Looking to freeze food efficiently

Mature kale plants and citron melon seedlings

By the end of the main growing season I should find myself with a nice amount of kale to freeze, along with chard, green beans and some other freezer-friendly crops. My fridge freezer is already practically full (including several bags of kale already), and I know that this is the year that I must invest in a highly energy efficient freezer (I’m assuming a chest freezer, as they are a little more energy efficient than upright models, but am open to persuasion in the other direction.)

While I’m in the midst of reading a pretty nifty book called Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage and Lactic Fermentation, I’m not planning on abandoning freezing as a preservation method at this stage. It’s very handy and works well for me for a number of crops, and now that our solar panels are finally up and running, we’re generating more electricity than we’re using. (I haven’t written about our solar project yet, have I…that’s another post.)

All this to say, do any of you have experiences with energy efficient freezers that you’d care to share? A must-have freezer that you’d love to recommend? A cautionary tale about depending on a freezer? Or any other thoughts on freezing / preserving the season’s harvest? I’d love to hear from any and all of you!

8 thoughts on “Looking to freeze food efficiently

  1. Chest freezers are more energy efficient, as you said, however they are not convenient – stuff slides around and slips to the bottom and you don’t discover it for a year. Some people are very organized and do boxes or crates or whatever, I never seem to have the time to get that set up. I also have a large front opening freezer, which is far more convenient with it’s shelves and door shelves. This is where I keep chicken for family consumption, frozen produce, frozen stock, bacon – stuff I use frequently. The chest freezer is for large cuts of meat (roasts, ham, large fish), and chicken we’re holding for other people, and the bucket of ice cream. The energy efficiency on the upright is better than the chest freezer, mainly because it’s only 3 years old – the chest freezer is at least 20. It is an Eaton’s Viking – which tells you it’s old – Eaton’s is long gone. Way to go on all your preserving – it’s a fine thing to have a year’s worth of food stashed away.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience and a bit about your freezers. You make such a good point about organization and ease of access with an upright. I think I could waste a lot of energy having the lid open on a chest freezer while I tried to find pork chops or rainbow chard!! You’ve given me some very good food for thought – thank you!

  2. At this time of year you can often find nearly-new used freezers on Kijiji and Craigslist, which is a fairly environmentally sound route to take.
    I prefer an upright freezer, and stash everything in wire baskets that I can pull-out easily.
    Don’t get frostfree, imo, because it tends to dry things out.
    Another advantage of an upright freezer is it’s very easy to defrost.

    1. Looking for a nearly-new ‘previously loved’ freezer is a wonderful idea. We are pretty heavy-duty second-hand purchasers, but I hadn’t thought about going that route for the freezer. Thanks for the words of wisdom!

  3. We freeze quite a bit of food, in the form of pre-prepared meals that we make. Although we know that chest freezers are the most efficient, we are reluctant to buy one because food gets so easily lost inside of them. I’ve had an upright before, and it was marvelous (albeit not as efficient energy-wise). Whatever you get, be sure to get one that is frost-free.

    1. The extra step that you take with freezing pre-made meals is so extremely sensible; I keep trying to get better at that one, but know I won’t do it till cold weather comes again. I’ll remember to look to your blog for some good reminders in that regard. An upright is sounding like the way to go, as well as frost-free! Thanks for weighing in Libby.

  4. No need to go frost-free if it’s an upright freezer – seriously, it’ll defrost in half an hour all by itself, with the full might of warmth and gravitational force! Just pile a few old towels on the floor of the freezer and the floor beyond, and they’ll soak up the drippings in no time at all.

    Frostfree definitely makes sense in a chest freezer, which is a total pita to defrost, but is really not required for an upright. Plus, do you really want freezerburn all over that glorious kale? 😉

    afaik, there’s very little difference in power used in an upright vs a chest freezer.

    1. I think I’m starting to get a good sense of how to go on this thanks to all of these great comments. I didn’t realize that modern upright or chest freezers still had those options, as any new fridge with a built-in freezer is automatically frost-free now (at least I think so). I clearly have some learning to do!

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