WRAP’s Great Freezer Expedition

Filed in Blog by on November 27, 2009 15 Comments
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WRAP's great freezer expedition; dive in and reduce food waste

WRAP's great freezer expedition; dive in and reduce food waste

Well this is good timing. I’ve been saying for some time that I should dive head first into the bowels of my freezer and have a rummage.

I’ve been terrified, thinking I’ll come up clutching vast loads of food waste, plastic packaging and not to mention a glacier’s worth of ice.

But now I have no excuse to procrastinate further as WRAP have challenged the nation to go on a great Freezer expedition.

I may be gone some time …

The challenge is to explore the darkest, deepest recesses of your freezer and use up the contents, ready to make space for Christmas leftovers.

I have to confess we don’t have many leftovers during the festivities, although Little Miss green was ill last Christmas and only managed a couple of Ma Green’s profiteroles for her lunch; so it might be just as well to create some space for unforeseen circumstances.

What we do have, however, are plenty of UFOs (Unidentified Freezer objects) which need a poke and prod – whether we’ll be eating curry or chocolate pudding for tea tonight remains to be seen. Let’s hope it’s the latter …

To discover whether you can freeze eggs, dairy and how to use your freezer for maximum storage and potential, check out Arctic Aunt’s freezer myths. According to her, you can freeze practically anything, so there’s no need to waste good food.

Christmas cake, leftover turkey, potatoes and any extra Stilton can all be frozen for another time. Based on 2008 figures, we’ll be spending more than £520m on Christmas dinner in the UK; so starting the season with more room to freeze our Christmas foods and leftovers should help us all save money and reduce our food waste.

Who’s up for the challenge? Tell us what’s hiding in your freezer and about your plans to use it up!


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 (15)

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  1. Sooz says:

    Excellent timing for this – my mum had a bit of a freezer dive last weekend and made a very organised list of whats where so we can eat it up, it very much needed to be done in our case as we have 2 feezers between two of us at our house at the moment (although I’m only living here temporarily, so usually mum has 2 full freezers to herself – goodness knows why!)!!

  2. Steve says:

    It’s the last week of the month and we have been on a freezer investigation to see just what is in there until the end of the month. Seems so many packets with just one thing left in them, put them alltogether and we have a full packet, whoops! Must try a lot harder in the future.

    We got our first freezer only a year ago and we thought we would never fill it, now it is totally full, but of what??!?

  3. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green,

    The WRAP freezer campaign is certainly valuable though personally my container use deals with all items save a small piece of frozen dessert Apple Strudel, which will be Bokashied after defrosting. The Black Forest gateau, on order from Auld’s bakers, will be put in the freezer and slices removed for various meals when required.

    Today, I made the first winter soup, lentil, and this will be added to a large tub for freezing, with half used from today. It is a bolster against the cold weeks ahead. The old ham bone was avoided by using a ham stock cube of dubious packaging (paper/plastic?) but the old way might be worthwhile in later attempts.

  4. LJayne says:

    We don’t have much actually because we shop online monthly and so we generally keep things rotated and use them up (can you tell I used to work for a supermarket lol !) I also batch cook double so we’ve got stuff in there for nights when ds has lots of activities.

    My worst habit is freezing leftover gravy but then not using it the next time we have that roast meat. Do tend to end up with several small pots. But then they fit in the odd spaces and keep the freezer full !!!!

    Can I polish my halo 😉

  5. Sandie says:

    Yes, I too have started on the freezer clear-out. We’re going away for five weeks over January, so don’t want to leave the freezer on. It’s amazing what we’re finding….

    We have an old freezer, so my husband purchased a timer (one of the ones you use to put lamps on and off when you go away on holiday). The timer turns the freezer off every night and back on in the morning. We are just waiting for our next electricity bill to see if this makes a significant difference.

    Happy holidays to all…….

  6. Ben says:

    @Sandie: Hi Sandie, if you’re turning your freezer off for a long time, it’s important to eave it open. If you don’t you’re almost assured it will be full of mould and/or smell weird when you return. I was not impressed with the state of my freezer after a holiday. It was clean and dry when I left!

    As for freezing stuff, we have a tiny freezer with four people in the house, so not much potential to keep lots. I mostly use it for icecream and other unhealthy desserts. Still, there’s often some good finds in the freezer. I turned a big dish of vegtables in tomato sauce in to curry with a jar of curry paste this week and have been eating it for several days. It’s always worth a look before you go to the shops.

  7. Sandie says:

    @Ben: Hey, thanks for the tip Ben…..I really appreciate your reply. Yes, I will remember to leave the door open, perhaps I will hang rag to hold it open, so that it doesn’t close by accident whilst we are away.

  8. Ben says:

    Recently my wife and I cleaned out our freezer and made some foods high priority. We do not normally eat sausage, but had some in the dark crevases of our freezer. Tonight was it’s night and eating it reminded me to only buy what you will consume! blech.

