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March is National Frozen Food Month! Frozen foods are an excellent way to extend a food’s shelf life and help the food budget. Find a great deal on sale-priced meats? Stash it in the freezer. Make too much rice? Freeze some for later. Frozen vegetables and fruits, which are often less expensive than fresh, are flash frozen to lock in freshness and nutrition. Frozen foods are also an excellent component of your food storage program.
Using the Freezer for Food Storage
In my house, the freezer is our go-to storage method for the bulk of our harvest. We have two chest freezers, along with a bottom freezer on the refrigerator. My husband is an expert stacker and really makes the most of our available space. Here’s an article on how I utilize my freezer as part of my Pantry Principle. I truly believe freezers are excellent for food storage, as long as you have a plan for if the freezer is not usable.
The truth is, the chances of a long-term event (whether natural or manmade) taking out the electricity and your freezer are slim. A more likely scenario is someone leaving the freezer door open or the freezer breaking. Those things truly do happen. My neighbor often has us check to make sure their freezer is working when they’re gone on extended trips. They had a freezer die once while they were out of town and came back to a mess.
Remember, a full freezer stays cold and uses less energy than an empty freezer. As you eat the freezer foods, consider putting buckets or jugs of water in the available space. While a fuller freezer is helpful, you also don’t want it too full. There should be room for the air to circulate. A chest freezer is more convenient than an upright, while an upright tends to be easier to find things. Should you experience a power outage, covering a chest freezer with quilts will help keep it frozen.
Frozen Foods to Keep on Hand
- Bones for making broth
- Bread, tortillas, bagels, muffins, etc.
- Lard, schmaltz, or tallow
- Cooked beans (excellent for quick meals)
- Cooked rice (also for quick meals)
- Leftover cooked meats, grains, vegetables, etc.
- Premade individual meals (think TV dinners, but homemade)
- Need more ideas? Check out this old article from 2010 when I shared my then freezer inventory
Recipes Featuring Frozen Foods
- Homemade Pot Pie (using ingredients you have on hand)
- Garbanzo Bean Curry
- Design a Casserole
- Design a Soup or Stew
- Middle Eastern White Beans and Rice (Fasooli)
- Creamy Black Bean Soup
- Super Flexible Stuffed Burritos
- Chicken Chili
- Beef and Bean Enchilada Casserole
- Corndog Muffins
- Beef Short Ribs
- Fish Chowder
- Vegetable Barley Soup
- Healthy Skillet Dishes
- Butterscotch Rice
More Articles You Might Enjoy
- The Pantry Principle: What About Freezer Storage?
- How to Package Items for Long-Term Food Storage
- A Well-Stocked Pantry for Eating at Home
- Let’s Celebrate! February is National Canned Food Month
- How to Stretch Meat + 19 Delicious Recipes