3 TIPS TO LOVE YOUR FREEZER
I can’t say I’ve ever been fond of the freezer. Our relationship has always been cold and desolate, like a lost pea wedged beneath a half-eaten Ben and Jerry’s tub.
If you’re like me, you may be familiar with this kind of situation: You buy too much mince, try to be good by freezing it, and then several months later while searching under piles of uneaten frozen vegetables (for the half-eaten ice-cream) you discover that bag of pink meat and wonder: How long has it been here? Can I even cook this? Is it safe? “Ugh,” you think, “I’ll chuck it and cook something else. Just in case.” Consumerism, one: Environment, nil.
Needless to say, organisation isn’t my strong point when it comes to freezing food. The Irish Safe Food website gives you great tips on labelling food, such as this one which made me feel immediately guilty: “It might seem like a lot of effort but unless you label foods or ingredients you freeze, you might not remember what they are, let alone when you froze them.” And I thought it was the freezer’s fault. So be kind to your frozen food: Label your items and write down the date you put them in there = less food waste, improved safety and a happier evening in with your freezer.
Relation-Tip 2: Have a Fresh ’n’ Frozen Mix weekend
Recently, the freezer and I had a brief weekend fling. And it all happened because I was recovering from knee surgery – and unable to transport myself to a shop. I had to get creative! My entire family and my boyfriend Alan took care of me and bought me loads of lovely treats from the shop, including lunch and dinner items. When those ran low, we turned to the freezer to mix some of the leftovers with frozen goods. And that’s where we discovered peas (that Alan cooked for egg-fried rice), wraps, frozen vegetables, and salmon fillets. Alan even froze berries for me to make smoothies with. Oh and the freezer was constantly being used to make lovely ice-packs to soothe my fat, angry knee! More great to freeze foods include: Butter, grated cheese, bread, milk, raw pastry, soups, casseroles, bananas, and cupcakes. You can find more freezer-friendly foods on Andrea Dekker’s blog and tips on freezing foods on Stopfoodwaste.ie.
Relation-Tip 3: Keep a diary
It’s great to scribble your thoughts into a diary: Healthy to get everything down on paper. How about improving your freezer relationship with a Food Waste Diary? This is an excellent idea and a full article on it can be found on Stop Food Waste. Simply keep a log every day of how much you’ve thrown away every day and count up the costs at the end of the week to see how much money you could have saved by not chucking out your food.
Do you love your freezer now?
I’ve realised over time, freezer, that it’s not you: It’s me. I need to be more organised and take better care of the food I buy. Admittedly I’m not great at it. This weekend I’m going to put a marker next to the freezer bags to make sure I write dates on them – and stick a sheet of paper on the fridge writing down all the days that I chuck food out. Are you up for the challenge too? Have you got any more tips that you’d like to share? Let VOICE know!
Images from: Niamh’s freezer, Lifehacker.com, SafeFood EU and Stopfoodwaste.ie.