Clean Kitchen Update: Refrigerator & Freezer

clean kitchen button

May’s Keeping a Clean Kitchen task is to clean out your refrigerator and freezer.  I haven’t done much with my refrigerator yet, but I have cleaned out my chest freezer.

It was an unplanned event, but one day I was looking for sweet rice flour that I needed for a recipe.  I often store extra flours in my chest freezer because I buy a lot at one time.

So this particular day I trying to find the sweet rice flour in my chest freezer, but everything was so disorganized, I wasn’t sure if there was any in there or not.  On top of that, the frost was accumulating, and the freezer needed a good defrosting and cleaning. See:

chest freezer - messyI decided to forget about the recipe I was going to make, and clean out the freezer instead.  I got out several coolers and began to empty the freezer.  A few things were thrown out, some things were used right away (such as a can of frozen juice concentrate and some dog bones), but most things simply got reorganized.  And I did find the sweet rice flour.

I won’t show you how dirty the bottom of the freezer was, but this is how it looked after I defrosted and cleaned it:

chest freezer - cleaned

Notes on defrosting a chest freezer:

  • The freezer does not need to get completely warm and all of the frost be completely melted.
  • Once it warms up a little, I find that I can loosen the frost from the sides using a plastic spatula or my hands.
  • Whole slabs of ice will come loose, and I pile them into a bucket and dump them in a sink or outside.
  • chest freezer - organized Once it was cleaned, the next job was to replace food in an organized way.  That’s not very easily done with a chest freezer.

    Notes on organizing a chest freezer:
  • Remember that any storage place needs to be reorganized occasionally.
  • I have tried different methods, but the one that works best for me is the bag method.
  • Sort contents by placing similar items in reusable grocery bags. My bags include categories such as meat, seafood, vegetables, bread, flour, oats, etc.
  • You can stack a couple of bags on top of others, but keep room to move the upper layer so you can see what is below.
  • Place items in the proper bag after returning from the store so it stays organized.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for a creamy and flavorful recipe.

question markHow is your refrigerator and freezer cleaning coming along?

About Linda Etherton

Linda has been gluten free since 2000 when I was diagnosed with celiac disease which propelled me into the world of gluten-free cooking and baking. I am convinced that gluten-free food can and should be delicious, and I never apologize for serving it.
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  1. The reusable bags are a great idea! My freezer is located below my refrigerator and it is like a small chest. I am going to go pull everything out and clean it and then put the items into bags. I am so excited. Thank you so much.

  2. It’s funny you should post this – last week i helped my boyfriend and his housemate reorganise their pantry. Talk about an experience! We threw out TONS of stuff. it was kind of nice actually.

  3. I just cleaned my chest freezer yesterday — no kidding! It was way overdue, for sure. Your idea of reusable grocery bags to organize things is brilliant!

  4. Last year our old chest freezer went on the fritz and we had to hurriedly replace it. The new Frigidaire chest freezer had removable dividers to divide the bottom area. You could probably also use the reusable bags to further organize it!

  5. Momuv3princesses says:

    Thanks so much for this post!! We are getting a quarter of a cow and I have been putting this task off!!! Well they called this morning and it is ready for pick up so I could no longer avoid it. I knew after wasting too much food that made it to the bottom, I needed to do something for organization. I came across your post and it is PERFECT!!!! I labeled both handles on each bag with sharpie. Thanks again!!! :)

    • You’re welcome. I use this system for the 1/4 cow we now have in our freezer. I like your idea of labeling the handles with sharpie!

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