Freezing is an effective way to preserve perishable food. It can be argued that it’s not the most reliable, in cases of energy loss. But if you have a generator backup system, it’s still one of the best ways to keep food edible for long periods of time. And remember, if you lose energy during the winter, you can quickly create a makeshift icebox in the snow until power is restored.
When you’re choosing which foods to freeze for emergency purposes, you need to know how long each item will last at freezing temperatures. Make sure you label every package with the name of the food, any special
preparation instructions, and most importantly, the current date. If you’re really thorough, you can reference this article and write a “best by” date on the food.
Grocery store fish has usually been frozen on its way back from sea to store. Even if it’s frozen when you purchase it, the chances of its having undergone an extra thaw and re-freeze are high, especially if its
not locally caught. For that reason, frozen fish won’t keep too long in your freezer.
You can count on up to six months for non-fatty fish like cod, haddock, or sole, and up to three months for fatty fish like salmon or mackerel. If you’re lucky enough to have access to fresh fish caught locally by
your neighbor or friend, you’re best off freezing the entire fish as a whole instead of fileting it first. The sooner you can attain freezing temperatures, the better tasting your catch will eventually be.
Beef and Pork:
A tasty beef roast will last up to a full year in your freezer if you place it inside of a freezer-safe bag over the grocery store wrapping. The grocery store packaging is not appropriate for long-term storage and
is only meant to protect the meat at your home refrigerator settings.
Steaks and pork chops will last about eight and six months, respectively, with the same wrapping procedure.
Chicken and Turkey:
You can buy next year’s Thanksgiving turkey this December and it will still be okay to eat the next time the in-laws arrive for their annual stuffing. Whole poultry will last an entire year in your freezer. If you
only have poultry pieces to freeze, count on nine months, tops.
If the vegetables were picked at their peak ripeness and quick-frozen, such as those that are available commercially, then it makes sense to store them as frozen sustenance. Otherwise, for the purposes of an
emergency food supply, you’re better off stockpiling cans of vegetables. Vegetables lose their nutrients very quickly after they’re harvested. You’ll get more nutrition from a can of green beans than a bag of green
beans that were already beginning to age before they were frozen.
Remember, always use freezer paper or freezer-ready baggies. Organize your freezer so the items that need to be eaten first are near the front. Final tip: An inventory list on the front of the freezer helps
reduce the times the door has to be opened.