far it hasn't helped much.

                                            The last time mine got a complete cleaning was when a contractor unplugged it to plug in a drop light...and forgot to plug it back in. I discovered it four days later.

                                            1. It's so good to know that others really have so much in common with me.
                                              I thought I was the only one that bought meat [bacon] on sale direct to freezer.
                                              I have to toss it often too but it's ok, it feels like a burden is off my back when i clean out the entire freezer.
                                              it's where I put most or much of my wheat germ, oat bran, things like that too, so it gets cramped. let's not even start on the amount of all kinds of chocolate in there but then that's a necessity right?

                                              sidebar: use those peaches they should be fine.......when is peach harvest time?.....better do it rather quickly :)

                                              1. I too freezer hoard :-| Sometimes its better, like when my markers have not been absconded with. I like wet erase for plastics, sharpies for foil/freezer paper and dry erase for the inventory tallied on the freezer door. Works great in theory and at least occasionally in practice :-> I am learning that as my kids have become teens single prepared servings are the way to go and Corning is my friend. I'm still learning.

                                                When my Gran passed unexpectedly, those hoarded up freezers were the last we would ever taste of Gran's love and expertise. Thankfully she hadn't frozen any tansies or there might have been one of those horrible blood feuds you often hear of. As it was there was enough for all of us to eat during the little over two weeks it took to finish the house and as many nights of memories to go with. So hoarding can have its positives.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: just_M

                                                  I'm guilty of freezer hoarding - buffalo rib eyes, wild boar roast, $30 veal shanks, antelope quarter, all manner of fruit; would like to see a 70 pound leg of lamb, though. That's a big lamb!

                                                  I talked to my buddy in Iowa - for New Year's Day they went to the care center to take dinner to his dad. His Mrs made a cherry cobbler from cherries that he froze in 1987!!!! .... said they were good.

                                                  We decided that every day we'd take something out of the freezer to cook. Last night I had a lull in the rain and grilled two pork steaks - the leftovers will go into a hash.

                                                  Now what to do with those big blue frozen jell packs from her shoulder replacement?

                                                  1. re: Johnny West

                                                    So it is not just my family that eats YEARS old food!

                                                    Not that long ago, at a family dinner my aunt made the comments "hope you all enjoy the last of Mom's corn"

                                                    "Mom" was my grandmother. She passed away in 2005 and I am absolutely certain she stopped freezing corn at least 5 years prior to that. Being 10+ years old, it was surprisingly tasty!

                                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                                      late November my husband and I were home for dinner and I wondered during the day what to make for dinner. checked out the freezers, yea, nothing jumped out at me. then I saw this bag and thought "what IS that?" looked like the meat of a fish or 12 so I called the kid and said, "honey, what kind of fish is that you caught that 's in the freezer?" he told me the two kinds or 3 can't remember but funny thing was he says to me in a stern voice, "MOM I CAUGHT THAT IN SEPTEMBER. YOU NEED TO TRASH IT, IT'S BAD BY NOW DON'T EAT THAT MOM." I then took it out to thaw, made a great sauce for it, battered it, fried it simply delish....

                                                    2. re: Johnny West

                                                      LOL, that should have read 70 dollar.
                                                      I can't stop laughing at the visual of a lamb big enough to have a 70 lb. leg !!!!!

                                                      ROFL. I needed that.

                                                      1. re: mendogurl

                                                        I wondered about that. That would be one scary lamb. But $70 for a LEG? Whew, That's a lot of money.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          That would be par for the course at my "natural foods" grocery. In fact $70 would be a bargain, considering that a leg of lamb can be 8 lbs. or more. I am routinely flabbergasted by the meat prices in there--we're talking more than $5/lb for things like ground beef. And it goes up from there--way up!!! It's insane. I don't know who's buying this stuff, but I guess someone is.

                                                  2. A clipboard suspended from the stand-alone freezer
                                                    is the best way to keep up with inventory.
                                                    And a Sharpie on a string, tied to the clipboard.

                                                    Item, date, servings per bag, then followed with vertical hashmarks.

                                                    Each hashmark is crossed off when the item's removed.

                                                    It might seem a bit of anal retentive
                                                    but it rotates the contents that the freezer retains.

                                                    Quite simply, it works.

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: FoodFuser

                                                      A dry erase board also works really well. Attached it to the freezer with the extra velcro thing from the EZPass.

