Freezer Full of Food --Quit!

VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

Yeah, it was really bad. We had it full, my husband went out to get some meat for supper and came in looking distressed, everything had thawed, no ice crystals anywhere. We were using it in a shed right behind the house. Apparently, because of the heat when ever we opened the door a little condensation occurred and it gradually built up enough frost to leave a crack in the door seal and you know the rest. Upon inspection I felt like the meat could be cooked and refrozen, it was still cold and we knew it had only been a day or two at most, so we cleaned out the freezer and made sure the door was sealing correctly then stuck in some ice cube trays to see if they would freeze and they did. Meanwhile we fired up the smokers, got out the instant pot and the crock pot, and began to cook all the meat, once done we shredded, sliced, de-boned etc. and packaged it for the freezer. It smelled and tasted fine, nobody has gotten sick from it so I guess it is ok. It did make wonder what anyone else might be doing to preserve their meat stores? Does anyone can their meat or dehydrate? Honestly in a grid down situation, having it all in the freezer would be a disaster.


  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭

    Oh my goodness! So glad you were able to save it. I can only imagine how tired everyone must have been.

    I have canned these meats - venison, chicken breasts, pork loins, beef roasts, and ground beef.

    The only one I would not do again is the ground beef. The texture and intensified taste wasn't something we were fond of. If I do chicken again, I will include dark meat as well to suit hubby.

    The only dehydrated meat I've done was jerky, both venison and beef. I've smoked ribs, roasts, and such but only for a meal.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,102 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I regularly can several types of meat. Including ground beef. Have tried cooking it several ways before canning. The one I find we like the most is boiling the meat first. Drain it, then pack in beef broth and process. I find it works just fine for things like spaghetti, taco meat, sloppy joes and the like. Have canned meat both on its own and in stews, soups and flavored for different dishes. I have also canned many types of vegetables.

    Since we live off grid and have to run a generator several hours a day for our freezers except in the hard winter we try not to have a lot of things which require freezer space.

    Have not dehydrated much yet since the generator would have to run for so long to complete the dehydration. Hoping to build a solar dehydrator next summer.

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for the input. We of course had other things that could not be saved, veggies and fruit, some milk, it freezes fine so we buy it on sale and freeze it. It was an expensive wake up call. I have been pricing dehydrators I want a good one that will handle a good sized load, not cheap but what is? For veggies and fruit a solar or air dryer would work well, but I am a little leery of meat. My aunt used to put a fine screen on her roof and spread tomato slices and other produce up there to dry. It actually worked really well, but climbing up there would be suicide for me, well going up wouldn't be bad but the trip down could be a killer. LOL

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,613 admin

    @VickiP what you did is pretty much my plan if my freezer goes out. Cook, can, dehydrate, smoke, freeze dry, ask neighbors if they have space I can use...

    One thing (which would not have helped you) is I always try to keep the freezer nearly full - putting in gallons of water if I don't have much food. That way, if the electric goes out, there is a built up thermal mass of cold. Throwing some blankets over the freezer and not opening it I am certain it can go a week without thawing out. I've inadvertantly tested that LOL.

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VickiP "climbing up there would be suicide for me, well going up wouldn't be bad but the trip down could be a killer. LOL"

    It's not really the trip down, it's that rather sudden stop at the bottom!! 😋

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    @VickiP That is awful. I am glad that you were at least able to salvage some of your supplies.

  • ltwickey
    ltwickey Posts: 369 ✭✭✭

    We've been through this twice with hurricanes.... keeping the freezer as full as possible is absolutely a game changer, as Marjory mentioned. Our food lasted 9 days vice 3 the first time when it wasn't full...

  • moreyshadypines
    moreyshadypines Posts: 72 ✭✭✭

    Electric in my rural location can flip on a dime. Often I come home to a microwave blinking. I am a big fan of canning. I like to can soups for easy meals, fruit jams and syrups for winter months, chicken, turkey and venison in jars. I usually do pints so that I can use them with other dishes and not have it sit.

    I do have 2 really top of the line dehydrators, those I use for veggies, although jerky is a big hit with the guys. I found the lesser priced dehydrators allowed things to mold before they dried. However, in all fairness, I live in the southeast - high humidity, and could have been my own learning curve with slice sizes and product.

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