How to Make the Most of Your Freezer Space

If you keep your freezer organized, you can store meat, produce, ice cream and leftovers all at the same time.

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1095946972

Plastic bags with deep frozen vegetables in refrigerator

Photo by: belchonock/Getty Images

belchonock/Getty Images

Now more than ever, space in the kitchen is valuable real estate. And, if the freezer is your catch-all for leftovers or your justification for buying an additional pound of meat at the grocery store, you’re probably already running out of room in your icebox. If your freezer seems a bit too small these days, we’ve rounded up some helpful tips to make the most of your space, so you can finally stop playing a game of Tetris after a trip to the store.

Eliminate As Much Air As Possible

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200517399-001

Photo by: Siri Stafford/Getty Images

Siri Stafford/Getty Images

Whether you’re freezing meat, vegetables or bread, the key to avoiding that much dreaded freezer burn is to make sure you’re eliminating air. In an episode of The Kitchen, Geoffrey Zakarian suggests taking meat out of the store’s packaging when you freeze to ensure you’re getting the tightest seal possible on your meat. Food Network test kitchen director, Ginevra Iverson, suggests a food saver, which is often used in restaurants and will eliminate any air surrounding your food. If you don’t have a food saver, though, she suggests wrapping your food tightly in plastic wrap followed by foil, then placing in a plastic, resealable bag with as little air as possible.

Leave Enough Room for Liquids to Expand

You’ll see people in kitchens make full use out of quart containers for anything from prepping ingredients to a water cup. In the case of storage, they’re great for soups and stocks. Ginevra just suggests making sure your liquid is fully chilled before freezing and leaving enough room at the top for your liquids to expand while freezing. “There is a line towards the top of a deli container,” she explains. “Fill to the bottom line, and that will give you enough space for it to expand when frozen but not pop the top.” Since you are leaving some extra air in the container, she also suggests putting a layer of plastic wrap on the surface to avoid freezer burn.

Portion Out Food Before Freezing

Not only will breaking your food apart before freezing help you stay organized, but it will make defrosting simpler and more efficient. For example, if you bought ground beef in bulk, rather than freezing it altogether, we suggest creating smaller patties first. This way, you defrost them individually and as needed and never have to cook more than you’re ready to eat.

Keep Food from Clumping By Freezing Individually

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1221395429

Frozen dumplings with meat in batter in a plastic bag on a wooden background

Photo by: Andrey Grigoriev/Getty Images

Andrey Grigoriev/Getty Images

Some foods, including dumplings, biscuits, fruits and vegetables, tend to stick together while freezing, creating one large, frozen mess. The Food Network test kitchen suggests laying these items out on a sheet pan, uncovered and freezing separately first. Once frozen, you can transfer everything to a resealable bag or container without risk of combining.

Use the Door Strategically

If your freezer has a classic swinging door, it’s good to be aware that it runs a touch warmer, depending on how often you open and close it. It’s nothing to be worried about. Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. says it’s a great place to store ice cream, which is best kept at a temperature range of six to 10 degrees F.

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