This week I'm eating strictly from the freezer. It's time. Today I defrosted the lamb I had in there for a few months and made lamb stew. I had some frozen chunks of cooked turnip in there and thought that might be good in the stew. They were spongy and a bit weird, so I chucked them. Tomorrow it's going to be slow cooked cassoulet with defrosted turkey legs and some sausages I had in there. I found some little containers of basil pesto from last summer's garden. Not sure if those are still good. A box of mixed vegetables (hope they're not too frosty to use). There's a container of cut up apples in there from last fall ready for a pie, some frozen meatballs, tortilla soup from a too large recipe I made last month, little containers of broth, on and on and on.
One half of my fridge is a freezer, so it's not so bad that it's totally unmanageable,although some things get overlooked. I can't even imagine a great big freezer to deal with. Anyone out there have a regular system of using up what's in there. I'm always tempted to buy fresh when I shop and cook that leaving the freezer as an afterthought.
I am doing the same for an upcoming move. Except mine is a moderate-sized chest freezer.
Major lesson for me: LABEL LABEL LABEL. On Sunday I pulled out a large serving of chili and a baggie with two servings of turkey stew. But what I actually got was minestrone soup and pork loin curry lol.
We're not huge fans of reheating soups/casseroles/etc. My plan for the next place is to freeze ingredients: serving size raw and cooked beef/chicken/proteins, stocks/broths, and prepped veggies.
Plus, we need to buy bananas sparingly. There's only so many smoothies I can make from those frozen buggers. :)
This may not work with an half fridge/ freezer but this is what I do to keep my meat organized and not forgotten about.. I use different colored recyclable (cloth like) grocery bags. In each I keep the same kinds of meat - one for pork, one for beef, one for chicken, one for fish, etc. It's easy to grab a bag out of the freezer and quickly look through it. There are no bags/packs of meat shoved to the back or buried under other things. I also have one bag for miscellaneous/seasonal items. It makes it easy to see what kind of meat I'm running low on before I go and buy a more.
I'm also a nut for deciding the night before, what we will be eating the next day, and taking it out of the freezer and putting in the fridge before I go to bed. Then I don't need to stop by the grocery store, wandering around aimlessly, buying more food!
+for labels as well!
I am an anti-freeze person except when necessary. In my standard size bottom freezer, the majority of its contents is homemade chicken stock in containers just right for a risotto plus cubes for sauces, bread crumbs made from our homemade bread and extra homemade pasta sauce.. Otherwise, it is basically things I have purchased as frozen foods--gyoza, corn, peas, ice cream, berries-things that I find keep better frozen--nuts, whole wheat flour--or leftovers that will be used for stock--chicken frames, onion bits etc--or smoothies--ripe bananas, extra fruit and yogurt.. I stopped buying meat for freezing because I don't think it keeps its texture and flavor and too many things end up with freezer burn when we have many markets within 15 minutes of our house. I applaud your "temptation" to buy fresh rather than stash things away that will never be as good as they were.
Escondido, I can't entirely agree with you because some things in the freezer aren't "not as good as they were" but are a great deal better than they were. Example: homemade chili waiting for you when you come home soaking wet, freezing cold, and exhausted. I too live surrounded by markets, and not one of them sells homemade chili. The freezer is my friend.
I know that my life isn't typical, but my husband likes to grocery shop every day so that changes the whole equation. My main problem with freezing is meats. I believe they change texture and moisture and just aren't as good as fresh. And since for us there is rarely, and by that I mean I can't think of an occasion in the last year, a time when we don't feel like cooking. Luckily I haven't come home wet, freezing cold and/or exhausted in that period of time, so either my husband and I are always up for cooking--and he would rather eat fresh pasta then leftovers any night. (What leftovers we do have are eaten at lunch time, though I must admit to stashing fresh salsa in the freezer when we've bought more than we can use--it will end up as the base for a sauce sometime down the line.)
The freezer side of our side by side Sub Zero is haphazard, leftovers, vegetables, kids junk food and meat for the dogs. Easy to see in and find what's there.
Our separate free standing freezer is fully organized. Everything is labelled and dated. I keep a spread sheet in my computer. A printed copy is on the freezer door. Anything going in or out is marked down. I do a computer update each week before making my shopping list. My kids and wife don't go to the free standing freezer (it's not near the kitchen) so it's easy for me to keep it under control.