                                                      1. re: FoodFuser

                                                        I've got a similar system for pantry, freezer, root cellar on MSWord sheets. Printed out, taped to appropriate places, marked off as used.

                                                        1. re: morwen

                                                          you have a root cellar ?????

                                                          1. re: mendogurl

                                                            Not an official one yet. I should have said "root cellar". Right now I stash veg and fruit in places around my house and garage that match the conditions needed for various types of produce. I'm in the process of searching for an old refrigerated box truck the box of which will be inserted into an excavation in the hillside behind our house and ventilated, then buried for our official root cellar.

                                                            1. re: morwen

                                                              <Right now I stash veg and fruit in places around my house and garage that match the conditions needed for various types of produce.>

                                                              I have this mental picture of you running around like a squirrel looking for buried nuts. Do you have a "map" of your stashes?

                                                              1. re: viperlush

                                                                Uhmmmm....I didn't until recently. And I'm sure I missed something.....


                                                        2. re: FoodFuser

                                                          The underlying concept is maintenance and discipline
                                                          so as not to lose those beauties we've frozen.

                                                          As long as that mindset is firmly in place
                                                          I'm content with a Sharpie as cutting-edge stylus
                                                          Scribbed on a clipboard clasping today's cheap papyrus.

                                                          1. re: FoodFuser

                                                            Ah, discipline. Something I am sorely lacking.

                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                              The "D" is requirement when managing inventory in the breadth a full 15 footer
                                                              Not as much so in a smaller, more searchable. upright.

                                                              You do the math to determine the equation
                                                              of relative reduction of such required discipline.

                                                              I believe it will make you smile.

                                                              1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                I have stuck with the upright. I can only imagine what you could lose in a chest freezer !!!!

                                                                1. re: mendogurl

                                                                  I tell my husband I'm going freezer diving when I'm pulling stuff from the bottom of ours! The chest freezer is just tall enough and I'm just short enough that my feet come off the ground when I pull stuff out of the very bottom!

                                                        3. I stopped using the 5cu.ft. chest freezer in the garage at least a decade ago in order to stop the stashing/forgetting cycle....but haven't unplugged or opened it since. I just hope that when I eventually do, I do not succumb to the urge to use any of the contents.

                                                          I got tired of the "baggie-lanche" and smashed toes when opening the refrigerator's freezer so I put wire baskets into it. I have been more or less able to stick to the plan of restricting each basket to one food category - meat, produce, stock-making odds&ends, etc. But I have yet to get religion about labeling containers. Don't ask me if it's chili or spaghetti sauce I'm defrosting for dinner.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            yes it's amazing when you freeze sauce how you think it will be so easy to identify once frozen but everything morphs into a ziplock iced over blob which is indistinguishable from the others. Soup,chili and pasta sauce all look the same. Some dinners are surprise freezer dinners!

                                                          2. I feel great knowing I'm not the only one with this "problem"...I'm a little better with keeping up the contents now but I'm still surprised by things I didn't know was in there. Mine is a chest freezer and it does have it's drawbacks but I love that it's one of those heavy duty about 30 year old models. I've never had a problem with it keeping cold even when we had that last hurricaine, everthing stayed solidly frozen with the addition of bags of ice for at least 5 days.

                                                            I bought three turkeys at Thanksgiving, a ton of various chicken parts, and have two venison hams stored in there not to mention most of my dry baking products & grains. I do need to defrost & clean it out though. I'm trying to eat through it first...

                                                            1. I’m somewhere between “hoarding” and “using” right now

                                                              I had a fantasy that I was going to be able to pull off the 100 mile challenge so I stocked up on fruits veggies this summer too, but not on enough variety of veggies, so the family was like “zucchini AGAIN?” and the next thing you know, I was at the Whole Foods Market, buying Melissa’s Organic Asparagus from God only Knows where!
                                                              I also caved in when my daughter begged to eat some fruit that wasn’t previously frozen…"can I PLEASE have some grapes???"that’s another story

                                                              I still have bags of some fantastic greens that I just burned my family out from eating.
                                                              My biggest problem is with the prepared foods. I have soups, stews and sauces coming out the eye-balls. I’m down to three whole chickens and six or seven breast halves

                                                              Does anyone need any stock by the way? I’ve got this thing about not wasting anything, and so I make stocks from all my scraps. I’ve got veggie stocks that range from light color/flavor to dark almost beefy tasting (thanks to that errant beet that was in the fridge that I couldn’t bear to toss so I roasted it and threw it in with the rest of the roasted veggies)
                                                              I have a stock problem. I need an intervention

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: cgarner

                                                                I am proud to announce that in the month since I've posted this, I've given away about three gallons of stocks and have managed to cook and consume nearly all the meats that I had in the freezer. I took a full inventory and made a list and I've done a very good job of working at least one more item from the list of frozen stuffs I have into our weekly meal plan

                                                                ... and then my husband replaced the empty space with frozen pizza and ice cream
                                                                (I can't win!)

