Do you have UFOs in your freezer?

Filed in Blog by on May 23, 2010 12 Comments
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It's time to sort out the freezer

It's time to sort out the freezer

It’s a good time of year for a spring clean and one of my procrastination jobs is defrosting the freezer.

I hate doing it – it’s messy, time consuming and fills me with dread every time I think about it.

But I have a couple of inches of ice on one two of the shelves, so something clearly needs doing about it.

You know how it is – some jobs are easier to do when you have company, so I’m inviting you to join me! Fortunately, great minds think alike and Hollie Acton, one of our friends on Facebook, shared her tip the other week when I asked about reducing food waste.ย  She said “plan out your meals and have a monthly clearout. ie eat what’s in the freezer/fridge/cupboards first then do a new store cupboard shop. I’m currently eating my way through my frozen leftovers. It’s making for much more interesting cooking, although I do need to go to the shop to get some milk and butter to use the last of my frozen blackberries”.

So for the next week, two weeks, month – however long you need – save yourself some money, prevent food waste and start using up things from the freezer.

When you’re through it’s time for a grand defrost and clean. Check the seals, vacuum the coils at the back and you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint too as a freezer in good working order uses less electricity to run.

Keep your freezer filled to about 3/4 capacity. If you don’t have enough food to fill the spaces then pack old milk jugs with water in them or stuff newspaper in there to take up the space. You need to allow space for air to circulate, but not have wide open plains in there.

I’ve taken a food inventory and have the following to use up:

frozen soft fruit from last summer
couple of home made chicken hotpots
few yogurt pots full of home made soup
couple of UFOs – unidentified freezer objects
assorted frozen vegetables
lots of baking, some unlabelled!
1 quiche
Some spring rolls

Over on the fabulous More Minimal Blog, Chris Baskind has found some free printable labels that should ensure UFOs and freezer food waste becomes a thing of the past.

What about you – do you need to use things up before they expire and defrost your freezer or are you a bit of a Martha Stewart all year round?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (12)

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  1. Charity says:

    My freezer has a high turnover so I always know exactly what I have in there. Mostly (cardboard-packed) fish fingers and potato waffles and lots of child-sized pots of tomato sauce. I do have a tub of parsnip and chesnut soup that has been lurking for ages, but that’s because nobody really liked it. I haven’t figured out how to improve it yet. I also have a couple of packs of tofu that I’m uninspired about – this is the sort that comes in one big block and is nowhere near as nice as the marinated cubes. Not sure why I bought them really.

  2. Mama Monique says:

    I’m in!

    My freezer really needs a great defrost, but every time there are more leftovers to put in there. Leftovers because most meals are enough for four, while we are with the three of us. But! I will try to eat out of the freezer the next couples of euhhh… weeks?

    Thanks for the push in my back. Keep you posted!

  3. greenlady42 says:

    I have the same problem as Mama Monique – need to do a defrost/cleanout but am constantly putting bits in there ( to avoid wasting food of course :p ) so it never gets empty enough ! I have recently worked my way through all my containers of home made soup though…. I’m up for the challenge but not this week unfortunately as have a hospital procedure coming up which needs some very specific diet preparation, so the freezer bits are out. But by the weekend I should start tackling this little lot :
    4 fish fingers
    3/4 bag of frozen peas
    cup of hm spag bol sauce
    dish of hm cauli cheese
    a chicken breast
    1 garlic baguette
    1 sliced hot cross bun loaf
    2 half loaves wholemeal bread
    3 x containers of hm stock ( 1 is chicken & 2 are lamb but they are not labelled so no clue which is which!)
    bag of semi cooked parsnips
    handful of sliced carrot
    container of mashed swede & carrot

    will also keep you posted ๐Ÿ˜›

  4. Poppy says:

    We had a complete clear out last year of the freezer and the cupboards. It made for some very interesting meals – not the kind of things you would ever find in a recipe book!

    We are due another one though. I blame DH, he is always coming home with things that he considers to be bargains. At the beginning of the weekend he was going to get the large joint of lamb out of the freezer, but decided against. All well and good, but he then bought a large joint of beef that was past it’s normal sell by date. I put that in the over about an hour ago as it was getting dangerously close to looking unappetising!

    I usually avoid red meat for health an conscience reasons, but DH just doesn’t seem to understand.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @Charity: I have some tofu that insists on looking at me every time I open the fridge too! Sounds like your freezer is really organised. The soup sounds yummy – maybe some garlic and herb boursin would jazz it up enough to make palatable?

    @Mama Monique: Hi Mama Monique – great to hear you’re in on the freezer challenge. Feeding 3 can be difficult. I might serve one of the chicken hotpots today to try and get through some of the stuff in there ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good luck!

    @greenlady42: Hope the hospital proceedure goes well, Green Lady. And good luck with your freezer challenge – like you and Monique, I just keep adding to it!

    @Poppy: Poppy, sometimes those meals are the best. Mr G’s eyes light up when I tell him it’s a ‘throw it in a pot’ meal. I hope you managed to enjoy the beef in the end!

  6. Magdalena says:

    I still have some turkey carcasses to make into broth, as well as broth from turkey, beef and lamb. So we are eating more freezer meals. We are down to the last rolled roast from the beef quarter purchased some time ago, and then it will be time to stock up. I have a few frozen meals for us to use in the next two weeks, and then it looks like we will be cleared out. I try to alternate freezer meals with fresh meals, or the family starts to think things are getting a bit grim.

  7. Charity says:

    I made koftas http://www.vegsoc.org/press/2010/nvwkofta.html with one of the two tofu packets, and they were good. Used up some frozen bread ends too to make the crumbs.

    The soup turned out to be mislabelled – it was Thai-style butternut squash and coconut. Unfortunately I only realised afrer chucking some milk and parmesan in it! Oh well, I ate it anyway although it was very odd.

  8. Mrs Green says:

    @Magdalena: ๐Ÿ˜€ I know what you mean about a weeks worth of freezer meals – my two wonder at things too, so I make sure we have fresh things as well. Sounds like you will soon be ready for a defrost if you need one ๐Ÿ˜‰

    @Charity: Ooo, koftas sound great – what a fab idea; thank you! Your soup sounds like it was very rich!

  9. Greenlady says:

    The hospital procedure I will draw a veil over. It was much nastier than they said.

    Back to UFO’s ! The handful of carrots, half the bag of semi cooked parsnips and some of the peas have gone – all in one meal. I roasted the parsnips from frozen, they were great ! I am having a really hard time resisting short dated bargains that I would normally snap up and freeze.

  10. Mrs Green says:

    @Greenlady: Oh Greenlady; I’m so sorry to hear the hospital procedure was not good ๐Ÿ™ It sounds like your freezer is in good shape though; well done for using up all those veggies. I hope you are feeling ok now ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Poppy says:

    One of our seasonal UFOs is the mass of Ice Pops that get left in there when either the weather or the fascination for them dies off. I now remove them out of season and then put them back when the weather warms up. I’m also pleased to say that J has now started copying an idea he picked up from his cousins, and the pops are being refilled, closed off with one of those ever useful bag clips and returned to the freezer for future use. I never would have thought of this, so three cheers for the in-laws ๐Ÿ˜€

    He hasn’t yet had the idea to flavour them, but seems quite happy with these elongated ice cubes ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I’ll have to try that idea Poppy.

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