The Freezer Cure Week 1: Clean Out (and Eat Up!) Your Freezer

(Image credit: The Kitchn)
(Image credit: Gina Eykemans)

The Freezer Cure Week 1: Saturday, February 7
Assignment: Clear out and clean your freezer. Throw out what can’t be salvaged. Eat up what should be used!
Sign Up: Sign up here for The Freezer Cure

Welcome to Week 1 of The Kitchn’s 2015 Freezer Cure! This month we’re setting the reset button on our freezer, arguably one of the most important parts of the kitchen and the secret weapon of many savvy, organized home cooks. To make your freezer work for you, you need to first work on your freezer. That’s where this Cure comes in.

Take a good look at your freezer now, because you won’t even recognize it come March. (And that’s a good thing.) So let’s get started with this weekend’s task: clearing out the freezer!

(Image credit: Ariel Knutson)

Freezer Cure Assignment Week 1

Estimated time: 2 hours

1. Take a “Before” photo.

This is always the first thing we recommend when embarking on a kitchen project. Why? Because your short-term memory will undersell just how overstuffed and unorganized your freezer was at the beginning of this project. After you’ve put in all this hard work, you’ll be so pleased to have hard proof of how far you’ve come.


We also want to see your freezer now, so post it to your Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook account and use the hashtag #freezercure

2. Empty the freezer.

If you’re in one of the many states hit with snowstorms the last couple weeks, you’re in luck: Cleaning out your freezer in winter means you can put everything outside for a few hours without it melting. For those of you in warmer climates, after you’ve finished laughing at the rest of us, you can put all your frozen goods into a large cooler.

3. Defrost the freezer, if necessary.

If the freezer walls have more than a 1/4 inch of ice, defrost the freezer now before continuing.

4. Clean the freezer.

Follow our step-by-step tutorial → How To Clean The Freezer

5. Throw away inedible or freezer burnt food.

Before you put your frozen items back, get rid of anything unwanted or unusable. This includes food rendered unidentifiable by freezer burn, mysterious or unlabeled packages, and anything that was frozen so long ago you can’t even remember doing it. It also includes food you know, deep down, you’re never really going to defrost and eat. Let go of the guilt and get rid of it. Compost it if you can. The upside is that you won’t make the same mistake again.

6. Consolidate duplicates.

If you have two or more open packages of the same thing — a few open bags of frozen broccoli, for example, or two half-full packages of tortillas — consolidate them into one container so you know exactly how much you have to get through.

7. Make a plan to eat down your freezer this week.

To get your freezer ready for all the organization, shopping, and cooking you’ll be doing for it over the next four weeks, make a plan to eat up what’s in there now so you can start fresh. You don’t need to eat everything, of course, but make a plan for moving out and eating up the things that have been in there longest.

How We Will Help You Eat Down Your Freezer

You’re on your own when it comes to cleaning your freezer (we send good vibes your way!) but we want to help you actually eat up the things that have been languishing there. So, make your list of foods you want to eat up this week from the freezer, then come post them in our Stump the Editor Freezer Challenge. The Kitchn editors will be online Sunday evening and Monday morning and we’ll answer every comment/question with an idea or two!

What do you need to eat up from your freezer? Tell us! We’ll suggest recipes.

More Ideas for Eating Foods from The Freezer

Come back next weekend! That’s it for this week. Come back next Saturday for a big freezer organizing push! We’ll help you put a strategy and system in place to keep your freezer organized and working for you.

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Sign Up for the Cure Email & Follow Along at Home

We send you an email with each weekend’s tasks so you can follow along at home.