The Annual Freezer Inventory

Oregano for dehydrating crop June 2018.jpg
Oregano for the dehydrators

Tuesday morning, after I loaded the dehydrators with echinacea, rose petals, and oregano, it was time to tackle the freezer inventory. We have 4 huge chest freezers.

One had been shut down months ago. We have an every other year cycle, because that’s when we get a steer. We got our last steer in November 2016. So we are low on beef and I consolidated the freezers.

I had had my husband wash up the 3 huge coolers that stay at the barn and bring them down into the cellar. We keep the many smaller ones down there already.

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The fruit and vegetable freezer

Over the course of time, the freezers get into disarray for one reason or another. Above you see this year’s butter just tossed into the vegetable freezer.

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Underneath the butter were kale portions, just tossed in there.

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In the center section, each stack is supposed to be 1 item. But in the search for a certain one, others get moved and not put back. Horrible mess…

The freezer next to this one is for the house supply of meat and also has cubbies for a couple friends. It was not in so bad a mess. It was also its turn to get defrosted and cleaned out this year. I had done the veg freezer last year.

When I start up the shutdown freezer it will need a good cleaning. Once it is cold, I will transfer the stocks and apple sauce into it and defrost and clean that freezer to hold the incoming meat. That will be late August, before Freezer Camp for chickens.

So as I emptied the meat freezer I inventoried what was left.

Meat Inventory crop June 2018.jpg

The chicken has to last until Labor Day weekend, the first of September. The pork until mid October, the beef until middle November. The fish is fresh caught ocean fish, as my husband is an avid deepsea fisherman.

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The butter has a lot leftover. This was due to it being the first full year I made it and I didn’t know the usage. So I made 78 lbs. This year I am only making 55 lbs or thereabouts. That will include the above amount.

When we put it into the meat freezer, I put the newly made butter on the bottom. I have 2 more weeks to make butter and they will go on the left.

I was amazed at the ground meat amounts. I thought we had much less left.

You can see there’s very little old meat, as we try to use the old before the new. I did find a beef breast from 2012, and 4 chuck and rib steaks from 2014. Those will go to the chickens. There were 2 bacon from 2014, but we can’t feed those to the chickens, too much salt. There were a couple packages of old fish too. The chickens will like those.

Food Inventory crop June 2018.jpg

The reason I do the inventory in June is that’s the latest I can do it before I start putting more new things in. Strawberries come in soon and I like to have 50# for a year. I think I put in 56# last year. We didn’t eat as many this year and I have 20 quarts left. So I will pick only 30 – 35 lbs. this year.

The usage (there are several more pages than what you see) is at the back of the notebook where I record all I preserve each year. So I can look quickly to see how much I put in, and how much is left.

Once I had the meat into the coolers, I defrosted the freezer quickly with hot water and then washed it with soapy water and rinsed and dried it. I did the dividers and baskets next and then turned the freezer on. It was still cold enough to freeze the water I missed on the sides, so I wanted to reload it.

Before I could do that, I needed to go to the barn and see what meat was left in the 1 operating freezer. My helper friend had arrived and we went up with old freezer baskets (I saved them from old defunct freezers) and took out all the meat.

All that was left in that freezer now was beef bone stock (47 quarts), chicken bone stock (44 quarts), and apple sauce 31 1.5 pint containers.

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When we got back to the house we inventoried what we’d found and started sorting it into cubbies in the freezer.

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We also sorted the ground meat into baskets, with fish at the end.

Once the coolers were empty, we started sorting and inventorying the vegetable freezer. The goal was to make room for the incoming strawberries.

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Once everything was sorted out and organized, we washed the outsides of the freezers and dried them. My next job was to write in my notes and figure out how much of what I was going to process this year.

Next up: inventorying the pantry and the root cellar.


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Excellent! Glad you found it useful for your digest. :))

Really enjoyed this, it was a REAL read. When you started talking about how you made your own butter if found myself wanting to just stop everything and write a reply asking your process! Have you a post about making butter? If not, i would upvote and promote for you!

We are just learning ways of logging/keeping track of our gathering and usage, but i'd say that wife is much better at logging intake than we are at the usage part.
May i ask how you keep track of your used?

These are my record keeping systems:

I don't keep track of used. I do an inventory at the end of the year. I compare that to my records of what I put in the year before and that tells me my usage.


You are my hero. Thanks so much!

Your organization is inspirational! I wish our freezer was as well stocked as yours. I should be keeping better track as you do. We are butchering our steer mid August. I will start an inventory then. I can't wait for our own beef again! It's so so SO nice to just go to the freezer and grab a package of meat knowing it has no preservatives or other nasty chemicals in it. Knowing what that animal ate and how it was treated. You've got me excited all over again!

We do all our own butchering. As we work, I keep track of weight, # of pkgs of an item, and what came from each side or quarter, for a processed weight at the end. This is what I use to compare to the inventory at the end of the year.

I would love to learn to do our own butchering! As it is we have only done chickens. It didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. I do have a bit of a problem eating them though. We don't have meat chickens and some were about 3 years old so they were a little scrawny compared to what you get in the store. We will get meat chickens next year and by then I hope to have acclimated us to the taste of meat that isn't loaded in chemicals.

We just raise heritage birds, as we don't have the energy to run 2 pens in the pasture each year. They do not much look like what's in the store. But we've been doing it for over 10 years and don't mind the difference.

At this point the oldest our birds get is around 18 months and that would be the current year's layers. They all turn into ground chicken so no problem with old and tough.

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incredibly impressive inventory! wow! way to go you two!! this is awesome <3

Well, as usual, it comes down to I don't have energy to do more work than I need to, and no memory. :)) But we've found it so useful to know what we need to get through a year.

My mom just told me this morning the local farmer has ALL their gallons of milk on special price for $1.19/gallon... Then I see this and think... HOMEMADE butter!!!

It would take a lot of milk to get enough cream.... :))

We buy the cream by the gallon for this job. Lovely, THICK, raw milk cream....

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How cool! I'm glad you liked it. :))

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