                                                              2. I've never hoarded food. My mother and grandmother were major freezerburners, and it was just unattractive to me. Mostly it was frozen meat. Frozen vegetables and ice cream got eaten, but frozen meat just sat there.

                                                                Odd to encounter this thread today, as I just defrosted some ground beef I bought the other day. It was too much meat for what I bought it for, and I knew it would rot if I didn't freeze it. It was on sale. I almost never do this.

                                                                Today, my freezer contains some old tomato paste in one of those Glad plastic throwaway containers, chicken livers I bought for a recipe and know I am never going to use again, a pound of butter I bought on sale, half a bag of peas, and a pitcher of tea literally on its way to becoming "iced."

                                                                Freezer hoarding isn't such a big deal. Something I find trying is going to someone's house, usually to show them how to cook something, and then finding the fridge is full with old jars of mustard, ketchup, salad dressing, and recently at one friend's, a box of onions which turned out to be half-frozen/half-rotten. Where am I supposed to put anything when it's cooked?

                                                                I have two discrete friends who simply cannot _not_ have a full fridge and cabinets. I prefer to go to the store every other day or so.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                  Jay: I prefer to live your way, but at the moment it's just not feasible (or advised) to not have at least a few days of stuff around (12 miles of twisty road between here and the nearest store and it's been icy/snowed in). but yes all the bottles and the owner gripes that there's nowhere to put things, and keeps buying more of the same but won't open one since there's already one with a trace amount of whatever in the bottom in thebottle in the fridge.

                                                                2. I have a ton of random stuff I throw in there and forget about from time to time.

                                                                  I went into the freezer earlier to get some breakfast sausage (purchased from the lovely Mr. Allen Benton) and also found some venison. Hooray! I love when I go in there and find things that I totally forgot I had.

                                                                  1. It was fun here this winter the blizzards were blowin'
                                                                    and I had a good chance to do freezer un-hoardin'.

                                                                    Two feet of snowbank is a marvelous thing
                                                                    when you're looking for room to do some good sortin'

                                                                    All the contents of freezer were placed in the snow.
                                                                    Then elbows applied to defrost the machine.

                                                                    There was joy in the transport of goods for repack
                                                                    to the freezer we so take for granted.

                                                                    I purchased the freezer two decades ago
                                                                    to celebrate birth of my son.

                                                                    With vow that whatever might occur or give happen
                                                                    I would do my damned best to at least fully feed him.

                                                                    There is fun to give pat to that big fifteen footer
                                                                    Not just for the food, but the joy of commitment.

                                                                    1. Good thing I started reading this post before I buy my new fridge/freezer. My present freezer works so-so with only one usable freezer area in the back. The one thing I do hoard is bread. We have lots of water features in my condo complex and therefore lots of ducks; however, there is not nearly enough ducks to justify all that bread. I do daydream about all the freezer space I will have, I guess I need to re-read this topic after i get my new fridge to curb my inner hoarder.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                        or read Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt and the account of a neighbor who goes on a breadmaking binge right before her inevitable return to a "rest home"

                                                                        could do worse in my estimation.

                                                                        just don't do what my hoarder relatives do, do a regular sort and if you don't recall what it is, then it's trash. didn't know ya had it? doesn't exist!

                                                                      2. the best cure I have found for the freezer-hoarding affliction is to move to Europe and buy a fridge/freezer that fits in your kitchen, but leaves you with a freezer the size of four shoeboxes (really, that's all the bigger my freezer is).

                                                                        Stops that addiction COLD.

                                                                        (the tradeoff is that I have a terrific market in my village three days a week...the freezer isn't quite so necessary, but it drives me crazy when I *do* need to freeze something.)

