There's a Cow in My Freezer: Think I Need a Shrink?

freezer food

Admitting to a problem is the first step, right?

Hi, my name is Amy, and I'm a freezer hoarder. It all started about eight years ago, when we bought a house and a nice big fridge to go with it. At first it was innocent: Some extra bagels, homemade granola, some nuts I didn't want to go bad.

Then I started saving little bits of things: bags of vegetables with not quite a full serving in them, canned chipotle peppers that I used just one of for a certain recipe, Parmesan rinds for soup, vegetable scraps, and chicken bones for stock. How many times have I made stock? Once.

Then, this past summer, we inherited an upright freezer from my husband's parents. The thing is mammoth and you could pretty much hear the electric meter spinning when it started up, but my husband had wanted one forever. And it really kicked the hoarding instinct into high gear.

First came the fruit.


Peaches (can you freeze those?) and blueberries and sour cherries from the farmers' market in the town where we went on vacation (in our defense, they are highly perishable and seasonal).

Then there were the Costco runs: Cheese, chicken parts, stew beef, an enormous box of spring rolls, veggie burgers, and frozen pizza because "hey, we have the space!"

But wait ... and then there was The Pig. Our friends asked if we wanted to go in with them on half of a pig from a farmer at our local market. I've bought pork there and it's delicious, plus it's humanely raised.

Let me tell you something: 50 pounds of various pork products takes up a LOT of freezer space. A few months later, these same friends talked us into a grass-fed, humanely raised COW: Now we have lots of flavorful and healthy beef in there as well.

Oh yes, and then I got into freezer cooking: Four batches of chicken pot pie and several pans of enchiladas line the shelves.

So let's just say I saw myself in the discussion of freezer hoarding on Chow. The weirdest thing I have found in one of my freezers was a bag of breast milk; not weird on its own, but the baby in question had not been breastfed for a year and a half at that point (and that bag HURT to pitch).

In some ways it's good: I'm a frugal sort and want to eat more sustainably, and buying local produce and meat in season and freezing it means we get it at its cheapest and best ... that pig was $2 a pound versus buying various cuts from the same farmer at $5-$8 per pound. I've purchased almost no supermarket meat in six months, which shrinks the bill as well, and I can stock up on things we like when they are on sale. Plus, I love being able to cobble together a meal when I haven't had time to grocery shop.

On the other hand, I tend to forget what I have in the freezer and end up buying the same thing more than once. Don't ask me how many bags of corn are in there, for example. And "frozen" doesn't mean "cryogenically preserved for eternity," it means "still going bad, just more slowly."

I'm on something of a freezer moratorium right now, before someone calls Hoarders on me.

What's the oddest thing in your freezer?

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