Last year in the interest of getting more organized in the kitchen and reducing the amount of our food that went to the chickens or into the compost pile, I started to focus on how to use our freezer better. Having worked in the restaurant industry for years before running the galley on the Riggin for the past 20 plus years, I already had a good process around rotating refrigerator stock, shopping to a list, and using up leftovers. But the freezer, on the other hand, was a place where perfectly good food went only to emerge some months (years?) later as unidentified mystery items destined for the compost pile.
Like most habits that end up sticking, it’s the simple things that matter. Simple changes. Simple processes.
Use Matching Containers
What I found was the simple process of labeling made a huge difference. The next thing I discovered, and I know this might begin to sound like a Marie Kondo ad, but using containers that matched and could rest on top of each other really worked.
The ability to stack the smaller containers on top of each other is key. Also, with the containers the same size, everything just fits nicely and just naturally organizes better. I have a bottom freezer, so labeling the tops of the containers makes it so I can see all of the labels at a glance without moving things around much. If you have a top freezer, then the labels should go on the side of the container for the same reason – you can see them at a glance.
As for the storage containers themselves, I bought a sleeve of pint and quart-sized freezer containers and another sleeve of interchangeable lids. Normally, I am not a fan of buying plastic. Period. But after trying to use recycled yogurt containers with the lids popping off on a regular basis (yes, that would be the lids with the labels on them) I gave up and switched. And I gotta say, it worked.
Here are a couple of tips that I found helpful:
- Use pint- and quart-sized freezer containers that match
- If freezing a pasta dish or pot pie, use an oven proof container so you can reheat in the oven
- Use interchangeable lids
- Label the top of the lids for a bottom or chest freezer and the side of the containers for a top freezer
- Store the containers, labels, and permanent marker together
- Use freezer bags for irregular shaped items or what won’t fit into a quart-sized container
Organized and loving it! Stay tuned for more posts in this series.