- Throw away any obvious offenders like freezer burnt foods, unrecognizable and/or expired items.
- Arrange the remaining food placing the newer items at the front of the line (they will go back into the freezer first) and the foods that need to be consumed first will go in last so they are in the front (screaming….USE ME!!!)
- Make a list of the inventory with the oldest foods being listed first.
- Date and label each food item with a USE BY DATE.
- Reload in a neat/organized way keeping like items together!
Here is a freezer-life cheat sheet!
- Chicken & turkey (uncooked): 6-9 months
- Chicken & Turkey (cooked): 3 months
- Fruit: 6 months
- Steaks (uncooked): 6-9 months
- Fish: 3-6 months
- Shellfish 3-6 months
- Ice cream- 2 months
- Frozen vegetables: 1 month
Utilize for Freezer Inventory:
As you plan your meals for the week use your freezer inventory as a starting point. Look at your “USE NOW” list and base your recipes off of these items. This method provides inspiration as well as money savings as you get to use what you have thus reducing your overall food waste.
Here is a simple, one-pot meat I created a few weeks back based on my “USE ME” freezer inventory list! I was able to utilize frozen rice, vegetables and ground chicken to create this family-friendly meal!
- 1 pound ground chicken (optional)
- 1 tbsp grated ginger (i keep peeled ginger in the freezer for anytime use)
- 2 cups frozen or fresh cooked brown rice
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (peas, peppers, carrots & corn)
- 2 tablespoons Tamari sauce
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup sliced Scallion
- In a wok or saute pan, heat the sesame oil. Add the chicken and ginger and saute for 5 minutes to brown the chicken, crumbling as it cooks.
- Add in frozen rice and vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes to warm.
- Make a well in the middle of the pan. Whisk the eggs then pour them into the well. Cook the eggs, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. Once they start to set, stir them into the rice mixture.
- Add the chili sauce and tamari. Mix to combine.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced scallions