Don’t let food go bad! Organize your freezer

With the warmer weather comes my impatience for our community supported agriculture (CSA) share to begin. For a flat fee to Good Work Farm, we receive a weekly allotment of greens, squash, herbs, and other farm goodies. This financial arrangement gives the farm money when they need it most — in the spring when they are buying seeds and equipment — and gives us wholesome local food and the opportunity to try new veggies while saving grocery shopping time.

Recently, my friend Lois Sunflower of Bear Honey Farms in Bath asked how to organize a freezer. As I’m about to begin the onslaught of fresh produce, this question has been on my mind as well. We’ve learned that we need to have our kitchen in good working order before the CSA begins, or face a culinary traffic jam. Here’s how to do it:

  • Empty the freezer, grouping everything by category (vegetables, meats, etc.). Discard anything unsafe, and give the freezer a good scrub.
  • If you have trouble remembering what you have, make a list. This is especially helpful if you have a second freezer in another part of the house. Keep it simple: Item – Date put in freezer – Use by date – Quantity. See the image above for an example. The Quantity block is wide, so we can cross off the current number and write in the new. A few times a year we redo the list to clean up the scribbles. Keep the list in the kitchen to make meal planning easier. You might want to log the items in the kitchen freezer as well; just add another column for Location.
  • Restock the freezer, keeping your categories together. When adding new items, try to stack them evenly. Any weird frozen shapes will be with you until the item thaws.
  • Label everything! Painters tape survives freezing and still removes from most storage containers easily. Black marker on light colored tape is easiest to read in the depths of the freezer.
  • Organize before a big change, not during. With my first CSA pickup happening this week, I’ll be doing this soon. I recommend clients do a fridge and freezer cleanout a week or two before big holidays and events to make room for the extra bounty.

There you have it! Keep your inventory up-to-date, keep your categories together, and expect to give it a once-over a couple times a year.

And if you want to find a CSA close to home, check out Local Harvest.

Live simply,
Organize. Reclaim. Emerge.