On the Death of My Freezer

By Ann Shayne
May 21, 2019

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  • Dry erase markers! Jot it down when it goes in, wipe it off when it comes out.

    • That is AMAZING. I’ve heard that people in commercial restaurants put masking tape on the plastic box and write on that with a sharpie, but this is so much better.

    • I used to do that when I had kids, it’s a HUGE help!

    • Genius!!

    • A dry erase marker was the first thing to hand when I was packing zip lock bags of homemade cookies during a marathon baking day. I found the last bag of ’em six weeks later, rummaging around the middle level of my freezer for a bag, any bag, of cookies. My carefully printed letters had dried & flaked off. With cookies, not knowing what kind, is fun. Had it been homemade stock . . . Dry erase marker ink flakes off in low temps. The ink is also water soluble; it will turn into a puddle of gray blobs if there’s condensation. I switched to Sharpies.

    • I use a china marker/ grease pencil that has been lying around for ages. It doesn’t wear off but can easily be scrubbed off the plastic container. I also just use the freezer on my fridge that way I can’t stockpile too much, not that I haven’t found odd surprises but they aren’t usually too old since I have to rummage regularly to find things.

      • china markers are also oh so good for labeling party wine glasses!

  • Absolutely love this! I have stopped freezing bananas. I know if I can’t be bothered turning them into banana loaf now then I definitely won’t fancy doing it when they come out that freezer. Make it or chuck ‘em and feel no remorse. I await the freezer tips of others with keen interest!

    • I make smoothies out of the frozen bananas. Finally I am not wasting bananas!

      • Me too! We have three daily smoothie drinkers at my house. I peel them and break them in half or thirds and lay them on a wax covered cookie sheet to freeze. Then throw them into a gallon bag. Super easy to toss a few pieces into each smoothie.

    • I make great banana bread, but I too have found that I won’t use frozen ones. I have to have 3 bananas of the same vintage to make banana bread! Luckily, I rarely have leftover bananas – I have to intentionally save 3 for banana bread.

    • Peel those bananas before putting them in the freezer, then flatten rhe bag out so that they are (more or less) frozen individually. Easy grab for smoothies, cakes, or muffins.

    • Black bananas make wonderful fertilizer for Staghorn Antler Ferns

  • omg – been there done that about 2 yers ago. All sorts of unidentifiable stuff chucked away. Mine was unrepairable so a lovely new Miele upright sits in its place now. Fabulous thing with a multitude of drawers that seem to keep everything in control. Things don’t seem to get lost very easily and everything is pretty visible. It’s even made me a little better at labelling and dating….

    • A smaller freezer. Seriously. Every time you try to squirrel, you will have to eat a nut. (aka: Apt living lesson #3 for a happy marriage to a person who thinks he can’t find room for that stock of butter.)

      • Really would love to know the other apt living lessons…

  • Sparking “Oy!” seems so appropriate!

    • Sparking oy is definitely the opposite of sparking joy. I love that.

      • Really. Took me the whole article to figure out it wasn’t ‘oy’ you meant about knitting with a 3 or 1!!

    • My freezer also sparks oy–usually just before the Passover purge. 😉

      • haha!

    • Love this!

  • Then there was the time I made soup with wedding punch, not frozen pork stock. I too no longer keep a separate freezer.

    • I am so glad that I’d already swallowed my sip of coffee before I read this. I’m so sorry, but man, that’s funny!

      • The worst was that I fed it to my diabetic step father and he ate it. I tried to talk everyone into take out once we figured out what happened but they all ate it anyway. I am frugal but that was way over the top.

        • Hahaha! I can’t even imagine how it tasted! I mean, I love fruit with meat (orange with duck or chicken, apple with pork) but punch??

    • I love your post!

      • I remember one Thanksgiving when my mother made turkey stock immediately after dinner — carcass was too big to fit in the fridge. She poured the stock into the empty apple cider jug so the fat could solidify (handy trick do this then puncture the jug just above where any solids have settled and the clear stock will flow out without any fat or sediment) anyway. My aunt who had gone out before the stock making came in and poured a glass of “cider” without turning on the lights and took a big swig — you can imagine the reaction! Being my family someone always still teases her anytime a jug of cider makes an appearance.

    • I cannot stop giggling about this!

    • I am so sorry this happened, but it made me laugh. And I needed a good laugh. Thanks.

    • Spewed tea.

  • For about 20 years I used my upright freezer to store my handspun yarn. Now that I finally have time to knit with it, I’m so glad I still have it (bug-free, due to keeping it frozen.) So far, I’ve made 6 heirloom blankets and have enough yarn left for at least 2 more.

    • Yarn storage! Now that sparkes joy.

      • I like this idea very much since freezer has UFO ‘s (unidentifiable frozen objects) since heaven knows when

    • Great idea!

    • When my last upright freezer broke, it basically turned the entire inside and all of its contents into a giant block of ice. While chipping and defrosting, I was delighted to find several skeins of forgotten sock yarn. Just like Christmas, ice and all.

    • How can it be possible to store one’s yarn stash in one upright freezer? I’d need an industrial freezer room as they have in big restaurants! hahah Now that’s an idea!!!

