Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What do you do with a broken freezer?

The freezer is broken.  I guess I should just start the blog "Army Daughter messes up again" but what good would that do?  She does a great job with what she does in the Army.  She is a staff sergeant who is an expert with a microscope and science.  How can she be so smart and manage to do so many stupid things?  She has been this way her entire life.  Nothing new here.  At least she was trained right.  You break it you fix it.  If you can't fix it you replace it.  So today I went freezer shopping.
The freezer isn't completely broken but it's probably close to ten years old so it may not be worth fixing.  Bugout renter is coming over tomorrow and he's going to take a look at it to see if he can figure it out.  There are four shelves in the freezer.  The top shelf, which fortunately held the meat, is still pretty frozen.  The rest of the freezer is completely thawed.  At first I was told it would just take a while for the entire freezer to refreeze.  No, there's more to it than that because it's been four full days and nothing on the second shelf is frozen at all.  But it's working out as a good refrigerator for the time being.
So what was in the freezer of a prepper/survivalist?  As I said the top shelf had meat.  There was some homegrown lamb, some elk and deer given to us by friends that hunt, and beef and chicken.  The entire shelf was packed.  The second and part of the third shelf had fruit and veggies.  During the summer our trees give us so much fruit and I don't have time to can it all so I freeze a lot of it.  Same goes with tomatoes.  You just pick the tomato and throw it into a bag in the freezer.  At any time I can thaw some out and then cook them down into sauce, paste, or just wet chunks for soup.  I had five or six gallon bags of blackberries.  Same with apricots, nectarines, plums, and cherries.  Since these all defrosted I made lots of jam, jelly, dehydrated fruit rollups, and some juice over the last two days.  I still have to can the strawberries and elderberries.
Shelf number three also had flour.  I buy flour in bulk, put it into the freezer for a week or until I need the freezer space, and then pack it into buckets.  This kills the moths and bugs that are always in flour.  Fortunately the flour was wrapped in a couple of plastic bags so the flour itself didn't get soaked.  Shelf number three also had some tortillas packages and two pies.  While tortillas are easy to make they are my "fast food" at home.  Breakfast burritos and tortillas and cheese are two of my quick meals.  Shelf number four had over 200 ears of corn.  This is my biggest loss.  I am going to see if any of it is good enough to make creamed corn.  If that won't work the chickens and sheep are going to be very happy.  That was a lot of processing to put the corn into the freezer that was wasted time.
The bottom of the freezer usually holds rice, pancake mix, again it goes in when I buy it and stays in until I need the space.  A few weeks ago I took the two bags of rice (50 pounds total) and packed them into mylar bags and into the buckets.  I'm glad I did that because the rice would have been ruined and once again the chickens would have been feasting.  I did have two bags of pancake mix which wasn't impacted by the melted water and ice cream because of its strong packaging.  My turkey thawed.  It's being bbq'd this weekend. 
I went to Sears and found a 21 cubic foot upright freezer for $500.  I told Army daughter I wanted that one.  If Bugout renter can't figure out what's wrong tomorrow then Friday the new freezer gets ordered.  While I'm glad I was home, and I'm glad I noticed it, this incident has made me think about my prepping.  My intent next spring is to butcher a couple of the sheep and put them into the freezer.  How much should I be relying on the freezer?  Perhaps most of the meat should be dried, smoked, or canned?   Should I not be so busy that I just put the fruits and vegetables into the freezer to put up later?  Maybe I should put more time aside during the summer to can - say every Wednesday afternoon?  I did research some and found some that run on electricity and propane.  (Of course you can get them for the trailer, why not for the home)  Perhaps we should do that in case the issue isn't the door being left open but that we don't have electricity?
I'm thinking about taking the old freezer and turning it into a smoker.  It would also make a good storage locker.  What else can I use it for?


  1. Before I even finished your post I was thinking propane. I would get one that does both.

  2. Here is a trick that I won't promise works: Put the unit on it's back for an hour or two. Then on it's top for an hour or two. Then on it's front for an hour or two. Then set it upright for a few hours before plugging it in. It may work just fine after this.

  3. I like the idea of making a smoker if the old one needs replacing. A brother-in-law has a propane fridge and it seems small. I suppose a bigger one could be purchased.