Believe it or not, a chest freezer can be a handy unit to have in the house – particularly if you have a large brood. For starters, if you secretly loathe trips to the supermarket then an extra, large cold storage unit should become your new best friend because it allows you to buy everything you need for a few weeks in one go – just divide your haul into batches and pop these into the freezer. Not to mention, buying in bulk is also cheaper. Along with meat, you can buy a few weeks’ worth of frozen veggies – this reduces your cost per meal, especially if you stock up during specials.
Another thing you can do with a chest freezer is store food not only before, but also after cooking. A new trend you may have seen in recent years is “once-a-month cooking” -setting aside one day a month to prepare, cook and freeze a month’s worth of dinners. This is a great technique because it’s economical and removes the stress of rushing home from extra-curricular activities in the evening to get dinner ready on time.
With a chest freezer you can also reduce the clutter in your regular fridge freezer. If you stack excess items neatly in the chest freezer, then you can easily see what’s inside the smaller one without constantly digging around or even forgetting about certain ingredients. For the super organized, you could go so far as to arrange meals in your chest freezer by date or type of food. Some larger models, like this 320L Westinghouse unit, come with storage baskets so you can store and easily access smaller food items.
Here are a few freezer tips to get you started:
- Once something has been frozen and then defrosted, do not freeze it again as this is just asking for food contamination.
- Foods – and liquids more so – expand when frozen so leave room for this when popping things into the freezer.
- Try to use bags and containers specially made for freezing.
- Extract as much air as possible from the freezer packaging, and much sure it’s airtight, as trapped air makes food go off quicker.
- Freeze food as soon as you bring it home from the store so as to retain its quality.
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(photo by amatern)