                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          we tried that. worked for about 2 years while in Madrid (Spaniards have smartly designed kitchens IME), but they also jettisoned family during that expunge time. not pretty. better to just let them keep frozen bits of who knows it and I'll toss it to the raccoons at 2 AM. caught shit for throwing out a cracked plastic lid (tossed a month ago and was just noticed) I was expected to dive into the trash and dig it out if I hadn't explained just how long it was gone. yeah I'm going to dig a pointless and broken thing out of the refuse for you to decide "oh yeah, that is junk" LIKE WE DISCUSSED LAST MONTH. yeesh

                                                                          sorry I have few outlets for being frustrated with weird fixations on inanimate objects.

                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                            sorry, you lost me at jettisoned family....maybe I haven't had enough coffee today, but I need some clarification.

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                              842: it was a major and ugly purge, now replaced with an irrational attachment to inanimate objects. sorry that's getting too personal, yet it relates somehow.

                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                I am truly unstewed about 842.

                                                                                Please gift the gift to enlighten me.

                                                                                1. re: FoodFuser

                                                                                  I'm completely lost at this point...so I'm just going to smile and nod and pass the coffee and cookies.

                                                                        2. My big temptation is seasonal stuff. Homemade MacIntosh applesauce in the fall, coarsely mashed and with cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Sweet potatoes when they are cheap in Thanksgiving season---boil in skins, cool, peel, mash with a can of crushed pineapple, freeze in pints. Sugared sliced peaches in summer (add Fruit Fresh so they don't turn brown; use all year in cobblers and pies). Bags of pitted Montmorency cherries back when I had a tree. A few bags of cranberries when they're in the stores at Christmas (later, in August, fresh cranberry-orange relish is good with cold chicken).

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Querencia

                                                                            One way to avoid this is to can fruits instead of freezing. When they are fresh, I buy enough to can a year's worth of applesauce, cherries, peaches, pears, etc. Into the pantry they go and I "shop" there before I shop at the store:)

                                                                            1. re: ansluasi

                                                                              How do you know how much is a year's supply, though? I have a half gallon of tomato sauce that I just put up in the pantry right now, which is not nearly enough to last a year. But do I really need five gallons? Or is five gallons juuuuuuuust enough to last me through to next summer?

                                                                              I remember last year I got a boat load of apples, made a ton of apple sauce -- which then rotted in the fridge. I swore after that to do proper preserving of foods.

                                                                              1. re: lapelosa

                                                                                I try to guesstimate how much we will eat in any normal year before it is available again. For example, we have a 3 year old and go through a boatload of applesauce, so I figure a jar a week plus a few extras, so put up 6 dozen jars. For fruit, I try to figure out what I'll use it for and how often. If it is cherries for cobbler, etc, I figure we will have that once a month, so I put up enough to make 12 batches (24 pints, 2 cups per jar). A pint jar of peaches will give you four 1/2 cup servings, so if you want to serve a dish of peaches twice a week, do a jar for each week per person eating them. If less often, do enough for twice a month or whatever. Of course, there is still the grocery store if you run out, so it's not as if you'll be starving and foodless if you do your math wrong and end up with too little:) If you run low or have too much at the end of a year, make notes to yourself to increase or decrease.
                                                                                For tomatoes, you can guesstimate how often you'll use it, and how much you use each time. For example, if it is pasta sauce, think about how often you buy it, and how much...a jar a week? a jar a month? A pint jar holds 2 cups, about what we go through in our house each time I use it, so I put up enough for a jar a week. If you use it less or more often, put up less or more. I use pureed tomatoes for jambalaya and chili and veggie soups, etc, so I figure how often we're likely to eat that and how much I need per batch.
                                                                                It sounds complicated at first, but it really isn't. Just sit down with a piece of paper and list out what you'll use the stuff for. Be realistic about how often you're likely to want each thing, your grocery buying habits are a great clue to that (if you find yourself, like me, buying a massive amount of applesauce, then put up a massive amount, if you almost never buy it, then only do a small batch).
                                                                                Last tip:) Canning stuff often goes on clearance in the fall. It is a great time to stock up on canning jars if you don't already have a stash.. I got 12 jar cases of brand new jars at Tractor Supply last year for $5 a case, that is almost 50% off.
                                                                                Hope this helps:)

                                                                          2. One trick that I've used is to put a dry erase board on the freezer and keep a list of freezer contents. It helps jog the memory and offer a little inspiration.

                                                                            Works great for leftovers in the fridge too.

                                                                            1. Of course, sometimes the result of cleaning out the freezer is...more stuff to put in the freezer. I made a nice stew from a large hunk of beef. Too much stew. Now I have stew in the freezer. BUT, I will be more prone to defrost and use it up since it's ready-to-eat.

