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Old 11-11-2010, 11:04 AM   #1
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Where do you put it all?

My freezer is sooooo full I decided to take out the large container of split peas soup. This will be lunch.

I really have to make more room in the freezer, so I can cook up some new dishes and have room for the leftovers.

My casserole dish of lasagna is full to the top, so instead of my usual 4 servings, I have at least 6. 2 down and 4 to go. I'll probably take 3 servings and put into zip bags separately so I can stash them in various nooks and crannies. The container of split pea soup will make some room.

I have a 5' tall refrigerator, not huge, but fine for me.
I found a couple of shelves at WalMart that fit on either side of the freezer and make it possible to fit things in the top half of the freezer rather than just stacking things to the top and then trying to get out something in the middle.

I'll probably go back and get one more shelf for the middle, if I can fit it crossways so I have access to all.

At least when it gets full like this I can take a vacation from cooking while I get more room in the freezer. I kind of have to push myself to do it because I enjoy cooking, but unless I do, I'll have to buy a small freezer just to catch the overflow!

I was wondering how others manage their perishable food storage, especially those cooking for one or two.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:52 AM   #2
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We have an upright freezer in the basement for long-term storage. It gets extra meats purchased on sale, portioned containers of large batch foods (soup, tomato sauce, other dishes), SO's baking items, stock, etc. I wouldn't be able to manage with just the freezer on the fridge.
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Old 11-11-2010, 11:59 AM   #3
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I have a small chest freezer, that happens to be full. I seem to remember that if you want to cook something frozen, you need to take it out to thaw first...:) I'm good about freezing, bad about thawing.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:18 PM   #4
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We just got rid of our chest freezer. One of the smartest things we've done.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:24 PM   #5
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I bought my freezer when it was just me, but I still wanted a good sized one. I have a 22 cu. ft. upright freezer. I like to shop for deals on meat and other things, and the freezer makes it possible. I know that chest freezers are more economical, but I always hated that everything I ever wanted to get out of one seemed to be hiding in the bottom under everything else. An elderly 4'11" friend of mine has a huge chest freezer and broke her ribs defrosting and cleaning it!

Our freezer has 2 large baskets at the bottom. I keep meat in the bottom one and frozen vegetables in the top one. It is very humid here and I don't have much cupboard space, so I keep my flour and grains in the freezer as well. I stock up on butter when it is on sale and keep the extra in the freezer. I keep the butter and boxed things like Rice-a-Roni in the door. I also keep emergency candles and cold packs in the freezer door.

The freezer has been especially handy this week. I bought a lot of pumpkins at 99 cents each and have been cooking them and freezing the mashed pumpkin. I have only done 3 of the 8 pumpkins so far and already have 34 cups of pumpkin in the freezer (in quart-size freezer bags). I made 15 quarts of soup last night and froze most of it for cold weather days ahead. My freezer is full, which is good since a full freezer is more energy efficient, but if I need more space I can remove the rice or flour and put them back later.

I use the refrigerator freezer for ice trays and things I use a lot, so that I don't have to open the big one more than necessary.

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Old 11-11-2010, 01:00 PM   #6
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I have a small chest freezer, that happens to be full. I seem to remember that if you want to cook something frozen, you need to take it out to thaw first...:) I'm good about freezing, bad about thawing.
We're in the same boat! I have found though that there are some things that can be cooked from frozen. Chicken breasts can go in the oven frozen but need almost twice as long cooking time. I've done frozen chuck roasts as well in the oven. We have an upright freezer in the garage. DH wanted to get a chest freezer but I nixed that quickly. Knowing it will be in the garage, I knew it would always have stuff sitting on it so that I would never be able to get into it! Flat surfaces tend to accumulate things in my house!
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:13 PM   #7
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...I knew it would always have stuff sitting on it so that I would never be able to get into it! Flat surfaces tend to accumulate things in my house!
Truer words have never been spoken. I'm as guilty as the next guy.
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Old 11-11-2010, 01:31 PM   #8
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...Flat surfaces tend to accumulate things in my house!
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Truer words have never been spoken. I'm as guilty as the next guy.
James and I are both guilty of that.

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Old 11-11-2010, 06:47 PM   #9
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We have a large chest freezer in the garage. It's powered off. Living on the Gulf Coast, I've found it counter productive to keep it stocked and running. During the summer it runs all the time and eat lots of electricity. When the hurricane du-jour comes along its contents are inevitably lost due to extended power outage. We lost power for 2 weeks during Ike.

We only keep minimal frozen foods on hand. Just what fits in the fridges freezer. We can usually keep this running via generator during hurricanes. The result is that we have less waste because foods don't accumulate over time, less waste to freezer burn, and we are better managers of our freezer space.

BTW, guilty as charged...the freezer in the garage has stuff all over it. Couldn't open if I wanted to.

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Old 11-12-2010, 12:57 AM   #10
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Do flat spaces also include the floor? The only reason the freezer has not accumulated lots of junk is because it's the only place for the cats to eat.
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Old 11-12-2010, 01:13 AM   #11
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Do flat spaces also include the floor? The only reason the freezer has not accumulated lots of junk is because it's the only place for the cats to eat.
Around here if the cats lie still for too long we just stack stuff on them.

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Old 11-12-2010, 01:18 AM   #12
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Hey, I can have two new, portable end tables.
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Old 11-12-2010, 02:08 AM   #13
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we have 2 kitchens (2 family house), so when both freezers get stuffed, i tend to take out old containers of things like pea soup or lamb stew to make room, and bring them in to work.

the guys i work with are like garbage disposals, and that way i don't feel bad about wasting food.
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Old 11-12-2010, 05:24 AM   #14
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I'm starting to think that I'll just stick with my current freezer. At least when it is full like this, I can spend my grocery dollars on splurge type things like a pound of corned beef and french bread for pressed sandwiches. Deli counter, here I come.

