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The final freezer challenge update!

Every week, I post a picture of the food that has gone bad over the last seven days. Why do I do this? Because in March of 2008, I finally got fed up with the amount of food I was wasting, and I thought that showing my waste to other people would motivate me to use up my food instead of wasting it. Because this often embarrassing practice was so helpful for me, I invited other bloggers to join me in posting their food waste photos, and Food Waste Friday was born.

The deadline I officially set for myself was Wednesday, but I thought Food Waste Friday would be a more appropriate place to wrap up the challenge.

(Here’s the start of my challenge and the rules I made up for myself.)

The original freezer

This is the before.

messy kitchen freezer

And here’s what it looks like this morning.


The drawer is so delightfully empty.


All that’s left is fruit for smoothies, some green chilies I froze this week, a container of bread crumbs (no worries…I will easily use those up) and a few corn tortillas.

And the top drawer   just has yeast, coffee, broth, a little more fruit, and some OJ concentrate, all of which are regularly used in this house.

What I had left (and what I did with it all!)

-corn tortillas (mostly used in enchiladas)
-bratwurst (grilled and eaten)
-two packages of breakfast sausage (one package is in the deep freeze, the other is thawing in the fridge)
-slow-cooked beef, which I think has some Mexican seasonings (used in enchiladas)
-a small amount of bacon (used in salad and on pizza bagels)
-a package of broccoli (unopened & moved to the deep freeze for future used in broccoli noodle soup)
-a package of peas (relegated to ice pack status)
-a partial package of Mexican cheese (used in enchiladas)

Last time I updated about the freezer challenge, several of you suggested enchiladas for the tortillas, cheese, and beef (thank you!), so I modified a Cook’s Illustrated enchilada recipe to use the beef.


This was a great way to use up the slow-cooked beef!

I consider myself to be officially done with this freezer challenge, as all the remaining freezer inhabitants are easy-to-use foods, not forgotten-about odds and ends.

I’ve never done a freezer challenge before, and I’m really glad I took this on.   It turned out to be much more delicious than I’d anticipated, and I’m surprised at how much food I managed to rescue and use (I thought I’d end up throwing a lot away.)

I mean, seriously! Look at the ridiculous pile of food I started with.

messy freezer contents

On a not-so-cheerful note, my deep freezer holds all sorts of mystery items, and I really, really ought to do a freezer challenge there.

I’ll probably take a few weeks off before I tackle that monster, though, as that freezer holds much more in the way of Very Old Food and I’m a little scared to take it on.

(Also: I foresee that challenge involving more throwing away of food than this challenge.)


How did you do on the food waste front this week?   And if you were participating with me in the freezer challenge, how did it go for you?

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Tuesday 7th of October 2014

What I do is buy in January thru August. Take the rest of the year to use things out of my freezer. I do notice a trend we use a lot of chicken. I try and focus on buying Christmas during these months. However I will purchase extremely good sale items

Sandra (Sam) Myers

Saturday 4th of October 2014

I need a major clean out and use up of all three food areas-fridge, freezer, and pantry. I am scared at how much food waste I will discover. Hopefully not too much, but know there will be enough to motivate me to better planning before another big shop.


Friday 3rd of October 2014

I had last commented that I really needed to tackle my refrigerator freezer... and a few days later, my husband forgot that he chilled a can of drink in the freezer, so that it burst and sprayed everywhere. Yes, my freezer is now clean and much more orderly. The good news is that I found very little to toss. And I found that frozen ginger root I knew I had in there somewhere. I keep a whiteboard on my chest freezer, and it is a huge help. The only problem was when it got wiped accidentally one day as we were moving things around next to it. But most of the time, I just glance and see what I have. I write, for example, "Ground Beef, 1 lb- I I I I I", meaning I have five one pound packages. When I use one, I just wipe off an "I". Easy!


Friday 3rd of October 2014

I haven't done my freezer (yet), but I have had no food waste this week! Yipee! I have a pretty minimal freezer, but, being school holidays where I am, it is likely to be investigated this week!


Friday 3rd of October 2014

Great work on your freezer. I have gone in the other direction and filled mine up with slow cooked beans. I talked about changes of made to be more frugal and environmentally conscious this week at

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