Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Preparing for every day: Freezer

Being prepared is not just about being ready for emergencies, it is also about being able to face the more mundane challenges of day to day living. I've written about getting your desk drawers, purses, and now freezers prepared for every day.

Did you know that freezers work more efficiently when they are filled up? Mark Bittman a.k.a. The Minimalist writes eloquently about freezer use in this fantastic NY Times article. It is a must-read! The following items are great to have on hand for last minute dinners, guests and to supplement your pantry. Freezing is a time saver--next time, make twice as much pizza dough as you normally would, and freeze the rest for a few weeks from now when you're too tired to make dough from scratch. It feels good to know that even if your fridge is empty, you'll have something edible in the freezer.

The 12 things that should be in every freezer:

  • ice cube trays (some filled up with water, some available to be used for leftover coffee, juice, or to save herbs, citrus, etc.)
  • vodka (great for spur of the moment cocktails, pie crust and other cooking)
  • frozen peas (makes a good ice pack in a pinch)
  • ground meat frozen in meal-sized portions
  • leftover pancakes (can be microwaved or re-heated in oven)
  • frozen juice concentrate
  • homemade chicken stock in single-recipe portions
  • homemade pizza dough (I like Bittman's recipe)
  • store-bought puff pastry (a little expensive, but highly useful)
  • pie crust (store bought or homemade)
  • over-ripe bananas (peeled, to be used for banana bread)
  • ice packs for on-the-go food chilling and minor injuries
And around every freezer, you should keep:
  • Sharpie for labeling (name and date each item that goes in there!)
  • Good quality freezer bags
  • Good quality plastic or glass storage containers

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email

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