I honestly think freezers are one of the best inventions of the modern age. Besides allowing for the ultra-important storage of ice cream, historically, the ability to freeze and preserve food has been a game-changer. I wholeheartedly embrace this modern ability — and perhaps a bit too much.
Only three months after moving into a new place, I could hardly open my freezer door without something falling on me. If I look back, my freezer situation during university is probably what has made me go so extreme. During my undergrad, I shared a fridge-freezer with two to four roommates at a time. This meant playing what we affectionally dubbed “Freezer Tetris,” a true testament of our problem-solving skills. During my postgrad, I lived alone in a studio apartment equipped with only a small mini-fridge. The built-in freezer could hardly hold a pint of ice cream. So, when I moved into my own place after graduation, a place that came with a full-sized fridge, I suddenly had a whole fridge-freezer to myself. I went a little bananas (both figuratively and literally — the amount of overripe bananas stored in my freezer is alarming).
Once the freezer avalanches began, though, I knew that I needed to change how I was using my freezer. Don’t get me wrong — freezers can be a great resource for saving money, which is probably why mine became so full. I wanted to stock up on easy, freezer prep meals so that I would be less tempted to order in come dinner time. Cooking for one can be expensive, so being able to buy in bulk and freeze extras resulted in savings. Produce that was about to go bad could be frozen to lengthen its shelf life.
On paper, I was doing all the right things to save money, but the result was a frozen stockpile that could last through an apocalypse. I’ve started restructuring my approach to frozen foods. I still think freezing food is a great option to save time and money, but I’m going about it differently. Here are five ways I am turning around my freezer use for the better.
1. Keeping a list of freezer contents on my fridge.
Even though a fridge-freezer isn’t that big, I somehow crammed in so much stuff that I was forgetting what I already had. So, I started to keep a running tally of what was in there and kept this list on the front of my fridge. That way, if I was complaining about having nothing to eat, I was confronted by the reality of my options. Or, if I was making up a grocery list, I could easily see what I already had and, therefore, didn’t need to buy. I update this list as I take from the freezer and find that it has been really helping me keep track of what I have and what I actually need.