The freezer might be my best friend in the kitchen. I freeze beans, brown rice and cooked leafy greens for quick, healthy meals. I freeze bananas. I freeze calzones. I even freeze whole unbaked pies. All this freezing saves a lot of time and money, but my poor freezer is stuffed — and there's still more I want to freeze! That's why, even though I live in an apartment, I'm seriously considering buying a chest freezer.I live in an urban apartment with no garage or basement, which I thought made owning an extra freezer an impossibility, without even factoring in the extra cost of buying it and paying for the electricity to run it. But compact (5 cubic feet), energy-efficient chest freezers are available, and most cost less than $300, which is equivalent to about ten takeout orders from the local Thai place. A freezer loaded with meals to heat up on nights when I'm too exhausted to cook will pay for itself quickly.
Chest freezers are more energy-efficient than upright versions, and can keep food frozen longer if the power goes out. Manual-defrost models are cheaper and use less energy, but require the occasional defrosting, which can be inconvenient. The only other drawback is that chest freezers are more difficult to organize, as the items of the bottom can be hard to get to when the freezer is full.
For me, the economy and convenience of being able to make food in bulk and freeze it for busy nights outweighs the minor maintenance cost of a chest freezer and the effort of having to occasionally defrost it. All I need to do now is take a few measurements to make sure I can fit a freezer in the corner I have in mind.
Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.
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