Create a Freezer Inventory List to Save Your Sanity
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There are a lot of perks to having a chest freezer: you can take better advantage of sales on things that need to be frozen, buy more meat on sale and bake larger quantities of treats for future use. It really does pay for itself when you consider how small a freezer is in a freezer/fridge combo unit. One thing I have been asked, is “How do you know what you have in your freezer?” Simple. I have a Freezer Inventory List!
At the beginning of the month, I have a complete list of what is in my freezer that I whipped up on my word processing software (Open Office). I group it by meats, freezer meals for the slow cooker or Instant Pot, baked goods, frozen vegetables and freezer meals for the oven. As the month progresses, I cross off what we use as we use it. When I go shopping or have that big baking session? I write on the paper what we add to the freezer during the month. That “running a Freezer Inventory List” gets updated each month.
At the end of the month, I go back into my list on the computer, and delete what items we have crossed off over the month. I then put a * next to the original items on the list that are still there. Then, it is time to add in what we bought or baked over the course of the month. I now have a fresh list to print off and place on the refrigerator for the new month.
How long does it last?
There is a magic rule of thumb for food: the number 4. Food shouldn’t sit out for more than 4 hours before you have to start worrying about food poisoning. Leftovers have 4 days in the fridge, then the fuzzy stuff is starting to grow, even if you can’t see it with the human eye. 4 months is the rule if an item is moved to the freezer, unless you are talking whole chickens and turkeys – those babies can live happily there for a year.
Make Sure You Rotate it
If you understand that, then you can understand my * concept! The * tells me it is an older item on my list and I need to try to use it first. If it doesn’t get used that second month it becomes a ** item and becomes a greater priority. If I am looking at *** ? That item HAS to be used the that month or it was a waste of money and time to bring home. The longer something sits in your freezer the worse the quality of it becomes. Cured meats like bacon, sausage and ham get saltier. Frozen green peas turn into green raisins. Ice crystals form on random items…
To keep it simple: the * is keeps my inventory rotated, food from getting too old or “freezer burnt”, and makes me seem more organized. We no longer have UFOs (unidentified frozen objects) or throw a big bag of stuff out every 6 months. Let’s face it – you aren’t really saving money on food if you just bring it home and let it set until you have to throw it out!
Do you know what is in YOUR Freezer right now? I challenge you to do a freezer clean out! Toss the UFOs, make a list of what you put back in and post that list on the fridge – you will thank me later. I promise!