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Canning, Freezing and Drying: Need Help with the "HOW TOs of FREEZER STORAGE, 101"...

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Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

October 5, 2009
3:09 PM

Post #7137027

Those of you with freezing experience and know-how, please share your tips, tricks, and advice on this thread for a newbie!

I'm having serious difficulty with freezer storage. I did not grow up with a stand-alone freezer, or a long-term freezer storage example to follow. We probably had enough food in a refrigerator freezer (the top part) to last about 3-4 weeks -- stuff like chicken, beef stew, ground beef, pig tails and pickle meat for red beans, some pork chops, & link sausage. Then it got filled all over again. Past that timeframe, and those meats, I'm getting seriously overwhelmed with issues like:

"How to organize Your Freezer"
"What Freezer models are best for Meateaters and Veggie Gardeners?"
"How to avoid the dreaded Freezer Burn"
"How to identify what's in that freezer package"
"Is it still safe to eat?"
"How to keep track of what's in the freezer?"

Thanks!
rucky
Huffman, TX
(Zone 9a)

October 7, 2009
11:22 AM

Post #7143777

Your worrying to much but I will tell you to deffinatly get a good quality vacuum sealer. If you have a good seal and product (meat or veggie) is under a good vacuum,most will last for a couple of years and there is a label on the bags for marking whats inside and and the date you put it in the freezer. The nicest feature of the bags is you can see quickly whats inside. I am a fisherman and I used to store my fish in water in zip lock baggies they were round once frozen and fell out of our upright freezer when we opened the door now with the vacuum sealer no water is required to keep the fish fresh tasteing and they are flat and stack much easyer. My preference is an upright freezer because things tend to get lost down under in a box freezer but thats just preference. Freezer burn doesn't mean that the meat is not safe to eat but it will not taste good, as long as your food stays frozen it will be safe to eat.We rotate foods as they go in the freezer. new stuff to the back old stuff to the front we also try to keep foods organized together meats on one shelf veggies on another etc, If you have little kide I would recomend on with a lock even though all new freezers can be opened with a push and no latch I tend to vie on the side of caution. ...rucky P.S. if you buy bread fresh and put it in the freezer fresh you can take what you need out of the bag put the remainder back in set the bread on the counter with it wrapped in a paper towel and in a few minutes its as good as the day you bought it.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

October 7, 2009
4:38 PM

Post #7144631

Rucky,
Thanks for your feedback. Very helpful. We actually have one 'a those vacuum sealers, just haven't been using it. Where do you get your replacement sealer bags?

Also, I'm agreeing 100% about things getting lost down in the box freezer. We have one, and short of keeping an inventory sheet on the outside of the box, after awhile there's no telling what's inside!

Thanks, again!

Linda
rucky
Huffman, TX
(Zone 9a)

October 7, 2009
6:01 PM

Post #7144832

I buy replacement bags at Walmart they are usually where they sell the vacuum sealers if you don't have the sealer that stores the roll and has a cutter I recomend useing the bags. they are so much easier and you might try buying milk crates and seperating your frozen items so they are easier to keep up with just a sugestion I'm not even sure if it will work.I meant to tell you earlier that the only time we had to worry about anything in the freezer going bad was after Hurricane Ike we were without electricity for about 5 weeks but luckily I try to allways be prepared I had a generator and kept the refrigerator and the freezer one widow unit a/c and of course the TV. All the important things. I checked the freezer everyday because it was full of fish and venison and I didn't want to loose it. I don't even know why I threw that in but I did :) have a good day...rucky

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

October 7, 2009
6:46 PM

Post #7144966

Thanks again, Rucky!

We kept 3 freezers full, and the fridge going for a week after Ike. You're a trooper to last 5 weeks on a generator. Although, I did figure out how to get to the front of all the gasoline lines at the corner gas station, so never waited in long gas lines to fill the gas cans!
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

October 8, 2009
11:53 AM

Post #7147311

Gymgirl ~ when you pack meats to freeze (chicken, beef, fish) if you don't vacuum pack, just fill the package with water which will eliminate air and seal with no air. It will prevent freezer burn. I've used venison frozen in water that is 9 YO with no change in the taste.

I don't worry about inventorying what is in the freezer. I've a chest and when I defrost, I find buried treasures at the bottom. I've had both upright and chest and don't know which I will purchase next time. The upright allowed food to be more accessible but I have trouble keeping shoes on and had many a bruised toe when a frozen rock of meat hit my foot while rummaging in the upright freezer. But the real aversion I had to an upright was everytime the door was opened, the cold air would rush out on the floor making me feel it was not energy efficient. I do like the smaller footprint an upright makes on floor space though.

If you hadn't been here... this thread has info on organizing freezer storage ~ http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1043868/

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

October 8, 2009
2:36 PM

Post #7147808

THANKS, POD! Really great info!

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