I also need room for the leftover turkey if I can find one on sale, probably after Christmas. I'll ask DN, Margie if she wants to split one. One of us can cook it whole then cut it in half.
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Old 11-13-2010, 03:27 PM   #15
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For most of my married life I had a small chest freezer. But the last time we moved, I never replaced it. I kept meaning to. But, in spite of the fact that I freeze a lot of what I cook, I manage to make do. Much space comes from not freezing things in plastic containers. Or, rather, I do, but the next day I "pop" them out of the plastic container and place in a baggie. Another thing that helps is that I have two huge rectangular Tupperware containers (from when I bought 10 lbs bags of flour, sugar, rice, etc) that I use to toss in odds and ends (say, baggies of pesto, small cuts of meat, odds and ends of bones and vegs for stock, and other little things) that I kind of use as "drawers". I like to have some kind of each type of meat on hand, which, again, I freeze in their original trays, then when space is needed, pop out of their trays, bag or wrap to minimize the amount of space they take.
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:22 PM   #16
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I remember when I was a little girl (in the 60's, through 1972), our freezer was inside of the refrigerator. It was big enough for a couple ice trays and maybe a half gallon of ice cream.

Barbara
P.S. LOL I wasn't still a "little" girl in 1972, but that is when we moved from San Diego to Vista).
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Old 11-13-2010, 05:26 PM   #17
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For most of my married life I had a small chest freezer. But the last time we moved, I never replaced it. I kept meaning to. But, in spite of the fact that I freeze a lot of what I cook, I manage to make do. Much space comes from not freezing things in plastic containers. Or, rather, I do, but the next day I "pop" them out of the plastic container and place in a baggie. Another thing that helps is that I have two huge rectangular Tupperware containers (from when I bought 10 lbs bags of flour, sugar, rice, etc) that I use to toss in odds and ends (say, baggies of pesto, small cuts of meat, odds and ends of bones and vegs for stock, and other little things) that I kind of use as "drawers". I like to have some kind of each type of meat on hand, which, again, I freeze in their original trays, then when space is needed, pop out of their trays, bag or wrap to minimize the amount of space they take.
I had been toying with the idea of a small chest freezer, but have decided against it especially due to some comments in this thread. If it's too full, it's because I overbought . I had the chance for that 10# fresh ham, and it was a good idea. I did have room for everything after all. I always have beef, pork and chicken and pork sausage on hand for variety too.

One big advantage of a really full freezer is that as long as I have a surplus, I can splurge on other things. The cheese splurge last week was quite a treat and I still have some of each of them left. I'm really enjoying giving myself treats like that.

I like your idea about the large container for all those little packages. When the freezer is full like this, it can be hard to find some of those. It will also perhaps put away some of those little items in the freezer door like my 1/3 bags of veggies, my ginger. Little bags of pork fat, bacon fat pieces, etc.

I also bag things like dinner size portions of rice and stack them. About the only time I take things out of a container is when I run out of containers LOL, but it is easy to pop something small out and bag it.

I use stackable containers for leftover soups, gravies, and otherwise sloppy food. I probably should put them in bags too, I always have small, medium and large on hand. I even have a sharpie type marker right next to the fridge that I can write down what and when it is. If I can just train myself to do it. MEMO to SELF: Get MORE organized

Thanks for you insight.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:06 PM   #18
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I had to move my chest freezer out of the shed recently, and to do it, I loaded the contents into canvas shopping bags so I could carry them across the lawn to the back porch . Once I got the freezer across to the porch, I put the bags back in.

I am going to keep those bags in the freezer--they have proven very useful. If the stuff I want is not on top, I can lift out a bag and look underneath.

If I was organized, one bag would hold veggies, one chicken, one beef, etc, but I was in a hurry when I packed the bags. When I move the freezer back into my new garage, I will sort things better.

I like the bags better than the plastic bins I have used in the past--they pack in better, and they don't crack when they get cold.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:03 PM   #19
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I had to move my chest freezer out of the shed recently, and to do it, I loaded the contents into canvas shopping bags so I could carry them across the lawn to the back porch . Once I got the freezer across to the porch, I put the bags back in.

I am going to keep those bags in the freezer--they have proven very useful. If the stuff I want is not on top, I can lift out a bag and look underneath.

If I was organized, one bag would hold veggies, one chicken, one beef, etc, but I was in a hurry when I packed the bags. When I move the freezer back into my new garage, I will sort things better.

I like the bags better than the plastic bins I have used in the past--they pack in better, and they don't crack when they get cold.
Excellent idea, thank you! Now I know how to rearrange the freezer.
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Old 11-13-2010, 08:55 PM   #20
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I had to move my chest freezer out of the shed recently, and to do it, I loaded the contents into canvas shopping bags so I could carry them across the lawn to the back porch . Once I got the freezer across to the porch, I put the bags back in.

I am going to keep those bags in the freezer--they have proven very useful. If the stuff I want is not on top, I can lift out a bag and look underneath.

If I was organized, one bag would hold veggies, one chicken, one beef, etc, but I was in a hurry when I packed the bags. When I move the freezer back into my new garage, I will sort things better.

I like the bags better than the plastic bins I have used in the past--they pack in better, and they don't crack when they get cold.
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Excellent idea, thank you! Now I know how to rearrange the freezer.
That really is a good idea. When you organize with the bags you could either use a different color bag for each category, or you could use light colored bags and write the category on the carrying straps/handles.

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