A round-up of great suggestions to keep your ice box looking tidy.
Did you know that March is National Frozen Food Month? Regardless of what type of freezer you have, here are some tips to help you get it organized.
1. As you would group your closet by clothing type, you should also make groupings of your frozen foods. Make sure meats, produce, prepared foods, desserts and leftovers have their own sections to make it easy to find what you're looking for.
2. When you restock your freezer, be sure to put the oldest food up front. This prevents food from going bad before you get a chance to eat it.
3. When you pop in leftovers or the other half of the double batch of mac & cheese you made, be sure to label and date it. No one likes to guess at mystery meat.
4. In terms of storage, it's best to think space saving. When storing leftovers or casseroles in the freezer, use disposable plastic containers rather than the pans they were prepared in. This way you can pop on a lid and stack them neatly. And with liquid foods such as soups and sauces, use plastic gallon-size bags and lay them on their side to freeze, making them easier to stack or later file side by side.
5. Keep a running list of the freezer contents on the door. Stay on top of things you've run out of or are getting low on. This way the kids will know if there's still ice cream left. And if you want the kids to stay out of your Chunky Monkey use a food lock box!
6. Before freezing items, consider if it makes sense to break them off into serving size portions. For instance, chicken breasts, brownies, and banana bread could be frozen in individual servings, that way you don't have to defrost the whole kit and caboodle.
7, It's important to defrost your freezer at least once a year. This allows you to take care of any frost build-up, give it a good cleaning and take inventory of your stock. Doing this in the winter months is ideal given the cold outside temperature.
8. Speaking of temperature, always make sure your freezer is running at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for optimum usage and to keep food well preserved.
9. Don't feel bound by the bins your freezer came with. There are tons of freezer storage options to customize your space. Plastic crates, baskets, shoe boxes and even office supply storage would fit the bill.
10. Lastly, before you toss something in the freezer, consider if it's truly freezer-worthy. Will you really end up eating it again or are you just sticking it in there because no one wants to eat it in the first place? Trust me, they're not going to want to eat it later either.
Here's to keeping our freezers from looking like a hot mess! Or should I say cold mess?!
Do you have a tip to add to the list?