Only having a small freezer means I need to make the most of every inch of space. Try these tips make the most of your Freezer Space
How to make the most of your Freezer Space. Regular readers of my blog will know that I buy a lot of reduced food – it saves us an absolute fortune and helped me cut my food bill by almost £150 a month. The only problem with buying a lot of short dated food is that is needs to be used up much more quickly. While I won’t throw something away just because it’s a few minutes past the use by date, it is easy to put bits in the fridge and forget they are there. In turn, this means I end up freezing a lot of food. This is great because obviously it preserves the food and it lasts for much longer. What is not so great, however, is that I only have a tiny freezer. This means I really need to make the most of every last inch of space. Here are my top tips for making the most of your freezer space.
Re-Package food before freezing
The biggest thing that will help you make the most of your freezer space is repackaging as much food as possible into smaller containers. We all know that a lot of food comes with far more packaging than is strictly necessary. For example, Salmon Fillets come in quite a big plastic packet, far bigger than the pieces of salmon themselves. Rather than just shoving the whole thing in the freezer I take them out and do one of the following;
- Wrap the fillets individually in cling film. Freezing them individually means I can get just one out should I need it and therefore helps eliminate waste.
- Pop in a resealable freezer bag – these are great as they can be reused (provided they are cleaned well between uses)
- Put in a small plastic container – rather than buying endless Tupperware I always keep the containers that Chinese/Indian Takeaway comes in and use these for freezing food. They are perfect for popping lefts overs in too.
When freezing food it’s important to label it clearly with the date it was frozen, how long it should be frozen for and what it is. Even though this is a habit well ingrained in me from working as a chef I still don’t always remember to do it at home – we had an incident a few weeks ago where we thought we’d got chicken out of the freezer for the tea – turns out it was pork!
Keeping the Freezer Tidy
There are lots of ways I like to keep my freezer tidy. This stops me having random bits of food all over the place and help prevent loads of food falling out every time I open the freezer door.
- I use large tubs – such as an old 2 liter ice cream tub – to store smaller bits of food, such as the individually wrapped bits of salmon I mentioned earlier. I also do this with chicken breasts – as there are just two of us I don’t always need to use the 4 or 5 fillets that come in a pack in one go. I split them up into one or two breast portions and get them out as I need them.
- I like to keep my freezer in sections for different things – the top shelf is full of plastic takeaway containers all stacked neatly on top of one another. These contain a combination of things – leftovers, stock, meat, potatoes and roasted vegetables. We have regular batch cooking days where we make things in huge portions and then freeze them down. This helps us to have quick and easy dinners ready to go when we don’t feel like doing much cooking.
- I keep the bottom draw for frozen veggies and chips – these are best stored together as they are the same shape.
Making the most of every inch of space
To really make the most of your Freezer Space you really need to use every last inch. There is one often neglected area of the freezer that can be utilized well if you know how – the ice cube tray drawer. How many people actually use this for ice cubes? Even if you do, do you actually use the whole space? Buying a few extra ice cube trays and using them to store food could help you make the most of those last few inches of space – here are some suggestions for filling up ice cube trays with tasty food
- Left over herbs – we all know fresh herbs don’t last longer (especially for me when I’m usually buying them from the reduced section!) chop them finely and then place into an ice cube tray to freeze. Pop out a cube or two when need and add to whatever you are cooking – it will defrost in a matter of seconds when placed into a bubbling casserole or curry. Also perfect for adding to the slow cooker.
- Ice cube trays can be filled with homemade stock – again just pop out as many or as few as you need each time you cook.
- Left over wine – apparently there is such a thing! – freeze in an ice cube tray and pop into sauces and casseroles as needed to add flavor.
- Fill with pureed fruit for making smoothies in a hurry – this is also a great way to use up fruit that is on the cusp of going overripe, especially if, like me, you buy the majority of you fruit from the reduced section.
Make sure everything is full
Make the most of your Freezer Space by making sure there are no boxes or tubs with next to nothing in. Similarly to repackaging fresh food, I also try not to put an almost empty container back into the freezer. It’s so easy to do this, especially food that comes in tubs such as ice cream, or food that comes in boxes like battered fish. Remember ice cream can be scooped into a smaller Tupperware tub – it’s also nice having scoops of ice cream ready to go at a later date. Food that comes in boxes like breaded fish and chicken I don’t usually decant until I’ve used half the contents. It’s so easy just to shove the box back in the freezer only half full – but re wrapping will save so much space for other things.
List everything you have
Keeping a list of everything you have in the freezer is a great idea. There have been so many occasions when I’ve spent ages rummaging through out freezer, undoing all my tidying trying to find something I’m convinced should be there only to find I’s forgotten we had eaten it. Updating a list once a week after shopping can save a lot of time and hassle. It can also help with meal planning to know exactly what you have in the freezer and what you might need to buy. Francesca from at Pennies to Pounds has a great post on meal planning here.
If you’re unsure about which foods can and can’t be frozen check out this post from Be Clever With Your Cash
Do you have any tips to make the most of your freezer space?