    • Oooh, that’s a happy use for a freezer! I could use a freezer for a yarn and bee supplies combo to keep all my hobby supplies big free!

  • I have felt this pain. My current, fairly successful, plan is no wishful thinking freezing.

    I also use it for yarn…had a little moth issue

    • Considered storing stash in unplugged freezer as airtight, but uncertain. Does anyone else do this?

      • My husband says Jimmy Hoffa is down at the bottom of my chest freezer and that’s why they will never find him

        • Hysterical

      • I just remembered reading something in Ravelry once. New yarn into a plastic bag, then put into freezer for 2 days. This makes sure there are no buggies in the yarn.

        So fix the freezer and use it for food and for yarn.

        • Some people even do this with their denim. Instead of washing. Ulp!

      • I store yarn in an old refrigerator (unplugged) in my garage. Works well!

  • The purpose of freezing quarts of stock is to help keep your freezer cold. They are just big ice packs. Feel no shame.

    My freezer is full of bags of frozen mashed bananas and boxes of ice cream novelties. I do use the bananas occasion though because I have an easy banana bread recipe that I have been known to use just to make the house smell nice.

    • Please share your banana bread recipe – always looking for a good one (for all of the frozen bananas in my freezer lol)

  • I bought a fridge with 4 doors. French doors on the upper. Great for platters.
    Freezer is 2 drawers on bottom with one being able to be freezer/fridge. I use it on the fridge cycle as a beverage compartment.
    My freezer is used for keeping my Tanqueray Gin and occasional gallon of ice cream.

  • And now the j key on your computer is not working either

  • Somewhere buried in the freezer is an analogy to the yarn stash. Ust saying . . .

    • My thoughts, exactly.

  • Many European kitchens have only a very small refrigerator and no freezer at all; yet they crank out some totally amazing meals from their closet sized kitchens. Food for thought (pun intended).

    • Yes very true! My small Italian freezer has a small amount of ice cubes and that’s it,…

      • My deep freeze has frozen breast milk…..my son is 35 years old now. But I’ve kept it this long I just can’t get rid of it.

        • OMG I laughed!

        • Best comment ever!

  • Ice cream

  • I agree. I so wish that there was a farmer’s market everyday and it was like France that you could get fresh bread every day. And I would prefer it just cook what I buy that day and not have a big fridge or freezer.

    • You are a girl after my own heart!

    • We lived in Israel and I had that kind of market and became very spoiled. Now I buy once a week and refridg or freeze. I too would much rather do like I had over there. Linda

  • Ann, I loved this one. Now I need to clean out my freezer, but be sure and save the avocado pits for their beautiful color on cotton or wool. Living in Florida I do get a forced clean out when hurricanes visit. But the pantry is a mess also. It’s all those “ buy one get one free” deals at Publix.

  • I remember thawing unlabeled chicken breasts before going to work. Returned to find thawed bait, squid I think.

    • Fritto misto night!

  • i have to say, my freezer is kinda sparking joy right now. it’s not even close to being full. it just has a few things in it. i’ll back up and explain: first, divorce final (joy!!!), then new house (so much joy! and a fair spoonful abject terror, but that’s ok), and with new house, came new freezer, so pretty and empty. i’ve spent the last six months or so using it sparingly. i haven’t frozen any leftovers, and it’s so nice knowing the green beans are still almost new. there’s some ice cream, french fries, some burritos, but those will all be eaten soon. (kid number one is back from college, kid number two is about to be out of high school for the summer). it won’t last forever, i know that, but it’s nice to take a step back and notice how much empty white space there is in there. my recommendation: enjoy the emptiness it while it lasts.

  • Your column this morning sparked much oy in me and started my day off with many laughs. If the lads are gone, why do you need a freezer any more?

  • My husband, an engineer, is our cook. He keeps a “frozen food” rotation list in our documents so when he develops the menu he uses the list to keep our foods interesting.

    I do believe he is one in a million though. =)

    • I may be related, in spirit if not in fact! I keep an Excel spreadsheet on my laptop (which lives on the kitchen island). Before I put anything in the downstairs upright freezer, I label it (masking tape/permanent marker) on the side of the container (so I can read it looking in) and enter it on the spreadsheet. When I bring something upstairs, before I let myself cook with it, I remove it from the spreadsheet so I don’t think it’s still there three weeks later…

    • My husband keeps a list on the fridge of what is in the freezer and how much. When it starts getting too full we focus on eating from the freezer. Some things that no longer interest do get tossed.

    • Engineers make good spouses! (Well, at least I like to think so, being one, too.) We also believe wholeheartedly that we can take over the world with spreadsheets and lists. If it’s not true, please don’t say so.

  • Hilarious! And so, so true. I have great admiration for those of you who use the black bananas.

  • Thank you for starting off my Tuesday with laughter. Oh my goodness, this is my freezer too!

