Hi Gardeners! This year I will finally have a garden again after many years. If everything goes well, I will have lots of veggies to freeze for the winter. I will have eight 12'x4' raised beds, 5 potato bags, 4 large blueberry bushed, and raspberry bushes. I'm not sure how big of a freezer I will need. There will be two of us eating during the season, as well as providing fresh produce to the food bank (they ask home gardeners to plant an extra row to donate) each week. I have room for storage for root vegs, squash and apples separately, so my main concern is what volume of frozen stuff I can expect from that area. Any suggestions? Also, I'm thinking an upright freezer (since you can actually find stuff) as opposed to a chest freezer. Do you have any particular favorites? TIA!
We picked up an upright off of craigslist for the beef we bought. Saved a TON of money over buying new, and it was in perfect shape. No problems finding stuff, although everything is labeled and fairly visible (since it is upright.)
And I think freezers are like barns--no matter how big it is, you'll wind up filling it, and looking for more space--so buy as big as you can (or limit yourself to something that doesn't exceed what you really *want* to store!)
I have two small uprights. One was good until the kids got bigger and we bought or froze things in larger quantities. Then I needed to purchase the second one. No big ones because you can't get them thru the basement door, plus ceiling is too short in this elderly house.
My mom bought the chest freezer because it was "so efficient", and having to put things up for feeding all of us kids. We ALL HATED trying to get something out of it. Seemed like whatever you wanted, was WAY down under everything else. So you had to half empty it to get the item, freeze your hands, then put stuff back inside. We tried various methods of organizing, which never worked for more than a couple trips to get stuff out, then it was a mess again. Also hard on your back, leaning over, digging around and lifting things out that are HEAVY. That freezer is why I got the uprights!! She also had a second freezer, upright, that held a lot, never got messed up when getting specified food items out. The chest freezer got given away, just to get RID OF IT when the boys moved out. The unsuspecting receiver (victim I say!) was even HAPPY to get it for her large family!
I would start with a smaller freezer, 15ft is what mine are, so you can fill it up. They run cheaper when kept full. You can see if your garden has much left to freeze after your giveaways, and if you are having fun doing it. Even at that size, mine do hold a lot of food. If you will be using freezer bags, you might look around for some wire baskets that fit the shelves, so you don't have bags sliding about. Also good for odd-shaped meat packages that don't stay stacked. With ground lamb, beef, pork, in our freezers, those small 1# tubes of ground meat are NUMEROUS and stack badly, so the baskets are a big help.
I remove everything and clean out the freezer once a year, get any older things to the front for eating choices. Putting the frozen stuff in chest coolers keeps it frozen for the cleaning time, and then you put it back in the freezer neatly. I like being able to stand up while pulling food out of the freezer, seeing the various sorted items instead of digging thru things to find it.
A marker pen hung on the door with a string and magnet is RIGHT THERE for marking stuff, dating it as you put it away in the freezer. Has been very helpful to me, having it there to use.
Uprights are worth the extra money. I had one a while ago and didn't appreciate it enough. Now I have a chest freezer, the only reason I got it vs an upright is because I found an amazing black friday deal that I couldn't pass up. If I had it to do again I'd spend the extra $$ on an upright.
I grew up with an upright in the house and I have a chest freezer in my apartment right now.
Uprights are SO much easier to deal with especially if you get in the habit of flattening your stuff before freezing it so you can stack it. If the model comes with a bin at the bottom, all the weird shaped stuff can go in there.
I agree that it's very annoying to try to rearrange a chest freezer and I definitely agree that whatever you want is always at the bottom!
If you have the storage space, I'd look into canning too. While not that great for somethings, it's excellent for other things (like bumper crops of tomatoes or if you like pickled veggies).
If you get a wide open chest freezer, meaning no bump outs/shelving etc, you can at least use some stackable metal shelving (the stuff coated in white, for example, and make reasonable shelves, then use plastic bins (or metal, doesn't matter) to store like things that area easily retrievable, just label the front with freezer tape so you don't have to pull bins out to see what's in it.
Chest freezers are just more efficient because of cold air sinking.
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We have a 3 dead body sized chest freezer....I'm telling you the thing is mammoth. We also have a small upright. Depending on how much you are going to freeze, you will probably find you like both but for different reasons.
The chest freezer is a pain for finding stuff if you aren't me (i.e. I send my DH or DD to find something...they aren't the ones who filled it up!). It keeps the stuff super frozen though and I can put SO much stuff in there without worrying that if I overfill it, frozen steaks or whatever don't fall out.
The upright is nice, too, though, because you can see the contents right off the bat. We freeze a lot of stuff - it's nice to have the smaller packages of fruits and things right there to see.
We are in the process of adding free range/grass fed meats to our product inventory and will be doing a chest freezer for those. Difficult to dig through in some cases but more energy efficient and really keeps the stuff frozen, imho.
My Mom had an upright, and when she used stuff up and had a little space, she used to put a milk jug of water in to freeze to keep the space filled up. Does that help with the efficiency? I used wire bins with my last chest freezer and it did help, but I still was a bit afraid I would fall in and die . I will also need to try to figure out how much floor space I can find to put a freezer in. The race car wheels may have to get stacked 8 high to make room. What brands of freezer have been problem-free for everyone?