  9. sandy says:

    well we bought some fish finger for our grandson when he visited a while ago, so tomorrows tea is fish finger sandwiches, dinner tommorrow is belly of pork, and pudding is some sort of fruit ctumble, (the label fell off hope it is fruit)

  10. Mrs Green says:

    @Sooz: Sounds like you have good organisation going on over there, Sooz. I have some curries to make this weekend, so I’ll write up a list too and see what’s there to be used up.

    @Steve: Hi Steve, we suffer from ’empty packet’ syndrome too! like you say, you put together all the bits and you have a new, full packet. Well done on having a look at least you know more of what is in there now. I hope you have some interesting meals!

    @John Costigane: Hi John, I’m quite sure I could do away with a freezer if I lived on my own. There is seldom use for one if you cook from fresh in the way that you do. Soup sounds good 🙂

    @LJayne: Wow, I’m polishing your halo for you – no need to do your own LOL! You sound super organised. **bows at feet**

    @Sandie: Sounds like a good plan, Sandie – where are you going? I’ve moved our freezer and fridge outside into a woodshed. They use 0.3kwhs per night of electricity now between them, and they are both full sized models, but it’s wise to turn them off when you are away for so long.

    @Ben: Oh yum on the curry, that sounds great. I love creating dishes like that. I’m quite looking forward to taking part in this challenge myself because it will save me money too 😉

    @Ben: Oh dear! It’s horrible when you have to manfully work your way through unloved food 🙁

    @sandy: Hi Sandy, fish finger sandwiches; apart from fried egg sandwiches, they are hard to beat 😀 What was in the mystery crumble?

  11. Sandie says:

    @Mrs Green: We’re coming to England! Mum lives in Wiltshire. Dad died this January, just gone. We will be wth her for the first anniversay of his death.

    I’ve been saving up my carbon emissions all year for this plane flight! Cycling, walking, catching the train, mending, eating local etc. etc. (I won’t bore you with the list – it’s long) x

    Ohhh, and we are accompanying my friend’s Mum (who does not like to fly alone) back to Perth, thus saving our friend a return flight to England, to come over to Perth with her Mum; so I guess that saves a bit of carbon too!

  12. John Costigane says:

    @Mrs Green: Of course, Mrs Green, it is possible to live without a freezer, especially at this challenging time for fingers and toes. At Aldi yesterday, it was far warmer in the shop than outside and maybe worth longer visits in the deep cold, heart of winter, if you get my meaning.

    Joking aside, I use the freezer to allow infrequent purchasing trips for meat/fish with up to 3 weeks between visits. This is more efficient shopping which relies on the freezer facility. Food waste can also be safely collected over a period and the soup can be left for weeks, if required. A food preparation example is chilli which give 3, or even 4, frozen mealsworth which can be eaten over a fortnight to vary diet.. All these various activities also rely on container use, a very versatile activity. Those who knock containers, like the funny Kenco ad, do not use them.

  13. sandy says:

    the fruit in the crumble was rhubarb. ir was smashing. we also had some pumpkins so we made soup and curry, into the freezer, i will never get it empty at this rate
    tomorrow we are having spagetti carbonara, ( chickens are still laying lots of eggs, so we have to start using them up) I might make a cake and freeze it for christmas as we have all the family here (17 of them)

  14. Mrs Green says:

    @Sandie: Wiltshire – that’s close to us in the grand scheme of things; if you feel up to it while you are here, drop me a contact form and we might be able to meet up 🙂 It sounds like you have taken a very responsible stance on your flight; it’s great to see people who care and do as much as they can to ‘offset’ their flights.

    @John Costigane: Life in your freezer sounds very organised. 3 – 4 weeks is ideal storage, although I think for most people it’s over a year of old packages and forgotten items!

    @sandy: Oh yum on the crumble! What a find! Good luck with making the Christmas cake!

  15. Jane says:

    Faced with organising MIL’s freezer as she has been ill for months and unable to do it herself I have had a new challenge. It is full of things that I don’t cook and wouldn’t buy. Dishes that are really alien to me.

    So, having discovered a brilliant whiteboard that is thin and reuseable and stays up just by static which I have stuck (ie just pressed against) the freezer cupboard door I have listed everything in each drawer. Then beside each one I have put how to cook it and how eg oven 200 deg 45 minutes or micro 850w 2min together with the Best Before Date. Now I can see what is in there without having to do that rummage and because they are not my purchases I can also decide what I can use up first and how long I have to allow to cook it.

    I did notice that everything has a Best Before Date not a Use By Date. So this is just guidance for the quality of the product. I suspect that many food items are also being thrown away unnecessarily because people do not realise that some things eg bread can be re-frozen once defrosted or cooked and then re-frozen. Another huge area to be tackled.

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