                                                                              1. I was going through my deep freezer yesterday and realizing how much random things I have...a couple of bags of frozen potato water (to make bread), mushroom water (from soaking dried mushrooms), little bags of chipotle peppers, leftover cooked sausage (to add to sauce at a later date), scraps of things here and there. Always an adventure!

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: italia84

                                                                                  that sounds like the beginning of SOUP. With bread.

                                                                                  I regularly make something my family has oh-so-artfully dubbed garbage soup...I start with stock, and clean out the fridge and my pathetically small freezer..whatever doesn't go in the soup, goes into the garbage. (don't worry, nothing gross, just all the little bits and pieces left over from other ventures!)

                                                                                  Y'all are killing me with this thread. My freezer is normal size for a European freezer -- about the same size as four shoe boxes (two stacks, two high) That's it. Means that I end up being VERY fussy about what I dedicate freezer space for!

                                                                                2. Will you use it all or will much of it be thrown out? If the latter, that is shameful. And not humorous in the least.

                                                                                  1. About three years ago I discovered three long-lost, 16-ounce T-bone steaks. They were horribly freezer burned. Needless to say we were extremely disappointed. At that time, I cleaned out our upright freezer so I knew exactly what was in it. I posted a list of its contents and updated it at least three times per year. I have not updated it lately, but I have a good handle on that it contains. We started to freeze most leftovers in ziplock bags and label them with a black sharpie. We also have a second refrigerator downstairs and that freezer is nearly full with various types of stocks and broths (I'm still not clear on the difference). We freeze stock in empty 1/2 liter water bottles. They stack easily in the freezer, are thawed in a sink with warm water (or the refrigerator if enoigh planning occurs), and after use, we recycle the bottles.

                                                                                    1. I'm about to join you all! I recently purchased an upright freezer, and am currently dedicated to filling it up. I currently have chicken stock, beef stock, vegetable stock, duck stock, and soon enough, fish stock. I'm also canning and pickling. I like fresh. I also like having food on hand and having lots of choices as to what to eat -- even on those rainy days. Reading this is making me feel irrational, like I am doing something wrong.

                                                                                      That said, I can probably relax. I don't _really_ need to fill that freezer for winter.

                                                                                      1. We raise our own chickens and our own veg/fruit. Most of the fruit gets canned, but the veg is frozen and by September, our freezer is LOADED. Very easy to lose track of what is in there until hubby and I implemented a new system. First, we keep an inventory on a clipboard and cross off as we go, just as others have mentioned. Works pretty well. Second, I go "shopping" in our freezer before I do my weekly grocery run (I do a big shopping every month and a weekly run for basics like milk and butter). I scan the inventory list to see what we are heavy on or running low on. I bring up what meat I will use and either get it thawing or move it to the kitchen fridge freezer for thawing later. I bring up a week's worth of veggies to the fridge freezer. Frozen cheese goes in the fridge to thaw. After a while of doing this I have gotten a pretty good grasp of how much stuff we go through and for the most part we manage to avoid finding "surprises."
                                                                                        BTW, those handy cloth grocery bags make GREAT storage containers for groups of smaller bags in the freezer. I try to avoid boxes/bins since they take up too much room, but the cloth bags are easy to shift in the freezer, collapse inward as they empty to make room for more stuff, are really durable and tough, and wash easily. And if you really want to be anal, you can color code: red for the bag of broccoli, green for peppers, etc.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: ansluasi

                                                                                          That last thing about the cloth bags is a great tip!

                                                                                          Signed, a person determined to live off the local produce she's buying now for as long as possible (but sadly lacks a garden)

                                                                                          1. re: lapelosa

                                                                                            Much needed thread it's just the 2 of us and we have 3 fridges and a small and large deep freezer. Hit rock bottom last year when I gave up looking for the sweet italian sausage I know is in there and bought new! I my name is Don and i............
                                                                                            Come sept it gets ugly we oven roast a ton of mixed pepper onions zuk to eat all winter. Then we start making soups. I work for Usair dont travel quite as much as in the past but when ever we go somewhere we allway bring food back. Next trip Baltimore I had no idea that there is a national Kielbasa cookoff? But there is and Ostrowski's came in second so will be bringing the cooler.. Some hepe me..


                                                                                            1. re: don515

                                                                                              Balto's Lexington Market is a great source for regional things to stuff into your freezer.