In the deep freeze

For those of you who think this is about the cold weather, you are wrong! I am actually going to talk about cleaning my freezer. Specifically the refrigerator freezer, which is the recipient of anything I can cram into it because I am too lazy to haul it to the larger basement freezer.

My refrigerator freezer has little, subtle ways of letting me know when it needs to be cleaned. Like, when I open it, and things begin shooting out. I blame plastics for this. Everything is in plastic and slides easily, so if I haven’t crammed it in there just so, it begins to slide and creates an avalanche.

The other subtle method it uses is that it refuses to close. Oh, it shuts when I slam it and lean on it for a minute or two, but then, when I’ve gone, it sneaks open again. So, I may wake up in the morning to a freezer door slightly ajar and something suspicious dripping out of it.

This week, I have been keeping a pan lid near the refrigerator to hold up as I open the freezer so that the things sliding out don’t hit me directly. It’s a serious health issue, as I have been stabbed in the face with some of the spoiled bananas I wedge in there to “make into banana bread someday.” In addition, this morning I came into the kitchen to see that the freezer door was ajar and apparently they had voted a tin-foil wrapped chicken breast off the island, because it was hanging out, clinging desperately to the door.

Okay, so I’ll clean the freezer! Stop nagging! I stood with the door open, gazing at the maze of plastic wrapped packages, tin-foil bundles and mysterious items which had been there so long they were unrecognizable with frost. I nearly closed it again to hope for better days!

It was necessary to set up some ground rules. First, anything that I could not identify by sight or labeling went into the garbage. Second, anything stuck to the freezer floor was also given a free pass out of the house. What was it stuck down with, you might ask? The answer is I don’t know, but it was gooey and clingy and anything stuck to it was not something I wanted to eat.

I counted no less than eight ice packs, frozen solid and taking up a great deal of space. I immediately consigned them to the sink for a spring thaw. Since the last time I needed an ice pack, I used a package of frozen broccoli because the ice packs were buried so far under things I couldn’t find them, I figured I could do without them!

Cleaning the freezer always creates some interesting mysteries, even beyond, “what is in this package and why don’t I recognize the color and shape???” For instance, several months ago I put five packages of cream cheese into the freezer. Today, when I was counting out everything on the counter, there were only three packages of cream cheese. I honestly have no idea where the other two packages are. Did a thief perhaps sneak into the house and make off with two frozen packages of cream cheese?

There are also interesting collectibles in there which, because of the disorganization, have built up without my knowledge. I have always collected bananas going brown and frozen them against the possibility that I will experience a baking banana bread craze. Right now, I am the proud possessor of enough frozen bananas to make banana bread for the entire population of a small, third-world country. In addition, I have enough cheese frozen in bags to make the local pizza joint jealous. While they were scattered throughout the freezer, they didn’t seem so excessive. Collecting them into one place gives new meaning to the word, “hoarder.”

I have finished my freezer cleaning and there several items that I decided should probably be taken down and put in the large freezer in the basement. It is not so full, but it is equally messy, so when I shoved those things into the basement freezer, I looked away and slammed the lid quickly. It closed without an issue, which is a good thing…I think.

You’ll have to excuse me now, because it’s time for me to make some lunch. We’re having chicken today, because the freezer so kindly thawed some out for me. I bet your freezer doesn’t do that for you!

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