Friday, October 16, 2009

Stockpiling: What Can I Freeze?

This is Part I of a series of stockpiling solutions: What Can I Freeze?

When I started stockpiling food and pantry items, I was worried because we have a small house. We don't have much cabinet space for pantry items. We also have a small refrigerator and I had no idea how I could have room for stockpiling. So I had to get creative without spending alot of money. That's the idea of couponing and stockpiling, right?

First of all, check your local Craigslist for an inexpensive freezer. We were able to snag one for $100. It's a nice Kenmore freezer that's only a couple of years old. Thankfully it's still working! You can also sign up to local Freecycle Yahoo groups. Freecycling is a wonderful way to get rid of things you don't need anymore but are still in good condition that someone else can use. People are always upgrading or moving or downsizing and you might be able to get one for FREE!

So in your freezer you probably have a bag of ice or a tray of ice, some frozen vegetables and maybe, just maybe, if you dig around in there, you might find half a Popsicle lurking about. At least that's what I found in my freezer when I cleaned it out. I routinely deep clean my Refrigerator/Freezer twice a year. Removing old things to make room for new things.

It's important to label everything that is not in it's original packaging. You think you'll remember what is going into each bag, but trust me, you'll forget. Keep a sharpie marker in a drawer in the kitchen. You'll always know where it is and it's in arms reach from the fridge. Also keep freezer storage baggies in the kitchen cabinets. I keep mine in the cabinet where I store our plastic storage containers (i.e. rubbermaid, tupperware...) You can stockpile storage baggies when they go on sale -- you'll be surprised how often Walgreens has their baggies for $.99 a box.

Keeping food organized in the freezer, prevents it from getting freezer burn and getting too old to eat. Here are the recommendations from North Dakota State University about food items you can put in your freezer and how long each can stay in there. (I also referenced a Weight Watchers 2004 cookbook for some of this information.)

Breads, Pastries, Cakes
  • unbaked rolls and bread - 1 month
  • baked breads - 2 months
  • baked muffins - 6-12 months
  • waffles - 1 month
  • unbaked fruit pies - 2-4 months
  • baked cookies - 6-12 months
  • freezer pie shells - 1 year
  • cookie dough - 3 months
  • unfrosted baked cakes - 2-4 months
  • frosted baked cakes - 1 month
  • angel food and fruit cakes - 6-12 months
  • hard cheeses - 3 months
  • soft cheeses - 2 weeks
  • egg substitute - 6 months
  • egg whites - 6 months
  • egg yolks - 8 months
  • ice cream, sherbet - 1 month
Fruits and Vegetables
  • commercially frozen fruit - 1 year
  • commercially frozen vegetables - 8-12 months
Meats, Poultry and Seafood

Beef, Lamb and Veal

  • Ground, uncooked and all cuts, cooked - 3 months
  • Roasts and steaks, uncooked - 9 month
  • Ground, uncooked, and all cuts, cooked - 3 months
  • Roasts and chops, uncooked - 6 months
  • All cuts, cooked - 1 month
  • Boneless or bone-in pieces, uncooked - 6 months
  • Bass, perch, trout and shellfish - 3 months
  • Cod, flounder and halibut - 6 months
What kinds of things do you routinely freeze?


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