Spring clean your freezer

Last weekend I decided to give our freezer a spring clean. It’s a good time to use up old food before any gluts of home grown fruits and vegetables appear. And make space for a few ice creams, lollies, or burgers for the BBQ season.

Empty out the food and store temporarily in a cool bag or cool box with ice packs to prevent thawing. Then use good old fashioned warm water with a dash of washing up liquid to clean.  Dry the drawers and inside with a clean tea towel before putting the food back in. 

Do I need to defrost my freezer?

Most modern freezers have a frost free feature and don’t need to be defrosted. If you have an older one, you might find that ice builds up. Ice takes up space and stops your freezer working as efficiently, so it’s worth defrosting it. Take a look at ‘Which’s’ 7 easy steps to defrost your freezer

Should I throw any old food away

Freezing food hits the pause button on decay.  It stops the microbes that spoil food from growing and multiplying, but it doesn’t kill them. Food kept at -18°C will be safe indefinitely, as long as you follow the Food Standard Agency’s advice to defrost it safely. The quality of some foods does decline after a period of time.  

The oldest item in my freezer was a box of rhubarb pieces from 2015! Share yours in the comments or on our social pages.

Apart from some ice crystals on the top they look fine. Frozen rhubarb will change texture and will be soft and squishy when it defrosts.

One of my favourite uses for it is to sandwich the soft rhubarb pieces between two layers of flapjack. This works for any frozen fruit, especially black or red currants. 

How can I make my freezer more efficient?

Your freezer uses most energy to cool down the warm air that enters each time you open the door. So it’s best to open the door as little as possible and to keep your freezer fairly full. If you don’t have enough food to fill it, you can use freezer blocks or make your own using empty containers (ziplock bags, plastic bottles or take-away containers) part-filled with water.

Keeping your freezer organised

  • Rotate the contents regularly – move food forward and put new items at the back
  • Label items with the contents, the date and the number of portions
  • Use bags instead of boxes – freeze them flat and store vertically
  • Freeze liquids in ice cube trays or silicone muffin or cake moulds and then remove and bag them
  • If using boxes, choose square or oblong ones not round or hexagonal
  • Group similar items together like fruits and vegetables, leftovers or ready meals
  • Store meat or fish at the bottom to avoid leaks spilling onto other food
  • Use a freezer inventory like this one from My Frugal Home or a free app like freezerlist to keep track of your stock

Is there anything I can’t freeze?

You can freeze most foods, but should not freeze cans of food or eggs in shells. You can empty the contents of cans and freeze them in a different container.

You can freeze raw eggs out of their shell, either whole or separated. This is handy if your recipe only needs the yolk or the white.

Ideally freeze foods when they are at their best, although you can safely freeze foods right up until midnight on their use-by date.

Check how to freeze almost anything on the freezeit website. 

Want more tips on avoiding food waste and growing your own food?
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