  • You and I are the same person! The knitting needle sizes, the freezer of old stuff. The same old stuff-right down to the ‘turkey frame stock’ makings. I am no help at all to you for the new freezer, sorry. However, I do have new food in there too. I recently made freezer meals with my family. How long will they be in there waiting for the right occasion to use something so fine? Waste not, want not. When my husband’s grandfather died, it was said of his chest freezer, ‘I wouldn’t go down past the first layer or two’ as we were deciding what to bring back with us.
    And the ‘j’—cracking me up every time there was a J word.

  • I am SO GLAD I am not the only person who has fallen prey to the frozen seafood aisle at Trader Joe’s.

    • Me too!

  • Once upon a time my parents’ chest freezer totally defrosted after they lost power for a few days. When she was cleaning up the mess my mom found the lost diamond that had fallen out of her wedding ring years before. It had been stuck in the frost. That certainly sparked some oy!

    • That’s amazing! What a great story.

  • Wow – your freezer contents sound EXACTLY like mine! We had a power outage a month ago that forced a blessed cleanout, but we’re heading in that same direction again. I only have one tip – I use a tupperware container (without the lid) to store all the frozen burritos upright (college-age son lives on them). Keeps things marginally more organized.

  • Not sure if it would help with things like Shrimp Stock (wow! so ambitious!), but I endorse the List on the Front of the Fridge idea. Sometimes, if you are reminded that you have a half-bag of frozen corn, you’ll actually use it before it becomes a solid rock of freezer frost studded with corn nuggets. (Interestingly, I never lose track of ice cream or Trader oe’s flatbreads–no need to list them….)

  • Get a smaller dresser and twice year take everything out look at dates if more than six months old hefty bag it. Then get pad of paper write down what put back in and tack to refig. It may help.

  • Ice cream Ann, only Ice cream and vodka in the freezer!!!

    • Signing on to this one.

    • I want to be this person. Decadent, yet elegant and restrained.

    • The two food groups …

    • Our small upright freezer is full of Tillamook ice cream and Marie Callenders frozen chocolate silk pies. Once we had 5 pies in tgere.

  • I have never had a separate freezer (pipe dream of mine my husband won’t get with). My kid is just about to go off to uni and she’s rarely here now. So it’s just 2 of us. I don’t see a universe in which the basement freezer will be a reality. But I saw myself in practically every one of your categories above?! Just in my small fridge-attached freezer. It’s a universal issue! (And I’m generally hyper-organized. But man my freezer is a hoarder-zone.)

  • I sort things by shelf so easy to find. 1 for veg, 1 for meat, 1 for bread/frozen lasagna or meatballs, 1 for fruit, 1 for ice cream. When it is easy to find, I use it. Helps that I still have little ones at home. I also found a recipe for preparing frozen fish filets in 20 min. Huge life saver. Now just to remember to thaw…

  • The chicken nuggets! The frozen bananas! The ICE CREAM! Oh the humanity !!

    Oy! (A Yiddish expression; my “j” is working). Ann, it’s a “Frozen” tragedy. Let it go! Let it go!

  • Hi Ann, looks like a keyboard might be the next thing you need, you lost all your “j”s. sorry about your freezer, I use mine just like you. Usually gets emptied when I’m moving.

  • Please replace your refrigerator/freezer – the new one will be so much more energy efficient. I like the idea of many drawers. Personally, I have an upright freezer right beside my regular refrigerator/freezer and because it is so handy, we keep it stocked full. I am sure there are some mysterious packages, but I really do know what most of them are!

    • Exactly !
      I have a small chest freezer in the dining room of my 850 square ft home; my college-aged daughter and I just dig through it.
      We are in Florida, also, and lose power during every hurricane.
      After Irma, FEMA came through and we were able to replenish.

  • Ann, you know me: I don’t judge. I’ve been visiting you all these years, and of course I have had occasion to open your freezer (looking for the Tanqueray no doubt). Honest to Pete, I was impressed at how you maintained such a robust supply of homemade stock. Never dreamed it was the same stock as last time, and the time before….

  • What a great piece of writing! I think I’ll be sending this to everyone I know. You really made lemonade from a lemony situation with this one. I laughed so hard!

  • Ice, ice packs, and Moscow Mule Mugs. That’s. All.

  • OMG!!!! This post is hysterical!!! Thank you for the laugh! I don’t have a method for keeping track of what’s in the freezer, you’d think I would as ours went out a couple of years ago, but it was our entire refrigerator, and we used coolers for several days. We do have a chest freezer too, that I barely ever open! Good luck on getting a new one or getting this one fixed!

  • For me the freezer is all about frozen veggies, cheese rinds used for adding to soups as well as where I store a bottle each of Gin and Vodka. Makes for better drinks with less ice to dilute the drinks! And an ever full ice bin as we l like our water iced!!!!

  • OMG I needed this today!!! and the missing letter ust tops it off!

  • Oy! Mine is 22 years old too!

  • Turn it off. Clean it thoroughly. Use it to store yarn. Because that’s what really sparks oy. Oh, and I’ll bet you will open it more often too.

  • We sold the family home five years ago, and the freezer went with it. We decided to wait and see if we missed the freezer before investing in a new one. Well, we have two fridges with fairly spacious freezers and only once in five years have I wished we had a separate freezer. The kids are grown, we eat differently from the old days, and I know that I will never use the brown bananas etc that I used to store so faithfully. I like the idea of freezing yarn, though. Thanks for a good laugh, Ann.

