Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Freezer Burn

I have two dozen carrot zucchini muffins in the oven and two loaves on deck. It seems a bit excessive but we loooove zucchini bread and loaves can easily be frozen. But the main reason I am baking is because of what I found in my freezer last night. It all began with a forty pound box of chicken...

Through a local food co-op, I was able to purchase forty pounds of hormone and antibiotic free chicken for $1.49 a pound, which is a fantastic price for chicken breasts. We had to cut and trim them, then package and freeze them, but the hour or so of labor was well worth it. After the meat was put up and the kitchen counter and floor had been cleaned of chicken juice (ewwwww!), my hubby and I ventured out to the garage to reorganize the chest freezer.

I am appalled and embarrassed about what happened next. As we started to dig, we found food. Good food. Well....it would have been good if we had eaten it. Freezer burned roasts and rib steaks, buns and breads, lunch meat, vegetables, chili...we ended up throwing out an entire garbage bag full of ruined food. Americans waste forty percent of the food we produce for consumption while food prices continue to rise. That's nearly HALF! And here I am, hauling a bag of what used to be edible food out to the garbage bin. Wasted money, wasted resources....UGH.

The guilt has subsided a bit since last night and both my husband and I have sworn to shop the freezer before the store. Thus....the carrot zucchini bread. While we were cleaning last night I found a bag of shredded zucchini from last year's garden, four quart size bags of shelled pecans from our Aunt's trees, and a bag of whole wheat flour I don't remember buying. Combined with some rubbery, need-to-be-used carrots from my mother in law's garden and we've got snacks for the rest of the week.

I found this handy little freezer inventory list that I plan on laminating and attaching to the garage freezer so I know EXACTLY what's in there. What are some of the things you do to counteract food waste?

Check out the graphic below (from thesietch.org) for a visual take on just how much food we waste.

(this post is linked to the Green Resource. Check it out every Thursday for great green ideas!)



  1. After reading the book, American Wasteland, I started shopping the "sale rack" in the Produce section of our local store and learning how to use my freezer more. I like the laminated sign idea ~ would be most helpful!

  2. Two of my sons work in the poultry industry.

    First, hormones are never nor have they ever been approved by the USDA for the production of chicken or turkey. Our government has never allowed this.

    Second, antibiotics are used very sparingly, almost never with layers and rarely with meat poultry.

    There is much misinformation out there. Thanks for allowing me to post this. I enjoy reading your blog.


    I don't have an account to sign with, therefore the anonymous tag.

  3. Yikes! Seeing all that food spread out like that really drives it home. We waste less nowadays because we have the chickens but honestly, we still waste more food than I would like. Thanks for sharing the visual - and the guilt!

  4. I've always said my definition of "rich" is when you can throw food out. Isn't amazing how much we do throw out. Embarrassing too. Great article. So glad you linked it to Your Green Resource!

  5. We have only the freezer over the refrigerator, but we have trouble remembering what's in there, too! And I hate getting chilled while digging around to find out. We made a list of what's in the freezer about a year ago and have been doing our best to keep it updated since. It's really useful! I wrote more about it in this meal planning article.

    I like the way you made use of some of the odds and ends you found while cleaning out your freezer!

    I'm not surprised to see that fresh produce is the category with the most wasted. Things can go bad so quickly! I try to keep on top of it by freezing anything we're not going to use immediately.

  6. I have an upright freezer and two refrigerators with freezers - I pull everything out of them every 2-3 months and make sure I use up what is getting close to freezer burn - I have wasted too much food and it is a small price to pay (my time and energy) to be more responsible! I like the laminated list idea.

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