Have you looked into your freezer and it is full, but you don’t know what is in there? You end up taking out a package of “mystery” meat thinking it is steak only it is really a pork chop! In our day-to-day running around trying to get everything done we forget the obvious things — like marking the freezer bags listing the contents and date.
You do not need to be old to answer yes to this scenario. Young vibrant people who have great eyesight and memories do it as well as more and more to older adults. However with older adults it can be more serious, because their generation tend not throw things out. It is a sin to waste perfectly good food! Just because it has been in the freezer for a undetermined length of time and is badly freezer burned it is still perfectly okay.
This is what many family members and caregivers are finding when they look in freezers (and refrigerators) of their older relatives. Keeping the freezers filled with good, healthy, and edible food is a problem. Here are three simple tips, that most of us will say is just common sense.
- Ignore the complaints and go through the freezer (and refrigerator) and throw out all food that is: old and freezer burned; old packages of frozen food products (veggies, ice cream, etc.) old expiration dates; little packages of food items with no indication of content or date. In refrigerators: do the same thing – if in doubt throw it out! Once you have these items cleared out and know that there is no harmful food left you can start from scratch.
- Slowly replenish the freezer and refrigerator with good fresh meat and frozen food products. Before freezing, get a permanent marker, sturdy freezer bags, good plastic wrap. Re-wrap meat in individual servings in plastic wrap and place in freezer bags (you can put multiple pieces of the meat in the bag); put the label from the store in the bag so you can see the product name; then seal the bag and write the date on the bag or food container.
- When you add meat and food products to the freezer place the new items (prepared the same as described in 2 above) behind the previous items. In other words; use the FIFO method – FIRST IN FIRST OUT– to rotate the food out of the freezer. Only have 3 rotations of food in the cycle.
These tips will help your relative or caregiver know what they are taking out for dinner and it is going to be good and healthy for them.