Why I’m not buying a freezer

Freezer.Well, after much thought and some excellent input, I’ve decided I am not buying a freezer at this time. Here are my reasons:

  • I have tried for years to grow enough veggies in my garden to freeze the extra. So far, I’ve not succeeded; I just don’t think 150sf is enough space to grow a year’s worth of vegetables. Buying things at the market to freeze is sometimes cost effective (like that 5-lb head of broccoli I once got for $2), but in general, it’s a losing financial proposition. In any case, I can keep several months’ worth of local produce in the freezer atop my fridge, so I can freeze some local produce. (Corn, especially!)
  • If I have a freezer, I will feel compelled to fill it up. This is an invitation to buy things I don’t need, especially meat. I would rather not buy as much meat instead of being tempted to buy a side of beef because “it’s much more economical that way!” Yes, I am a strong enough person to fight this temptation, but honestly, I have better things to do with my energy. 🙂
  • A freezer will encourage me to eat more locally, but less seasonally. Yes, it’s lovely to have peas and green beans all year long, but philosophically, I’d rather be eating things out of my root cellar – the kinds of foods that are traditional “winter” foods specifially because they keep without a freezer.
  • A freezer is another thing that needs attention. I need to fill it, defrost it, pay for its electricity, and worry about it when the power goes out.
  • It does not simplify my life, and the increase in complexity is not offset by a greater worth to the common good (achieved in this case by eating locally for more of the year).

[UPDATE: And then…I changed my mind and did buy a freezer. Here’s why.]

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9 Comments

  1. Maria said,

    March 31, 2008 at 10:44 am

    I just went through the exact same debate! On one of my increasingly rare trips to Kroger, the store was featuring a small chest freezer for sale right at the front and I thought “well, maybe this is a sign.” But then I thought about it some more and decided that more stuff, even good stuff, leads to a more complicated life. And a freezer is yet another appliance running on electrical power all the time. So, I join you in the solidarity of the freezerless.

  2. Ken said,

    March 31, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Thank you for this thoughtful explication. I’m still undecided, and your reasons-not-too certainly bear consideration. I think (off the cuff) what would probably sway me is if I think that I will really make a big pile of meals in advance (lets say 20-30 of them) so that I can stop buying Amy’s frozen meals and just know that I’ve got a whole dinner in the freezer when I need quick food. We’ll see. I’m not in a hurry…

  3. Emily said,

    March 31, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Ken-

    Take a good month and try doing the meal thing with your existing freezer. 20-30 sounds like a nigh impossible goal; 4-5 was more realistic for me. And I’ve since realized it much better (for several measures of “better”) to cook often enough that there’s a serving of leftovers in the fridge rather than doing the Big Cooking once a month.

  4. Ken said,

    March 31, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    That’s probably a more realistically-sized plan…

  5. Ken said,

    March 31, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    I suppose the other freezer-advantage I’ve been thinking about is rice storage. I can’t buy brown rice in Sfld,and it would be really nice to be able to buy 25 lbs of it every so often and not have to be always running out of a Columbus-based supply… I’ll keep adding to the pro/con list (and then find them to be even, and make a spur of the moment decision not based on logic at some point…)

  6. Buttercup said,

    April 1, 2008 at 7:58 am

    Aside from ready-made meals, homemade bread, stocks, sauces, frozen fruit like cranberries and blueberries bought in season, and semiprepared food like roasted and peeled red peppers, the freezer is also a good place to store flour and other grain products. I buy whole-grain corn meal and corn masa, both of which can go rancid. As a baker, I also buy quantities of flour on sale. The freezer keeps it fresh and safe from pests.

  7. Daisy said,

    April 1, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    I really like your thoughts on eating locally vs. seasonally and doing both with what’s storable a root cellar. I still like my freezer for now, but I’ll keep reading your posts – maybe I’ll see how easy/great it is to eat seasonally out of a root cellar that I’ll put my freezer on craigslist!

    ps Everytime I visit your blog I notice that your posts generate great comments!

  8. Sara said,

    April 15, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Ken — I once made the vegetarian freezer meals from savingdinner.com (Megamenumailer), it was 20 main dishes to serve 6 (although I think most of them didn’t give us that much, maybe dinner for 2 plus a lunch). (BTW, those recipes use a lot of store-bought sauces and veggie burgers so may not be to your taste.) It all fit, barely, in the freezer above the fridge (not the kind that is inside the fridge, this has it’s own door).

    One thing to think about is how you would store your meals to use on the spur of the moment. The savingdinner instructions said the best results were from defrosting in the fridge – and a big stew took a couple days to defrost like that. Something that can be reheated while stirring is easier, but if it is a casserole you probably want it all defrosted before it goes in the oven. So, I didn’t think it was very spur of the moment.

  9. Angelina said,

    April 19, 2008 at 11:15 am

    I went through the exact same debate and ended up getting the freezer. The one with my fridge is very small. I am doing an eat local challenge for a year and we are on month 6 now and I have to say I am really grateful to have frozen so much ratatouille from the summer to eat when variety in local produce is at it’s lowest point in the year.

    Yet, I think all your reasons for not getting one are very good points.


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