A labor of love: Defrosting the freezer
It’s no secret that I have a love affair with my chest freezer. I mean, I do have a whole website here dedicated to the services it renders me. Not to mention the financial and tasty benefits that it yields me each and every month.
But I have to admit, as much as I love the thing, the thought of defrosting it is not something I can get excited over. (Well, it was kind of exciting to see the bottom of it again). At any rate, after nearly three years it was LONG over due. (You should really defrost at least once a year).
The hardest part for me was using up, or giving away, ALL of my freezer meals. I wiped a tear away when the last one left the house. It just seemed so tragic. What if I became desperate for a home cooked meal and there wasn’t anything. . .what am I suppose to do, cook?
Okay, okay, I will stop with the dramatics. At any rate, it is important to defrost your freezer. Here are some steps you can take to do quickly and efficiently. And I have to tell you, I was able to do it all in a span of 12-24 hours. Not too bad!
Step 1: Give it away or Eat it!
I started by giving OAMM meals to friends and family who could use them. I was having a bit of a meat aversion (still do) so that was actually easier than I thought. I also planned ahead a few weeks know I would be doing this and planned meals that would use up items in my freezer.
Step 2: Throw away
As you are going through, condensing and giving away, you need to throw away items that are freezer burnt or past their life expectancy in the freezer. I had several things that had found their way to the bottom never to be seen again. I also had some very freezer burnt ice cream that needed to go. Not to mention some uneaten vegetable baby food cubes that were past their prime.
Step 3: Organize your refrigerator freezer
I followed steps one and two for my refrigerator freezer as well. This gave me some more room to store unused foods in my chest freezer.
Step 4: Relocation
I put the high cost items like meats in my refrigerator freeze where they would fit. I then put in as many other things as I could. I then called up some fellow OAMM’ers who I knew had a freezer but wasn’t full to see if I could borrow some freezer space for 24 hours. I was down to two grocery bags of food that I didn’t have storage spot.
If you don’t have a nearby friend or family member with a freezer you can use coolers of ice to keep these items stored until you are finished.
You will note that I put my high cost items in my freezer where I knew they wouldn’t spoil. The other items didn’t cost me that much and thus, if something happened to them and they thawed I wouldn’t be out too much money. Something to consider, especially if you are using coolers.
Step 5: Melting & Draining
I do not have an automatic defrost. I chose not to have that feature as it can sometimes change the quality of the stored food (it doesn’t seem to last as long in automatically defrosting freezers) and I really don’t mind doing it because it has these handy drain spouts.
Basically, the quickest and easiest way is to turn the freezer off and open the doors. Instead of waiting for the ice to melt you can boil some water and pour it down the sides. I did this with several pots of water and the ice was melted and drained in no time.
You can see from the picture that I didn’t have a long enough hose to run to my basement drain so I improvised with a few kitchen items.
Step 6: Cleaning
Once you have it drained, you then take some warm, soapy water and wash down the sides and the bottom. I just used dish soap. Once you are done make sure that you take a towel or two and dry it all out. You don’t want ice forming on the bottom when you turn in back on.
Step 7: Turn it back on
You can turn it on immediately and close the lid once you have it all dried out. Most freezers recommend you leave them on for 6-8 hours before adding frozen items. Check your freezer manual (if you can find it) to see what is recommended.
Step 8: Take inventory and reload
As I returned items to my chest freezer I made note (more on this next week) of the items that I was returning to my freezer. After all, I don’t want things to get lost and unused in the future. It is so nice to look down and see a well organized, clean space for all of my OAMM meals. It just makes me smile.
If you haven’t taken the time to do a good defrost of your freezer, I would encourage you to do so soon.