Declutter the Freezer

Keep your frozen assets in order by following these cleaning and storage tips.

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Organizing the freezer
Unlike refrigerators, which need a free flow of air to stay cool, freezers operate most efficiently when they are full. However, a full freezer is a dangerous landscape that allows food to go hidden until it is no longer edible. Keep an organized freezer with these tips:

  • Label, label, label! Labeling frozen foods is key to keeping an organized freezer. Label each package ? homemade or commercial ? with the food's name, number of servings and the date it was added to the freezer. Use a permanent marker pen to write directly on zipper freezer storage bags or freezer paper; stick a computer address label on freezer containers. Hint for computer users: print label sheets of commonly frozen foods ("hamburger patties," "spaghetti sauce," "chicken pieces") to make quick work of feeding the freezer.
  • Date everything. To manage frozen foods efficiently, you need to know whether they are fresh. Remember to always write a date on every package added to the freezer. Make sure that you rotate foodstuffs so that new foods go behind older packages.
  • Organize a large freezer by category. Keep all casseroles in one area; frozen beef roasts and steaks in another part of the freezer. Frozen chicken and turkey should live in the bottom basket of the freezer where they are easy to grab.
  • Use freezer baskets. Flat-bottomed baskets support floppy freezer bags and organize freezer contents. Place all frozen vegetables in one basket, upended loaves of sandwich bread in another. Specialty freezer organizers are designed to fit together, and won't crack in cold temperatures; they're a good option for chest freezers.
  • Think square. When freezing homemade soups or stews, use square or rectangular plastic freezer containers to store them in rather than round ones. Squared-off containers fit together neatly and take up considerably less space than cylindrical shapes.
  • Rotate for freshness. When adding new foods to the freezer, store them behind existing products and use the oldest foods first.

Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer

Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited

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