  • Need a freezer…if only for the ice cream!!

  • 95% of my freezer is pre-garbage staging. Not on purpose, it just is. 5% ice and 5% butter, because I don’t run out of butter. Ever.

    • Wow, that’s 105%! That must be like the amplifier that “goes up to 11” in “This is Spinal Tap.”

    • I absolutely love the phrase “pre-garbage staging!” When food in the fridge is about to go bad but I feel guilty for wasting it, I freeze it for later instead of throwing it out. Of course, old frozen fish usually ends up in the garbage!

  • We have a dead freezer in our basement and a small stuffed drawer freezer in our kitchen. Now that we are mostly plant based we don’t need to freeze that much. I, too, have frozen fruit for the smoothies I will never make. In the morning, it’s a choice between coffee or smoothie. I can only drink so much liquid at breakfast and honestly, that’s not really a choice. At this point it will always be coffee.

  • Oy! All you lovely people with the spare frozen bananas — send them to mE! I can’t keep them in the freezer. Banana bread every weekend! It’s amazing with jalapeno jam, btw.

  • I will be amazed if you get this one repaired. Go to Home Depot and buy a new one and luxuriate in new freezer jams and fresh ice cream

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. A day that starts with me laughing till I cry is off to a good start. THAT’S some genuine oy-sparking.

  • I live alone and I’m trying, no, working on sticking to WW so I spent a long weekend last month doing what I call “investment cooking.” My freezer is tidily stocked with single portions of five WW recipes–and portioned out chocolate ice cream so I don’t over-serve myself. Much. But I still find ancient UFOs tucked away. Including a bag of mixed seafood that was an ALDI special purchase not too long ago. I should probably cook that.

    I wouldn’t get that key fixed. How often do you really need a “j”? Oy!

  • I feel your pain! Been there – we once had the revelation just as a very nice piece of Copper River salmon was coming off the grill – talk about a pivot!

    Your keyboard is right – it did spark “oy” for me!

  • My mother passed away 3 months after her last birthday. My mom & dad had frozen the cake, for who knows why?! My dad passed away 18 years after my mom and what was in the bottom of his old chest freezer? Yup, the birthday cake. I almost couldn’t throw it out. Broke my heart.

  • You always make me laugh out loud, but this one was especially oyful. My freezer is nothing but fruit, because smoothies ARE a good idea.

  • I have the bananas and I told myself I was not going to freeze them anymore, just throw them, but I could not bear it. Luckily some of my meat is vacuum packed and it lasts even longer than they say. I finally used up ground beef from 2016 and we are still here to talk about it. When I cleaned out my freezer last year, I told myself I was not going to fill it as much again. Now I can hardly see in there. Maybe we are all squirrels, digging the sunflower seeds into the soil in hopes that someday we will be able to retrieve them. I have no answers, only questions, and a lot of things stored in my freezer!

  • We are going through the busted refrigerator / freezer debacle right this minute

  • If I lived alone I’d only use my freezer for commercial packaged goods like Trader Joe’s entrees and ice cream because that seems to be what I reach for, use up and wish I had! The rest stays as you say until it’s better than Doritos for dinner.

  • My upright freezer requires defrosting so that forces me into it at least once a year so I stay on top of that pretty well. The freezer on my fridge is another story. But usually my husband goes to a warm climate during the winter for a few weeks so I try to eat only out of the freezer during that time. This past winter he went for a much shorter time so it didn’t work as well.

  • My greatest oy would be not replacing the freezer and making that space into another place to store yarnie goodies. Oh, think if all the yarnie stews, stocks, and smoothies to be made! What oy ust to open up that pseudo freezer and select a brightly colored lump of frozen goodness and make a shawl, a hat,mittens,or even a sweater! Bon apetit!

  • The only thing in my freezer right now is a sweater with a moth hole. I was trying to kill all the moths. It’s been there for probably a year.

  • I have containers of chicken soup – which get passed on to sick friends. Jewish Penicillin to be sure.
    One child didn’t close my freezer once …

    • I hear you. We had just walked thru the door after grocery shopping. Phone rang and husband was back onshore from 3 months off shore diving. He was 2 hours away. I sent our 10 yr. old out to freezer to put what we bought in. Long story short. We came back 3 days later to find a freezer completely defrosted and hot (mid summer South Mississippi). My son had “closed” the freezer door half shut. It was one way to clean out the freezer. He got a spanking out of that. (but not hard).

  • This is the thing nightmares are made of! We ust ( no j in solidarity) filled our freezer with a quarter of a cow. Best of luck fixing and refilling yours.

  • When my freezer died I was entering into the Empty Nester phase of life and no longer needed to stock up feed for adolescent boys.We replaced it with a refrigerator that now stores my husband’s soda (albeit diet) habit and beer for now adult children if and when they visit. There is some extra freezer space but not enough to completely lose track of what’s in there.

