Freezer Cleanup: Deep Freeze

Like I mentioned, I already cleaned our upstairs freezer a couple weeks ago, and I made an inventory. In that freezer, I found a broken glass jar that I'd frozen chicken broth in, but apparently overfilled. Fun, fun. Along with other miscellaneous old things. 

Bottom of upstairs freezer drawer. I forgot to take a "before" pic of the top. There's still a lot in there, but it went from very messy to very full, but somewhat organized.

Bottom of upstairs freezer drawer. I forgot to take a "before" pic of the top. There's still a lot in there, but it went from very messy to very full, but somewhat organized.

We've had our chest freezer in the basement for less than a year, so it's not in too bad of shape. Still, it was very disorganized and contained some things I couldn't identify or no longer had any chance of consuming. 

A lot of food, but can your find the ground beef? (That suspicious green stuff in the bag on the left is hops, which Eric uses to brew beer.)

A lot of food, but can your find the ground beef? (That suspicious green stuff in the bag on the left is hops, which Eric uses to brew beer.)

Inventory

First, I emptied most of the freezer contents out onto a TV tray (who knows why we put those on our wedding gift list or why someone bought them for us - we don't have a TV now and didn't have one then!) and a chair near the freezer. Then I situated the huge container of peanut oil we use for deep frying (which we strain and reuse) on the bottom, because that makes more sense than having it on top, where it was before. I made a list of the contents as I removed things, making note of how many of each we had, using this method which I read about at the kitchn. Basically, you list everything in the freezer and for multiples, put a circle for each one. Four pounds of ground beef? Four circles. Then, as you use things up, you mark through the circles. It sounds good, right?

Organization

Next, I grouped similar things together. I tried to put the most useful stuff near the top. I grabbed a couple clean reusable bags from the laundry room and filled one with beef products from the quarter longhorn cow we bought last spring, and the other with fish and wild game my dad gave us. 

I set aside a few items: mystery greens, packaged in three small bags inside a larger bag; a small quantity of potstickers from Costco, and a bag of frozen burritos I failed to eat in a timely manner. Honestly, I got kind of sick of burritos. I brought four up and left four down there. I'm going to try to eat four over the next week or so. 

Here are the results: 

You can see the top of one of the bags to the right of the broccoli. I put the broccoli on top to make everything appear healthier. 

You can see the top of one of the bags to the right of the broccoli. I put the broccoli on top to make everything appear healthier. 

Will We Eat This Duck?

Just one of the questions I asked myself while cleaning out of the freezer. Two years ago, Eric's sister went duck-hunting with her dad, then she gave us a frozen duck. I think we have an entire duck, minus head, feathers and innards, frozen in a block of water. Still good? Not good? I'll have to do some research.

I found another bag of what is either mystery meat or frozen peaches. It's a Cabela's bag, which make me think it's wild game, but I don't know what sort of meat looks like peaches, so I left it down there. 

And what are we doing with a $50 pork butt? Only Eric knows... All I have to say is that for $50, it better be delicious.

Thoughts on Wild Game

I grew up around hunters. My dad hunts, my uncles hunt, my brother hunts, most of my parents' friends hunt (well, the husbands anyway). And everyone fished. I grew up knowing how to shoot, reload shells, pluck a duck, filet a fish... At age nine, I probably could have survived if I'd been abandoned in the woods, which is more than I'd say for myself now. 

Then I went away to college, became a vegan, and stayed that way for a long time. 

Now I eat meat again. At first, I was very focused on eating only humanely raised and slaughtered meat. Then my standards loosened up. 

But the thing I feel worst about wasting is wild game and fish. Part of me thinks I should be less bad about that than wasting the results of animal that had a shitty life to begin with, penned up with hundreds of the same, with no freedom or sunshine. But no, I feel bad about that duck Eric's sister gave us. 

Whatever else there is to say about it (quite a bit, but I'll save it for another time), a lot of work went into getting that duck into our freezer and I feel bad about leaving it there. 

The List

I'm going to keep the list for the chest freezer upstairs with the one for the fridge freezer, which is clipped to the side of the fridge. I've already crossed a couple things off that one, but I've added some, too. I'm going to keep working on it, until I'm sure there's nothing old in the freezer that needs to be eaten. 

My goal is to have a freezer stocked with foods I'll actually use in a timely manner. I haven't gotten so far as to have any idea what should be in the freezer. If I was making a list, it would probably have ice, ground beef, fruit for smoothies, ice, juice concentrate, vegetables, ice and chicken broth. And maybe diced onions. Did I mention ice? I might be a little single-minded because the ice maker is still broken. 

In Summary

"In summary" might have been my two favorite words in college. YES! Finally, the end! Okay, maybe I wasn't the best student. 

Yesterday, Eric asked me either what my goal was the freezer cleanup or what I was going to do with the rest of the week. I can't remember the question exactly, but I answered that I was going to try to eat through the freezer. 

And that's still what I've got in mind. Today, I ate half a bag of peas that had solidified into a solid chunk, and it turned out they were fine. I'll keep you posted with the rest of it. 

Week 33: Household- Freezer Cleanup

  1. Chest Freezer and Thoughts on Meat
  2. Freezer Cleanup Thoughts