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Freezer stockpiling is a great way to prep for homesteaders. It is basically a means of buying whats on sale each week or month and freezing as much as you can for use on a later date. Freezer stockpiling is similar to stockpiling the pantry.
The trick to freezer stockpiling is knowing how to rotate what is in the freezer and to date everything at the time of freezing. By dating and rotating your freezer goodies you are sure to provide good, healthy food for your family throughout the year.
Freezer Stockpiling: Getting Started
So how do you get started? Make a list. Yep, a list. Sit down and think about what you want to stock up on that you normally freeze. Do you buy frozen vegetables, french fries, frozen fruit? Write all of those items down. Then think about the foods you use a lot of that freeze well. Things like bread, cheese, butter or margarine, and meat and poultry. Add these to your list also.
Once you have a list of the foods you would like to store in the freezer start watching the coupons and store adds. When these food items go on sale, purchase extras. For example, ground turkey went on sale last week at our local Sams Club for around $1.99 lb. I bought 25 pounds. I happened to have it in the budget, and I know we will use it before it could go out of date.
Don’t forget to allow for freezer meals too. Premade meals are a great addition to the freezer stockpile. There are unlimited internet sites to find a recipe for meals for the freezer, surf the internet and I promise you will find more than enough for you to get started. A good place to start is The Thriving Home Blog. They have a pretty detailed “getting started” guide here.
Freezer Stockpiling: The Supplies
Now that you have a starter list of what to put in the freezer it is time to start gathering supplies. One word of caution here…don’t skimp to save a buck. For example, storage bags are not freezer bags, so don’t save 15 cents and buy storage bags for the freezer, it will cost you way more when you throw away all the freezer burnt food because it wasn’t put in a freezer bag.
Simple supplies may include:
- Freezer bags in quart and gallon sizes.
- Plastic wrap
- Waxed paper
- Freezer paper
- Labels for the freezer or a sharpie marker
- Food saver for sealing the bags (Can use a straw if need be)
- Freezer Inventory.
There may be some other supplies you may want but this list should work for most anything you intend on freezing. One tip for you is to shop Sams Club or Amazon for your supplies. Buying the larger quantities will save you money and make for fewer trips because you won’t run out so quickly.
Freezer Stockpiling: What Can Be Frozen
There are many foods that can be frozen. Some require more attention or packaging than others.
Here is a list of easy foods to freeze.
- butter – freeze as is
- vegetables – flash freeze first
- beef – raw or cooked
- pork – raw or cooked
- poultry – raw or cooked
- bread – as is covered in foil
- deli meat – in original package
- cheese – in the package or rewrapped
- eggs – out of the shell
- milk – empty one cup to allow for expansion
- rice – leave slightly undercooked
- herbs – a multitude of ways
- baked goods – should flash freeze first
- soups – can be frozen in a freezer bag
- sauces – same as soups
- premade meals -either in a container or baggies.
Freezer Stockpiling: Tips and Tricks
If properly frozen, fruit can last up to a year in the freezer. It should be flash frozen though. Just cut the fruit into bite-size pieces and place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet in the freezer until frozen. Remove from the sheet and place in freezer bags removing as much air as possible. Just about all fruit can be frozen. Please note that if the fruit is going into smoothies it can be frozen since it will be liquified anyways.
The batter for pancakes, waffles, and baking mixes can be frozen after it is thoroughly mixed and placed in bags or containers. I try and leave a little room for expansion if putting in a container. Let all batters thaw in the refrigerator completely before using. I take mine out the night before.
Almost all vegetables need to be blanched before freezing. Blanching preserves the vitamins and keeps the original state of the vegetable intact. Once blanched, dry the vegetables as much as possible and freeze in bags or containers the size of which you usually serve. Most vegetables last about a year in the freezer.
All meats can be frozen. I recommend removing the packaging first and rewrapping in saran wrap and foil. Plastic freezer bags can be used but you must remove all the air from the bag or risk freezer burn. What most people don’t know is that if you thaw meat in the fridge you can refreeze the portions you don’t use. However, if you use any other method of thawing you must cook the meat immediately.
Freezer Stockpiling: Next Steps
Now you know what food you need to freeze and how to buy it at the best price, you have the supplies to freeze it and you know some great tips too. The next step is to get started. I have included a small list of resources to get you started with more information along the way. I hope your freezer stockpiling is successful and you have fun doing so.
- Once a Month Meals: This site is all about freezer cooking. Everything you need is probably here and more.
- Greatist: This site offers quick freezer meals for people with little time. I have personally made all of the recipes on the page and they are delicious.
- Life As Mom: THis site has a great beginners introduction to freezer cooking as well as some nice freebies and items to purchase.
- Aileen Cooks: This is another beginners site with links to keep you busy finding great freezer tips and recipes for hours.
Freezer stockpiling is a great way to prepare your homestead kitchen for winter and all year. With the right supplies and recipes, your family can enjoy healthy fuss-free meals.
Do you stockpile your freezer at home? What do you freeze? Do you have recipes you can share? Please share them in the comments box below.