  • Few things make me actually laugh out loud but reading this did. Trader oe’s and ulia Child and frozen black bananas and four quarts of shrimp stock. Hilarious. #thingswefreeze

  • There is nothing about cleaning out a long-dead freezer that sparks “Oy” in the slightest. In my world it sparks lots of “OY!!!! And then a lot of other words……

  • I started a white board above my freezer. My husband maintains it meticulously AND MEAL PLANS BASED ON THE VISIBLE CONTENT OF THE FREEZER! What is this marvel? Kidding aside, it helps prevent the nine year old shrimp stock problem and it has trained me to not save stuff I don’t want him to serve.

  • When my grandmother died some years ago, my parents moved all of her stuff – including everything in her old chest freezer – to their house a few states away. Then my parents decided it would be a good idea to cook one of those old roasts. Well, the one they chose was 45 years old.

    They invited my brother to dinner that night, and he swears they didn’t tell him the meat was older than we were. As I lived out of town and couldn’t attend, I fully expected to be the only person left in the family.

    Somehow everyone lived, but it was a wake up call to me to clean out my freezer. I don’t want to die and leave my kids dino-roasts.

    • this made me laugh out loud! I love you guys!

    • OMG
      I think I just woke the dog with my giggles…
      A 45 year old roast?! That takes the cake.

  • One summer when my in laws were away we went over to check the place. They lived about 30 minutes away, and had neighbors checking the mail etc. so we only popped in occasionally. Summers here get into the 100+ range daily (you know what’s coming…) The fridge in their garage died, and everything in there wasn’t just thawed, but spoiled. My husband and I alternated between bagging up rotting meat and running into the house gagging until we got it cleaned out. Talk about oy!

  • I feel your pain, my freezer died last week and I faced the shame of all that mystery food that I saved for some reason – probably because my mother was a depression era child which led her not to throw anything out, especially food. I am planning on turning over a new leaf but have serious doubts I will be a minimalist with what goes into the freezer.

  • As a longtime plant based eater, my freezer is primarily frozen fruit and greens. That being said, I have a few strange concoctions in balls jars….my outside freezer is mainly for dog food and my stockpile of Trader Joe’s nuts (and 1 bag with a poncho with moth attacked edging). I feel the need to go home and clean, label and sort said freezers!

  • “sparking oy” is my favorite part of this post. I know it is because of your broken J key but it is funny. It’s like sort of the opposite of sparking joy. I can see asking, does it spark joy or does it spark oy?

  • Ann – enjoyed your story (and was sorry for the loss of your good old freezer. . .they don’t make them to last anymore). Your story is motivating me to add a task to clean out the freezer this weekend. Gosh one hates to throw out food. . .but very likely no one wants to eat some of the stuff that I have saved in my freezer. So I’m sorry for your loss, but thanks for sharing your story and I expect motivating many of us to act. Now I’ll go read all the comments to see what tips others provide!

  • I’m surprised you didn’t find any fiber/yarn/other wool items in a zipper bag to kill moths – like in my freezer!

  • Omg, are you sure you didn’t empty out my freezer by mistake?

  • OMG, I hear you!! Publix really does cause “overstock” or pantries and fridges. So does Costco…sometimes it’s amazing, other times it’s a cart full of $250 dollars of “What the hell did I just buy!? I swear I just came in here for sheets!”

    Now I try really hard to clean the fridge and freezer and toss old stuff when I make a major grocery store trip, I have been there and done that with the “forced” hurricane clean out. I think us Floridians worry more about our fridge contents than the Cat level of hurricanes when they come to visit…

  • Recently,I had to replace my refrigerator (only 11 years of age – my previous one lasted 32 years) and I identify with all the “oy” of cleaning out the freezer.

    On another note, I think that this will be of interest to other knitters. Knitting as science!


  • You have a major opportunity here. With the Lads gone, you don’t need to buy (and freeze) as much food. As a result, your yarn budget increases — and so does the space available to store yarn! Unless you are a clothes moth, the only edibles in the freezer should be: one tray of ice cubes; 4-5 frozen entrees; one package of Klondike bars; and one bottle of premium vodka (optional). Store yarn in the rest of the space. (Sorry, Kermit — fresh catnip doesn’t freeze well!)

  • Loved your post today. Our refrigerator/freezer died 6 months ago after 15 years of reliable service. I thought I’d have a friend help me clean out the old unit before the local charity picked it up. So glad I didn’t. The things I found in there–the ages, the states of decay (never seen pink mold before!), the smells. I would have had to leave the state after that kind of exposure. Doing much better now on throwing away food after a reasonable time has passed and refusing to freeze anything we will never use (The rationalized apocalypse has not happened in our 30 years of freezing.)

  • Ok, full confession time: the strangest mystery item I ever defrosted from my freezer was . . . a human placenta! My girlfriend stuck it in there when she was moving without telling me (WHY she had her second child’s placenta in her freezer is a whole ‘nother story), and years later, surprise! for me. I swear upon my yarn stash that this is a true story.

