If you’ve spent a whole day batch cooking, the last thing you want is for all your hard work to be ruined by not storing the food correctly. Whether you’ve got a single freezer drawer in your kitchen or a separate tall freezer in the garage, there never seems to be enough room to hold everything you want. Luckily, there are a number of simple things you can do to make the most of your freezer space, and so increase the number of meals you can store, thus making your meal planning easier.
How to Organise your Freezer
#1 A full freezer is more economic to run than one which is only half full, so if you’ve got big gaps in your freezer, fill them with bottles of water!
#2 Make sure you have an up-to-date Inventory of everything in your freezer or you will spend your evenings hunting for food, rather than cooking it. See: How to do an Inventory.
#3 Separate the food into portions before freezing it, so that you don’t have to chip bits of casserole off a block and guess how many it will serve. You also don’t want to be defrosting the whole thing and refreezing part of it – hello, tummy bug!
#4 Where you can, use freezer bags to store food. Fill the bags with your liquid (this works well for sauces, stocks and soups), push out the excess air and freeze them flat. Then, you can stack them on a shelf or stand them all on their ends once they’ve solidified and it will take up much less room in your freezer. See: Freezer Storage Systems.
#5 Label everything! Don’t serve shepherd’s pie only to discover it’s chilli con carne…
#6 Make sure the food is completely cold before you put it in the freezer or the heat from the new food might cause the food in the freezer to start to defrost.
#7 If you defrost a raw protein, DO NOT REFREEZE IT unless you cook it first.
#8 Wrap things up correctly, to prevent freezer burn.
#9 Make sure you know what food items freeze well. See: To Freeze or not To Freeze for my downloadable checklist.
#10 Defrost your freezer regularly so that it works to its best ability.
#11 Take things out of the packets, where you can, to take up less room in the freezer. Don’t forget to label!
Look around the house to see what other storage systems you could reuse for your freezer: binder clips allow you to hang freezer bags beneath the shelves; plastic baskets and bins are great for holding similar items; plastic milk bottles can be used to hold diced onions.