As a Starving Grad Student(TM), I’ve become a big fan of freezers. Supermarkets seldom stock student-friendly sizes, and if I stored all my left-overs in the refrigerator, I’d be living off the same meals for days at a time.
With the freezer, though, I can cook and freeze a lot of food at once and microwave whatever meals I feel like having. Freezers also keep bread very well. I recently discovered how much better life is when you slice bagels _before_ you put them in the freezer.
Of course, freezers aren’t foolproof. I have three other suitemates, and our freezer’s always crowded. Entire meals can get overlooked if I don’t regularly dig through the frosted pillars of food containers and cleverly cling-wrapped chow. The freezer keeps things safe to eat for months, but I still have to remember to finish them!
So, how can I keep better track of all these leftovers in the freezer? Hmm, maybe the D*I*Y Planner Matrix will be helpful.
The Matrix form can help me keep track of food type, use-by date, and portions left. Writing is easier than erasing, so I should use blanks to keep track of portions left and I cross them out as they’re finished. If I use the first two columns for food type and target date, I have five columns for tracking portions. I can have more divisions if I want to, but most recipes in cookbooks serve from 4 – 6 people, so this is usually fine.
- Write down the name of the food in the first column.
- Write down the target month in the second column.
- Cross out blanks until the number of blanks is equal to the number of portions left.
In this example, I have three portions of rice and two portions of adobo in the freezer.
I can quickly scan the list for things I need to eat this month, or look for the blanks in order to enjoy more variety. Whenever I take something from the freezer, I can keep track of it by filling in the rightmost blank. When I finish something (yay!), I can cross out the entire line.
That should help me live with leftovers. Hooray for refrigerator templates! Do you have any tips for someone who has just discovered the wonders of refrigerator magnets?