This is the second part of my 3-part series on freezers. You can read the first part here. Check back later this week for the third part.
Now that you have your freezer and are happily storing all sorts of meats, veggies, and made-ahead meals, you will face a brand new challenge. Your freezer will turn into a great abyss.
It’s so easy to forget what meats you have bought and stored, what meals you have prepared and frozen in advance, and how much broth you have stocked away. You may occasionally try to do a little digging to see what’s towards the bottom, but inevitably you just rely on those foods nestled at the top.
When I first got my freezer, I made a nice list of all of the foods I put inside. My plan was to keep track of what I took out and what I put in. I’m sure you can guess how long that lasted.
Last fall I got a large order of chickens and half of a pig. I wrote out all of the items on a sheet of paper, just sure I would keep track of what I was using. Yeah, that worked just as well the as the first time.
Then I needed to know exactly how much pork I still had because I was going to do a swap with a friend for some beef. She sent me her list of what she had available for trade and I needed to let her know what cuts of pork I had. There was one problem, though. I had absolutely no idea what was in my freezer!
I realized that if I write it on paper, it feels like a big hassle for me to either erase and put in the new correct amount or it starts to look really messy and is difficult to read if I keep scratching out what was there before. I decided it was time to employ some 21st century technology to keep me aware of what might be lurking in the great abyss, otherwise known as my freezer.
So I put on some gloves, and pulled EVERYTHING out of my freezer. What do you know? I had a lot of food in there! I then proceeded to write down everything I had including quantity, weight, measurement, etc. (Yes, I wrote it on paper. Just wait, I’ll show you what I did next that made the difference from before.)
Once I got everything fitting back in the freezer, I took my paper and turned it into a spreadsheet on my iPad. Now even if you don’t have an iPad, you could do this on your computer, too. I chose to use my iPad because it’s almost always near my freezer and kitchen.
I created my spreadsheet with the types of meat on the left-hand column and the quantities and other measurements on the top row. I also added a description section so I could add any particular notes I wanted to remember for a certain item.
After filling in all of the information, you can stop there and just keep this part updated. The nice thing about a spreadsheet is that it’s always easy to read and you can quickly change the quantity when you take something out or add some more items in. No more messiness!
For those of you with an iPad and Numbers, you can make it into a form which makes it even easier to read, and so pretty! Once you have your spreadsheet laid out, hold down the + sign on the tab to the right. Select “New Form” from the drop down menu. Select the table you want to use, and you will have a beautifully created form to now use. It’s easy to flip through with the arrows at the bottom. I alphabetized my table so that it’s easier to find what I’m looking for on my form. The + sign at the bottom of the form even allows you to add a new items right from the form.
So there you have it. Once you get your spreadsheet set up, it’s really easy to maintain it. Just be sure to always keep up with it so you don’t lose any meat in the depths of your freezer!
Just so you know, I didn’t receive anything from Apple to write this tutorial. I converted to an Apple user a few years ago and have never looked back. And it makes me feel better to find kitchen-related uses for at least one of my Apple devices!