Preparing your Freezer for Fall

posted by Andrea | 08/27/2012

Last year at this time, we had JUST purchased our new deep freezer and I was busy cooking and baking — trying to fill up our freezer in preparation for a new baby.

I can say without a doubt that over the past year, there has never been one day that I’ve regretted our freezer purchase. Not only have I been able to save loads of time by making double and triple batches of our favorites foods, I’ve also saved a bunch of money by stocking up on meat, cheese, veggies, and even baking supplies when they go on sale.

And no, you DON’T need a big deep freezer to reap the benefits of freezer-cooking… you can read about my favorite space, time, and money saving freezer tips here

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Our freezer has also helped tremendously when it comes to meal planning — because almost every week, I’m able to pull at least one dish from the freezer for a quick week-night meal when I don’t have time to cook (I’m sure you can relate!)

In my opinion, Fall is one of the best times to fill your freezer – partially because of the busy back-to-school season, but also because the holidays are right around the corner; and just think how much less stressed you’ll be if you have a bunch of festive baked goods already stashed away for upcoming parties.

The cooler weather and shorter days allow me to spend more time in the kitchen… which (after our kitchen is finally finished) I think I will REALLY enjoy!

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However, before I start stashing food away in our freezer for another year, there are a few things I always do first to prepare my freezer for Fall…

1. Eat from the Freezer

Take a week (or several weeks) to go through your freezer and plan as many meals as you can based on the ingredients/meals/side dishes you already have in your freezer (and in your pantry). This will help to make sure none of your current freezer goods get spoiled or ruined by freezer burn, and it should also save you a nice chunk of change on your grocery bill for those two weeks.

Get creative with your meal planning — and maybe even offer a few “free-for-all” nights where individuals can pick and choose what items they want to eat for dinner based on what leftovers and freezer meals you have left.

2. Defrost the Freezer

I know, you’re probably groaning at the thought of defrosting your freezer, but if you work quickly, it should only take an afternoon to have a sparkling clean, ice-free freezer, ready for another stash of delicious foods.  We defrost our freezer once a year — usually in the Fall because it’s not so hot that our food melts immediately after we take it out, but not so cold that we freeze our butts off!

Plus, if you’ve been eating from your freezer like I suggested above, you shouldn’t have THAT much stuff to remove from the freezer.

3. Restock the Freezer

This is the fun part — at least for me. I love looking at a nearly empty freezer and then spending a day or two preparing all sorts of food to fill it back up.

Of course, our grocery bill is usually a little higher on these “restocking” weeks — but nothing too out of control.

Just make sure you take the time to properly seal all your food to prevent freezer-burn, and don’t forget to clearly label the contents and the date. {Yes, I speak from experience after defrosting a tub of unlabeled refried beans that I thought was chocolate frosting!}

More Freezer Cooking Resources:

Some of my favorite freezer foods:

OK, so is that enough motivation, encouragement, and resources to get you excited to prepare your freezer for Fall?  Now all I need is a kitchen and I can stock my freezer too!

What do you love most about freezer cooking?

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6 comments

  1. Katie

    08/27/2012

    Ok Andrea… I finally got on board with making a budget, and now you (and Pinterest!) have got me excited about stocking up on freezer meals. I’ve gone through and read pretty much all of your freezer-posts today! But I have a feeling stocking the freezer is going to be tough on my new grocery budget… Maybe I’ll just work on it a little at a time.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Katie, start with vegetable-base soups (you can probably find many veggies for super cheap right now), Pasta dishes (especially ones without meat), and lots of homemade breads/cookies. If you bake them from scratch, they are extremely cheap!

    Good luck :)

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  2. Bama Girl

    08/27/2012

    Hi Andrea! Thank you so much for this inspiring post! Your freezer looks so nice and organized! Mine, not so much! I mostly freeze meats that I find on sale, and a few leftovers. I do have some fruits and veggies, however. You’ve inspired me to try and organize my freezer and make things a little easier to access! Love your site! Blessings from Bama!

    [Reply]

  3. Catherine Mae

    08/27/2012

    My dad just got back from our other house in the northwest part of Washington and we have a friend over there that lives on our property and he canned a bunch of carrots, corn, green beans, and prob. a couple more vegetables and we have a good meatball recipe that i’m going to make a few bags of meatballs for the freezer! hopefully when our jalapenos come in and when our tomatoes and other vegetables are done we can use that to make freezer meals in the future! (esp. since our cucumbers since they have grown to the size of zucchini) thanks so much for this post! it reminded me :)

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  4. Kaui @ Thrifty Military Mommy

    08/28/2012

    I’m certainly groaning about the thought of defrosting and cleaning my freezer, but it must be done!

    [Reply]

  5. Kristen @ Joyfullythriving

    08/29/2012

    I love my deep freeze, too! Thanks to a power outage, my freezer is much emptier. I need to spend some time restocking. My favorite thing is to keep my freezer stocked with cookies. It’s so nice to have them already baked so if I have surprise company, I can quickly pull them out for a snack. They defrost so quickly that I can have a variety…and really impress others with my baking skills! :-)

    [Reply]