The Annual Freezer Inventory
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.
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.
Underneath the butter were kale portions, just tossed in there.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When we got back to the house we inventoried what we’d found and started sorting it into cubbies in the freezer.
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.
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.