Cook More Real Food: Take Inventory of Your Freezer

cook more real food banner high quality 1Welcome back for the second part of the Cook More Real Food event!

It’s so great to see so many people joining in, through the Facebook event page and also just through the comments. I’ve noticed a number of people blogging about the event and the progress that they are making as well, which is fantastic!

Today we’re going to take inventory of what’s in our freezers. Join me as I tackle my own freezers…

I realized as I watched the video afterwords that my deep freeze really isn’t too full, which is perfect. We’re about to move and it’s time to get ready for filling it with fresh summer produce from the garden and produce market.

Cleaning out your freezer before summer is ideal for those of you who are trying to preserve as much food in season as you can. I stock mine with garden produce (peas, zucchini, turnips, tomatoes, pumpkin, etc.) and with tons of fresh, local fruit like berries, peaches and more!

Here’s how to take inventory of your freezer:

1. Set aside about an hour or hour and a half for this project.

This one actually took me even less time than the Pantry challenge did (about 40 minutes compared to 60-70 minutes). However, I wasn’t digging through a big chest freezer like some of you may be, so I would still allot over an hour in case you need it.

2. Print off or create an inventory sheet.

Just like last time, I printed one off from my ListPlanIt membership. Once again, you can also just make one by taking a blank sheet of paper and separating it into categories of the types of food that are in your freezer (meat, fruit, veggies, meals, breads, etc.). There was also a great tip in the comments section of the Pantry challenge for some printable inventories available from Organized Home.

3. Open up your freezer and empty it out.

Honestly, you have to take it all out. This is simply the most effective way to do it, unless it is like my garage stand-up freezer and isn’t very full or is very well organized. Floor, counters, table, etc. You can do it anywhere you like.

4. Use your inventory page and write down what you find.

Write down absolutely everything in your freezer. Unless it needs to chucked (due to extreme freezer burn or complete lack of indentifiability- I confess to having a few items that fit into those categories), it should be written down. No matter how random or how little there is.

5. Spray it down and wipe it out.

Having an empty freezer is a perfect opportunity to clean it out!

6. Consolidate what’s in there.

I found a box of sausages that only had a few left, so I ditched the box and put them in a smaller bag. I also found 3 partially filled bags of bananas, so I put them all in 1 bag. If you can cut down on packaging or unnecessary bulk, do it.

7. Take some time to re-organize.

Particularly if you have a deep chest freezer, careful organization is crucial. My fridge freezer has no shelving at all, but it helps to have a small plastic shelf in there, as well as large basket. Check out this post for a few more tips for freezer organization.

8. Store your inventory somewhere useful.

I’m keeping  my inventories in my homemaking binder for now, but after next week’s meal planning, I will be putting my pantry inventory on the inside of my pantry door. Your freezer inventory could be taped onto the top of your deep freeze.

9. Take the weekend off and come back next week!

Congrats! You’ve done inventories (and perhaps some cleaning/organizing) of both your pantry and freezer in one week, and it really wasn’t that painful.

Next Tuesday, June 1st we will do a really quick fridge inventory and then do some meal planning. We’ll also do a bit of planning for some food prep/freezing cooking days on Mon/Tues June 7 & 8th.

If you haven’t already, make sure you join the Facebook event page to stay up to date with everything that’s happening!

How is it going for you so far? Did anyone else find mystery meat in their freezer? I’d love to hear about your progress!

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  1. This ones going to be easy for me since I don’t have an extra freezer. (No mystery meat!) That said, we are looking for one and anything that goes into my half freezer or a new full one, is getting put on the inventory list as it gets put away!

    This is such a great series! Thank you.
    .-= Jodi Anderson´s last blog ..through the looking grass =-.

  2. I found a gallon bag of whole, frozen bell peppers from last years garden. Do you have any suggestions with how to use these up in one meal?

    1. @Julie, Is there a reason they need to be eaten in one meal? I’ve done that before where they are all stuck together in one big clump…silly me I should have learned by now…I try to let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes or so and they thaw enough to sort of break off/whack the bag against the counter to break off some pieces. Its not the most pretty looking pieces, but it works. Other than that, you could try to do a giant stir fry, and use it for more than one meal, or make a few things at once like a stir fry using the peppers (with leftovers) and then also dice some up into a batch of spaghetti sauce (for the freezer?) and a batch of chili also on the stove or in the crockpot (for the freezer? or another meal very soon?) that might use them all up…I find frozen peppers are best if you dice them finely into things. Anything tomato based or stir fry based is what we try. I have some to use too. Hope that helps.

  3. This series is neat, so I will come back to it at another time. My freezer is still looking pretty good though from its prior organization. I am pleased its working out well. I just don’t WANT to use all the things in there, LOL. I have frozen rhubarb…but now more fresh in the garden. I also have frozen beets. What was I thinking, I don’t know. Any ideas on how to use those up? I’m talking like 25 bags of rhubarb LOL.

  4. The pantry and freezer inventories have been much easier (and pain free) than I expected. Thank you for the series!! So far, I’ve determined that I have enough food for 6 more meals (not already on my meal plan)… 7, if I buy a small can of tomato paste. Wow! I always thought I was pretty decent about keeping track of my food, but this has been eye opening (in a fabulous way).

    I am hoping to purchase a used deep freezer, so I can start purchasing beef in bulk. The Lord has been dealing with me on being a good steward of what I have now. If I can’t take care of the food in my small freezer, I’m probably not ready for a deep freezer.

    Thanks again!

  5. I am going to go inventory my freezer right now. Thank you so much for this series.

  6. Love this series. I really love all the videos. We are moving in 6 months so this will be a huge help to try and use all the extra food that we have around since we won’t be able to move it.

  7. I’ve really enjoyed this series and I hope to do more freezing this summer after berry picking and the farmers market. I have a couple questions…how long does the fruit and produce last in your freezer and still have flavor? Also when you said you sprayed out your freezer, what did you use? Last, what are your favorite things to freezer – what works best frozen? Thanks for your help! I’m learning a lot!

  8. I have rhubarb in my garden. I made strawberry /rhubarb pie for my husbands birthday. Today I am making rhubarb muffins with nuts and brown sugar topping on it. Looks nice. Will try one later. You can google rhubarb and get lots of recipes. Have a great day.

  9. Yes I found mystery meat. We had a little stray cat show up a week ago and it didn’t seem to bother him much that you couldn’t tell if it was pork or chicken.

  10. Wow that was painless. I dont have a deep freezer so it only took about 15 minutes=)
    I found some pureed sweet potatoes that I will have to make muffins with now that my son wont eat baby food anymore. I found some really old, non grass feed already made hamburger patties, those went in the trash. I hope to be able to freeze some summer produce this year.

  11. Taking an inventory is a good idea, it will involve removing things from the freezer there by giving the opportunity to clean it. Also will give you an idea of what food stuff are really neccessary for the home and what is not.

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