To freeze or not to freeze?

We're all guilty of hoarding mystery foods in the freezer, which prompts Stuart to ask - do you know what's in yours?

Freezer drawer

I recently moved house. Sorting through all the cards and photos of relationships gone by is always a gut-wrenching experience, but not half as exasperating as clearing out the freezer. Excavating towards the back of it, I found half a pack of seafood I couldn't remember buying, as well as little bags of chillies, one odd portion of green beans, two bread rolls , and much more besides.

Frozen green beansThe whole exercise demonstrated that the freezer so easily becomes an extension of those bedroom cupboards or the space at the back of the garage - a dumping-ground for items you might just want to use one day, but so easily forgetten about once you've stowed them there. And that was just the contents of a small freezer cabinet on top of the fridge.

Friends with chest freezers cheerfully admit they haven't the faintest idea what's in them. They too often succumb to the desktop syndrome, whereby the only documents you ever deal with at work are those most recently added to the pile, and everything beneath them has effectively vanished into a black hole of the mind. Forage down through the icy layers, and you're sure to come across one or two UFOs (Unidentified Frozen Objects) in bags, things you cooked in bulk and froze for a day when they might come in handy, if it weren't so hard to work out what they are.

I've decided for the time being to live with just the icebox in the fridge, and see how things work out. I don't like freezing fresh fish or meat, as I'm convinced it dries out as its juices freeze. Nor do I cook or buy in bulk, as I'm not anticipating living under siege conditions any time soon. What's in there right now? A bag of McCain's French Fries, a tub of ice cream, and a tray of ice.

Frozen foodI suppose if I had a tribe of sprogs to cater for, it might be different. Who knows what they might suddenly demand that you haven't got? But I haven't, and I don't see why singles need a big, energy-guzzling freezer. Maybe it limits the number of shopping trips you have to do in any given week, but I haven't yet developed an allergy to fresh air. Plus, when you factor in all the defrosting time, as well as the freezer discipline required (contrary to popular belief, you can't keep things in there forever), I think I can manage perfectly well without.

Not sure about what to freeze? Check our guide for top tips on freezing food.

Could you do without your freezer?

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