    • Double full confession time: as another Floridian who only cleans out her freezer during hurricane power outages, I too had my second child’s placenta frozen in there when Irma struck in 2017. (We were saving it to plant under a tree.) Because I hadn’t gotten ‘round to planting it yet, I did store it in my best friend’s freezer for several days, but WITH HER CONSENT! Don’t worry, I retrieved it and it’s now under a Sycamore in the front yard. The kid’s 2nd birthday is tomorrow!

  • At my last excursion to TJ’s, I picked up a slab of Dover sole on impulse. Just sayin’.

    Useful freezer: ice, ice cream, cold packs, pizza dough (ala Truly Madly Pizza), homemade chicken stock

  • My fridge is only 7 years old. It came with the house. I totally hate it: I think it’s configured oddly, plus the front is non-magnetic, so my magnet collection is relegated to the little strip on the side that sticks out from the cabinet. I am so hoping it will die young! I think it’s starting to make funny noises….

  • Oh Ann! Do I need to chat with you!! Not one, but now TWO refrigerator/freezers have bitten the dust. All while loaded with food, especially the frozen meat type of food. How the hell do you get the stink out of the freezer?? Everything works, but it stinks beyond anything I’ve ever smelled. Please pass along how the stink can be removed, if you know. Currently, the putrid thing is running like a champ and chewing up electricity, but alas, I refuse to put anything in it. GFI. Need I say more?

    • That’s what’s so weird about my freezer failure: it didn’t smell terrible at all. It was completely neutral, despite the contents that should have set off a charnel house-style aroma. I did have the experience, years ago, of a freezer that died without anybody being in the house for about a month. The only solution for that thing was the dump–it was unbelievable.

  • I really am sorry about the demise of your freezer and all that potential food (ok, mainly the ice cream), but what I’m going to be thinking and smiling about all day is “sparking oy”. Thank you for that!

  • I too once had a freezer. I got it just before my third child was born. I made gallons of spaghetti sauce and vats of beef stew, and kept an emergency supply of popsicles there. Child #3 is now 36. I haven’t had a freezer for years and can’t imagine filling it. Two people manage just fine with the refrigerator freezer.

  • Thank God there was only a 1/2 pint of ice cream ruined! At least this melt down wasn’t a tragedy.

  • Haha! This reminds me of the time when I found a 12-year-old unopened can of eggnog in the back of my refrigerator when cleaning it out before it died — it was already in hospice care.

    We’ve never had a stand-alone freezer but now have a regular fridge with 2 bottom freezer drawers. Enough to feel like more than one compartment on top, but not so much that stuff gets lost — though it does. I use the masking tape and ball-point pen method, as my mother did. It helps!

    Now if I could only get DH to sniff stuff in the fridge that I haven’t thrown out yet, before he decides “it looks ok,” having missed the green fuzzy dots. Have had a few close calls there!

  • No new idea….just replace and be happy

  • Brexit looming! That does not spark oy but does necessitate a chest freezer purchase, which means any amount of room for frozen fries…

  • newly found, or re-purposed yarn storage. nothing will ever go bad again…

  • I can’t tell if I’m LOL more about knowing exactly what you mean with frozen food stuff or the missing J

  • When I run out of tupperware, I stop shopping. The freezer becomes empty. When there’s so much clean tupperware I can’t put it all away, the freezer is empty enough that I can peek in and make a list. DO NOT MAINTAIN THE LIST. I only make one every couple of years when I’m like “why is there so much stuff and NONE of it is ice cream?” Armed with the knowledge of what’s there, I still don’t go shopping except for the basics that will fill out what’s in the freezer (stuff to add to soup or whatever). Colored masking tape makes labelling more fun. But even the unlabelled stuff ends up defrosted and eaten somehow because…mom did not go shopping. Mom is tired of shopping, there’s food here already!
    Thank you for this opportunity to look forward to there being fewer people in the house to feed. I mostly feel at a loss when Mr. Me talks about “life when the children have left” but now I’m really looking forward to the all ice cream channel in the freezer, with no extra stuff in the way.

  • my freezer is rather small now – it holds ice cream, english muffins (buy 1, get 2 free), ice packs for lunch boxes, a challah loaf (I slice it fresh, then freeze the slices so I can defrost two for french toast on a weekend) and a couple frozen pizzas for teenage boys to scarf down. And that is IT.

  • I enjoy not having one anymore. I hadn’t realized how pressured I always felt to use what was in there and while I would gather supplies to make specific items, I lost interest quickly and there it all was, judging me for “wasting all that money.” I love just having my “bottom” freezer in the fridge now. Perfect for DH and myself now.

  • Several people have tried to give us a freezer. To their dismay, I have avoided this quite successfully. We’re a household of two and don’t need large quantities of anything. I do use our freezer of the fridge extensively and with great oy. Nothing spreads more oy for this cook than to discover one more container of frozen chili to make dinner happen miraculously after a long day at knitting group. I am conscientious about rotating the stock (literally and figuratively), keeping an eye on the seasonality of our menu.

  • Ooooh the pain of a wasted pint of churro ice cream! I wish I could help you but I was nodding my head to everything you said. And I think you inadvertantly coined a new phrase with “spark oy”. LOL!

  • ust say “no” to the stress!
    Who needs to feel guilty over all those good intentions stored in that food!
    I loved this letter — you are a wonderful writer. I had a olly good time reading & laughing!

