Keeping a freezer inventory is vital to getting the most out of your freezer cooking experience. The best use for your freezer and quality assurance for your freezer meals is to use them and replace them often.
Overall the contents of your freezer should change about four times a year. This means that you are using the food you buy and the meals you make and getting some value for your hard work.
Some things will be kept longer, for example those garden fresh veggies you want to save until the middle of winter or if you buy meat ‘by the side,’ half a cow, pig or lamb at a time, you'll want to keep those items longer.
No one likes to find that chicken meal from a year ago or ground beef that is 3 years. But the question is how do you keep track of what is in the freezer and how long it's been there?
A freezer inventory is key, it should be a well organized, simple guide to the contents of your freezer so you know what is in there without even opening the door.
This section should also include the amount frozen and the amount still in the freezer without extra work. I make a slash for every package I freeze and make that slash into an X when I pull a package out to use.
The bonus to a chorological list is that when your making your meal plan you can check the list is see what you need to use and add it to your plan for the week. This helps you keep rotating through the contents of your freezer.
Also, not all items can be frozen as long as others and with this method I don’t feel like I need to keep checking dates to see if I have to use something up. As long as you know there are four packages in the freezer and take out the one with the oldest date on the label you’ll be fine.
I do like to put the date on the top of the page that way I know which page is most recent and can look back later to see how fast certain meals get eaten so I can make more of them in the future.
Getting Started With A Freezer Inventory.
The first time you organize your inventory sheet will be the hardest because you have to figure out what is already in your freezer, how old it is and how many you have.
I recommend going one section at a time. I have an upright freezer so I go by shelves, if you have a chest freezer you might need to use baskets or maybe use paper as some sort of mark of where you left off. And believe me you’ll want to take breaks. You’ll get cold digging though your whole freezer.
Updating your Freezer Inventory
This article is one of a four part series on the basics of freezers cooking. The four articles include what foods can freeze, how to prevent freezer burn, how to thaw frozen food and keeping a freezer inventory.
Want to talk to me about freezer cooking? I'm on Twitter @FavFreezerFoods
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