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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.

9 Responses to “A labor of love: Defrosting the freezer”

  1. SavvySuzie says:

    ugh – I really need to defrost my own chest freezer but have been putting it off…thanks for the reminder :) Oh and I LOOOVE those baskets you have! Where did you find them?

    • tricia says:

      They came with my Whirlpool freezer. They sell them separately, but there are actually brackets built into my freezer for them as well. I would check the manufacturers website of your current freezer to see if they have any basket solutions, many do!

  2. Jamie says:

    WHERE IN THE WORLD did you get those baskets for the freezer?? I must know!!! :)

  3. Mrs. Pear says:

    This is one of my most dreaded tasks too!

    We have an upright in the garage that will usually defrost in about 4-6 hours, so I run down the freezer as much as I can and then load up the coolers (1 big 1 medium 2 small) and there is some stuff I keep in there that can be put in the fridge or on the counter (like baking), and I just bake off my cookie dough that I prepared and froze.

    I try to do it in the fall so that I can wheel the freezer to the front of the garage to get the late morning heat, but keep the coolers in the back of the garage and cool. I also put pots of boiling water in to help it along.

  4. Michelle says:

    A trick I learned from my mom is to have a fan blow into the freezer and it will defrost in no time1

  5. Amy says:

    I’ve been opening my freezer much more now that I’ve been doing OAMC, so the frost is building up faster than usual. I haven’t defrosted in probably close to a year. I remember it being right before I bought a quarter of beef. I wish I had more freezer space above the fridge, but I don’t. In the next week I should be getting my next beef quarter. Ack, I’ll never have enough space to defrost the chest freezer if I fill it with beef. Must defrost now. Thanks for the push.

  6. Deborah says:

    Ladies, sometimes it pays to let your husband figure out a problem! I was hospitalized recently and my freezer needed to be defrosted, my husband did it for me—with a hair dryer!

  7. Marj says:

    I have used a hair dryer for years. Ever since the butter knife I was using punctuared a hole in a line. Drat………new freezer. Can’t afford another incident like that. I just defrosted 6 weeks ago. Hurrayyyyyyy.

    • Nette says:

      I use a wet-dry vac to get the excess water out of my chest type freezer, it works great when you are defrosting the freezer and not messy either.

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