  • I always related to you, Ann, but never this much!! Hilarious.

  • I have a 30-year old upright freezer that needs defrosting every year or two. On most of the shelves I have wire baskets that hold frozen stuff in labelled ziplock bags. I cook things like soup and tomato sauce in large quantities and freeze 2 portions at a time in tupperware containers. When the stuff is frozen, I pop it out into ziplock bags and label them with a sharpie. I have 4×6 postits on the freezer, one for each bin, listing contents. I had a bad fall and have been mostly off my feet for months. “Cooking” out of the freezer has been wonderful.

    My experience is that if the freezer is full, even a 4-day power fail doesn’t cause thawing. A husband who leaves the door open, however, causes a lot of damage. I do feel for you finding your whole freezer compartment thawed!

  • Condolences on the loss of your ice cream! I knew just by reading the title of this post that it was going to be sadly hilarious. You did not disappoint. And as others have written…”sparking oy!” Priceless!

  • A friend’s son insisted she keep their defunct freezer for his tortoise collection to hibernate in … apparently you just open the door once a week to let some air in and the constant temperature ensures they emerge fine and dandy in the spring.

  • If one is Jewish, one (theoretically) Kon Mari’s fridge and freezer once a year in preparation for Passover. During the week-long spring holiday, one is forbidden to eat most grains, and thanks to the obsessive compulsive nature of Judaism, lots of processed foods that might contain grains or leavening or even a whiff of “hametz”, the forbidden substance. So the annual fridge/freezer dive is always fraught, but at least the mysterious, disgusting and potentially lethal foods are usually less than 1 year old. Of course, you can keep unprocessed meats,fish,chicken and plain frozen fruits/veggies. So that could be problematic down the line. Also, I have heard that some people have a second freezer where they store hametz during the holiday, pretending they no longer own them (a technicality) Nobody I know does this. . . but I have heard of the practice. . . but not me. .. never. Alas, maybe in a few years I’ll identify and/or eat the icebergs of meat substances lurking in my freezer.

  • Our freezer died a few years ago. We couldn’t ID most of what was in it. It was like whatever went in there, never came out. We haven’t replaced it. We no longer buy in bulk – we think about the current week, and that’s it. It’s been WONDERFUL. I am so less wasteful!

  • Only 20 some years old??? What a baby! My “gorgeous”, “stylish”, avocado green fridge, which does match the rest of my 1979 .kitchen, was 52 years old last Sept n l still have the sales slip to prove it. Bought when daughter was 6 wks old n we’d just moved from Panama City to Montgomery. It still makes ice cubes n 1.5 hours. IF someone fills the trays. What a trip down the lane….

  • We got rid of our garage freezer when we realized that most of what it contained was Crisco cans full of bacon fat that my husband was saving for…I don’t know. To pan-fry stuff in? He was hoarding bacon fat. Not good. We donated it to a charity that serves warm meals to the homeless. And we haven’t missed it once. I should add: we have four kids still at home, ages kindergarten to college freshman, and we like to cook, and my husband is someone who makes stock from the ham bones or turkey carcass or whatever…so it’s not like we eat takeout or something. 🙂 But between getting rid of that bad boy and the elliptical, we can actually park a car in our garage. 🙂

  • Ice cream and ice cubes. That’s it. That’s all you ever really need a freezer for, and all one can manage.

  • My “ extra” freezer is rather empty right now as I leave one shelf dedicated for knitting projects. I read a hint from a commercial knitwear designer about how to stop natural fiber yarns from shedding by giving then a vacation in the freezer for a few nights.Seems the little barbs found on the yarn that become all compressed by spinning suddenly think they are back on the sheep and come to life again, pop out and cling to each other just as they do on the sheep to keep it extra warm in the winter. This trick has worked rather well for the most part for me. So into a big plastic bag and off for a freezer vacation go many of my sweaters and the added bonus is unlike the ice cream section this shelf is fat free!

  • HYSTERICAL!!!I I have less and less in my freezer and probably won’t be freezing much anymore. We all did this freezing thing!!! Now so many people are so busy they order out and have meals delivered (I still don’t understand that as it is so pricey) but out younger population is so busy working, car pooling etc that they hardly have time to cook and the older generation doesn’t want to cook. When I first saw the picture of the empty freezer I thought you were going to write that you found a new place to hide your “stash”. :)))))) Thanks for the laugh. I love this site.

  • I live alone, love to cook and love my freezer. When I have leftovers, I put whole meals (mains and sides) into small ziploc containers and freeze them. I label what is in the container with marker right on the side of the container. When I am too lazy to cook I have full dinners ready to go. These frozen meals are not only great for me: friends who have loved ones in the hospital, grown children just back from vacation, anyone who needs a pick me up have all benefitted from these home made frozen dinners.

  • This treatise is pretty funny, particularly with no functional letter J!

  • Great article! You don’t need a freezer. We all do what you did and why? Because some advertising genius figured out a way to make us think we needed one.

