My freezer is a life-saver for food storage. I have the freezer attached to my kitchen fridge and a large outdoor freezer for bulk items.
In my large freezer, I keep things that I do not use on a daily basis.
Today, I have:
4 turkeys: I can get turkeys for less than a dollar a pound during the holidays. They have so much meat and can be thawed to grill in the summer or cooked for soups and casseroles throughout the year. Sometimes, I will pull one out July 25, for a Christmas in July dinner.
10# Brown Jasmine Rice: I buy brown rice in bulk from Azure Standard (not a sponsor). Brown rice is a wonderful whole grain and a great source of fiber. We usually eat rice at least two times a week. It is great, healthy side and works well with a lot of different dishes. I store the rice is quart or gallon Ziplock bags. Rice does not need to be frozen, but I buy it in 30-50# bags and like to know it is in a place where bugs cannot get into it or rodents will not bite through bags.
20# Gluten Free Oats: We do not eat gluten free, but we have people in our home every week who cannot eat it, so to keep things simple, I just buy 30-50# in bulk from Azure Standard. It keeps things simple if when I bake items, such as apple crisp, oat bars, or oatmeal cookies. I freeze oats to keep them from going rancid and to keep out unwanted critters.
10 gallons of bags full of frozen chicken stock. I make my own chicken stock. I like to can it, so it is easy to use, so on occasion I will gather up all my stock into one big pot and can it. But I also find it easy to freeze stock in flat in quart or gallon freezer bags and just melt it to use.
My indoor freezer is where I keep items I use frequently. Like some people, there are items that I buy on occasion like frozen juice pop-cycles for the children in the summer, or that my husband will buy, such as ice cream or toaster strudels.
On a regular basis, the staples I keep in my freezer part of the refrigerator are:
Frozen bananas: I skin and put browning bananas in a freezer bag. I use them later for banana bread or smoothies.
Frozen Berries: I keep bulk bags of strawberries and blueberries. They are usually used for smoothies, but occasionally, I will have a bowl of frozen fruit as a healthy sweet or mix them in plain yogurt with a little stevia for a quick frozen yogurt,
Frozen Vegetables: I buy most of our produce fresh, but I do keep frozen peas and frozen corn regularly. Fresh corn on the cob is hard work and not always in season. And my children love to eat frozen peas as a vegetable at dinner. That is right! I don’t even cook them. I put them frozen from a bag into a bowl and the children really like them that way. I do buy frozen broccoli and carrots on occasion, but fresh is usually so close in price it is not a money saver. Peas and corn are usually a dollar or less per bag and easy to serve when my fresh produce is running low.
Frozen Ground Beef: I buy organic, grass-fed ground beef in three packs on sale. I choose organic, mainly because I know it doesn’t have added hormones. Since there are four females in our home, I consider hormone health a priority. I settled on organic beef for that reason.
Frozen Ground Turkey: Poultry does not have added hormones whether it is organic or not, so I do not seek out the organic poultry. Ground turkey can be bought in a 1lb. roll at Aldi for a little less than 3$ a pound. It is lean, cheap, and an easy meat to use. I like it for tacos and chili.
Frozen Fish: If our budget allows, I will buy frozen wild caught salmon. Right now, I have frozen cod in the freezer, but in general I like to keep salmon due to its high omega. Sockeye salmon is my first choice because of its supreme health benefits, but I will often settle for less expensive options, rather than have no fish at all.
Frozen Chicken: I buy whole chickens, rarely pre-cut chicken parts. Whole chickens can be stewed, grilled, or roasted easily. A whole chicken can work for a couple meals for our family. I use the bones to make stock once the meat has been eaten.
Frozen Meals: The meals I have in our freezer are usually home-made, but I do buy fish sticks or chicken nuggets on occasion. I like try to get the healthiest options I can find, but they are not a staple, so I don’t feel bad having a quick meal for those days when I need an emergency plan. My children are big enough to heat the oven and warm up breaded fish or chicken. Usually, when I make a casserole or chili or something. I will double the recipe and freeze half. Or serve it one time, (like chili) and put the rest in the freezer for another day. Those meals are nice to pull out to give to someone in need, or use ourselves when I don’t have ingredients or a good meal plan.
Bacon: Bacon is a great meat to have on hand. I usually buy it in bulk. I can serve it up with pancakes, or use it in cooking. It makes the ordinary seem special just by its presence. I try to get brands that have little to no sugar and as few ingredients as possible too. I do not worry about nitrites and nitrates. As long as the bacon isn’t blackened, those are not necessarily carcinogen.
Nuts: I keep a lot of nuts on hand for snacking mostly, but I do use them for baking and salads as well. I usually have walnuts, slivered almonds, and pecans. I pour bulk bags of nuts into jars and freeze the nuts to keep the nut oils fresh until I need to refill my pantry nut jars.
Yeast and Xanthium Gum: I keep these two items in the freezer to preserve their freshness. It is simply where they must be stored. I do not use xanthium gum much, but for gluten-free recipes it comes in handy on occasion.
That wraps it up! My freezer is certainly a very important part of our kitchen. It saves us money as well as allows me to have items on hand for a quick meal.