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Life Hack: How To Declutter Your Freezer

by Andrea Chinalai February 13, 2017

Over the years, I have become a major victim of the "throw it in the freezer and it will be eaten sooner or later" syndrome.  

*That slow cooked brisket sounds tasty but I can't recall when it made its way into the freezer.
*A banana nut muffin sure sounds good but it's now covered in freezer burn.
*A few instances of "I don't even know what is in this container."
*Guilt over 7 containers of ready-to-blend smoothies from Daily Harvest that I swear I'm going to start using tomorrow.
*Is that a pouch of frozen breast milk I see in the back?

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Deciding that I was going to stage my own intervention, I first began researching how long specific items last in the freezer. A simple Google search provided the following info:
Many foods should probably be chucked between 1 - 3 months. 
WHAT?!
Don't freak out just yet! This is more a guideline for quality and taste. Frozen foods, if stored properly, actually remain safe indefinitely. 

According to Foodsafety.gov, the 1-3 month quality mark includes hotdogs, bacon, sausage, lunchmeat, chicken nuggets or patties, pizza, soups and stews.  Ground meats remain tasty for 3 - 4 months. Fresh chicken and meat may keep for 4 - 12 months.

Although I find this info super helpful, I don't want to deal with the hassle of researching each food, every time something new enters the freezer. I decided to check in with my favorite recipe/cooking site - TheKitchn.com.

They provide advice that is a little more digestible (pun intended):  Freezer burn is the foe of any frozen food. It sucks out the foods moisture leaving you with a less tasty product. When does freezer burn tend to creep in? The standard is three months.

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Moral of the story - that 4 month old mint chocolate chip ice cream? It probably still tastes delish as long as there is no freezer burn present.

Moving forward here are my #freezergoals:

  • Use plastic bags for freezer food storage. Suck the air out to create a vacuum seal that will fight off freezer burn longer.
  • Mark EVERYTHING with the date it is entering the freezer.
  • Make an effort to defrost and eat items in the freezer before the 3 month freezer burn mark (so I can get off the merry-go-round of "eh Ill eat that next week," and then find that pizza wrapped in tinfoil a year later).

Oh, and if you're wondering, I defrosted that breastmilk from 5 months earlier and gave it to my toddler when he had a cold. Liquid gold!

 




Andrea Chinalai
Andrea Chinalai

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