  • My freezer melt down experience would be almost exactly like yours (I’ve never fooled myself in to making shrimp stock). I suddenly don’t feel so alone! Thanks for sharing and just being plain real about it all!

  • Our Wedding cake from 1984. It’s travelled around the country from my mother’s freezer in Canada, to Albuquerque, NM to Bloomfield Hills, MI. It is wedding fruitcake in true British/Canadian tradition. My favourite memory of it, was eating some after 25 years of marriage. The best part was the horrified look on the teen/young adult faces, as our children and good friends realized we were eating something older than they were. A few of them were brave enough to try. It tasted amazingly…..fruitcakeish. No freezer burn taste at all.
    We still have some of our wedding cake in the back of the freezer, and now, in true family tradition, my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding cake from 2017.

    P.S. They found frozen fruitcake a few years ago in the Antarctic from Scott’s expedition 100 plus years ago. Apparently, it too was edible.

    • Hah!! We still have the top layer of our 1984 wedding cake in the freezer, too! I’m not sure I dare taste it, but I did peek at it last August’s anniversary and the frosting was at least still close to the original white. Maybe for our 50th… I’m guessing that someone in the future will be tossing it, saying ‘what were they thinking??!!!’

  • Learned my lesson in the massive power outage (2003. our neighbourhood had some great barbecues that week, though!

  • My friend’s 90-something father was found to have hoarded so much in his freezer (mostly frozen fish from his days as a surf fisherman) that his floor underneath collapsed a few inches. Fortunately, he lives in a ranch house without a basement so structural damage was minimal.

  • (Off topic, kind of) Is it just me, or are there no “j”s in this post? Maybe the keyboard was in cahoots with the freezer?!

  • Your post sparked joy for me!
    Last year we thought that our freezer (a bottom version) had died. We called a delightful repairman who told us to check a large rotary dial….turns out that all that our freezer digging had somehow turned the dial to “off” rather than to “colder”. A forced Kon Mari experience was avoided…..with no charge! I wish it was as easy for you…but then again the thought of an EMPTY freezer does spark joy in my soul! Wishing you continued freezer joy!

  • I had a large chest freezer at my old house, and things disappeared into the depths, surfacing only when it was often difficult to determine what the package contained. In my new house I have a very small chest freezer for frozen fruit for my smoothie-addicted daughters, Trader Joe’s indian meals, the ice cream bowl for my ice cream maker, and, until internment this weekend, the body of a guinea pig who died during the dead of winter when the ground was too frozen to dig. In response to the eewwws, she is wrapped in two organic tea towels, and sealed in two freezer ziplocs, so I am ok with it, although one of my daughters refuses to get anything out of the freezer while Gernee is in there. After our “service” on Sunday the freezer will be for food only!

    • In some parts of the world, guinea pigs ARE food, so you’re all good, and have been so for a while now. 🙂

  • Well…. I occasionally come across an unmarked double bagged ziplock and after deep inspection I rediscover that beautiful dead mink that got trapped in the upstairs of the barn when we left the door open for a weekend away….. in the winter… and then just closed the door for the rest of the winter…. it’s waiting for me to deliver it to my retired veterinarian brother-in-law who will be delighted to skin the specimen for that valuable pelt!!! …. which I will probably get arrested for having!!!
    And …. my sister confesses to still storing that blue jay that window crashed twenty years ago!!!

  • Read this aloud last night to my non knitting friends — yes, still have some of those….:)
    They were in stitches, of the laughter kind, and recounting their own stories of freezer horrors. Sparking oy all over the world!
    Thanks Ann for your humor. It spreads love, and joy!

  • Reminds me of the time my freezer (living in a shed attached to the patio) died. Full of chicken. In August. In Arizona.

    Now I barely cook so I mark frozen things with the month and year I froze them, I figger if I can’t recognize it I probably don’t need to eat it.

  • If you get it repaired, store yarn in it! Yarn never gets freezer burn or goes bad!

  • I have a very organized friend who always baked ahead for PTA sales, church bake sales, family camping trips, etc. Her children eventually figured out where all those goodies were stashed and would occasionally sneak a treat…or two. Sometimes the packages ended up to be less than the 2 or 3 dozen cookies she was expected to contribute. (She has 5 kids, so many snacks may be “needed” after school.) Hmmm. Being a very clever mama, she solved the problem. Cookies, brownies, whatever, were packaged as usual with an outer wrapping of white freezer paper and carefully lettered label…”Liver”.

  • Sounds like the un-frozen surprises sparked “oy,” alright . . . as in: “OY!!! What is this stuff?!” 🙂

  • Ann, I think we have the same keyboard.

  • Why did I think you were going to reveal that you had turned your dead freezer into yarn storage?

  • Thank you for always making me laugh out loud. I continue to marvel at your cleverness. And I vote to kick the freezer to the curb.

  • We have three freezers and I love every one of them. How else can you eat those awesome hand-picked blueberries in December? We do this thing where we wake up one day, look at each other and decide it’s time to march through the freezers. We dig out, cook and eat everything. For a week or two we hardly have to shop and we find some interesting things. Trick is you have to do this about twice a year but it’s like opening presents!! Well, providing you only freeze things you like in the first place…