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  #1  
Old 08/16/11, 07:01 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Western NC
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How big a freezer do you need

for a steer? We'll be sending our steer off to freezer camp in a couple of months so I need to buy a freezer. I've never had one before.

How big a freezer would you suggest? I plan to bring him home from the butcher in nice white packages, and then can most of him over the winter. I am a devoted convert to canned meat, lol.

I thought maybe we could get two freezers and then just unplug one when it's empty. But dh says no, we're only getting one freezer. I think I want a chest type, right?

Any thoughts on freezers would be most appreciated. Thanks!

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  #2  
Old 08/16/11, 07:11 PM
 
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Location: Formerly N.Cal, 5 yrs (FW)TX, 3 yrs Phx, now East TN
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I am not the expert, but wanted to add that my 20 cubic foot upright is being delivered on Thursday! Yeah! We choose an upright for space reasons, but I believe chests are prefered. Uprights you can find things easier. You also want to think about the fact that you will probably use any extra space that is left in the freezer after the steer. We already have a smaller chest that is full. I like to store my extra flour and stuff to keep bugs out. Sears was having a special weekend before last. $600 usually $820. We jumped on it. Free delivery. I was suprised that they changed their delivery policy. A year ago I was looking for a washer and went with Lowe's, because they carry Whirlpool and delivered for free. Thought I'd add a little more insight to think about. Its just so much easier to let them do the heavy lifting! They install too! I am wondering if I can get the door reversed? Well see on Thursday. Our beef is being slaughtered Aug 30.

Michelle in East TN

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  #3  
Old 08/16/11, 07:25 PM
 
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I don't know the exact size of our freezer, but it's about 6f long and standard width for a chest freezer.

We got half a cow and it nearly filled it!

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  #4  
Old 08/16/11, 08:12 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: se South Dakota
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I have a 15 cft freezer and a 20 cft looking at a 6ft x 8 ft walkin now LOL

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  #5  
Old 08/16/11, 08:14 PM
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You will never wish you had a SMALLER freezer.

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  #6  
Old 08/16/11, 08:18 PM
 
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Location: Michigan..NWLower
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Get the largest freezer you can afford. My preference is an upright especially for space reasons and ease of finding frozen foods. For just the two of us we have three (that's right...3) upright freezers. I know it seems like overkill but we use them all for our chicken, pork and beef as well as fruit, vegetables, baked goods, wheat, oatmeal, etc. One is at least 30 years old with an old gasket that needs replaced, one is about 17 years old, and the third one is a year old. I love the newest one because it has an interior light and a sliding bottom shelf. Our goal is to empty the old one combining the contents into just two freezers.

When we were looking for a new freezer last year, we looked at the inside of the chest freezers. It seems like space is limited due to the sliding baskets on top but I'm sure someone will add their reasons (like less expensive to run) for having a chest freezer. Another thing, I'm short so removing products on the bottom would make me feel like I was going to fall inside. Cleaning the chest freezer could be a challenge too for short people especially.

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  #7  
Old 08/16/11, 09:58 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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The rule of thumb is that each cubic foot can hold approximately 35 pounds of meat. We ordered a grassfed Longhorn, and typical hanging weight is about 400 pounds, so probably around 350 cut and packaged. That means a minimum of 10 cubic feet.

We have two freezers, one an upright that's an older manual, and a chest type we got this year for the aforementioned steer. It already has a half a pig and a tiny little milkfed calf in it. I have to stop buying meat or I won't have any room for the beef! Each freezer is about 17 cubic feet. I prefer manual defrost, as the frost free type has to have a little fan going which accelerates freezer burn.

I'm small too, 5'3." So for the chest type in the basement I put it UP on cement blocks, and put a couple of blocks in front of it to stand on. It's easy to work with. When cleaning has to happen, I can do it easily in the middle of winter by opening the outside basement door and filling the stairwell with laundry baskets full of meat. A pan can fit under the freezer neatly to drain, and I won't have to babysit it.

Nappy, three freezers? I'm laughing here.... Good luck really getting rid of the third. It's too easy to fill!

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  #8  
Old 08/16/11, 10:06 PM
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I have three freezers. I had a small 7 cf one from years and years ago and wanted to get a bigger one. We only have a basement under part of the house and decided getting a big freezer down there would be a problem, so got a 15 cf one. Then decided there was enough room and got a second identical 15 cf freezer.

I love having the three, about this time of the year things are down, so I can get everything in two and defrost one, and get them all ready to go that way. I keep stables in the small one, and an assortment in each of the other two so if one went bad, I'd don't risk loosing everything. Easier to find things as there isn't as much to dig through.

I can about half our produce, but there are some things I prefer to freeze, and most of the meat is frozen.

I love the sliding baskets- I put three in one freezer and only one in the second. Usually when I need to get at what is below, I just lift out the basket and set in on the freezer beside the one I'm in (nice counterspace when needed). My freezers have also done double duty as paint drying racks for trim and cabinet components - but that's not so fun when you need to get something out of one and have cabinet doors laid out on top.

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  #9  
Old 08/16/11, 10:32 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Tennessee
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As big as you can fit in. I have two uprights one very large & the other smaller--they are both full. As others have mentioned, I keep my flour, dried beans, extra spices, etc in one of the freezers.

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  #10  
Old 08/16/11, 10:45 PM
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I agree, get as big as your space will allow. You will fill it in no time and need another.

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  #11  
Old 08/16/11, 10:51 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Formerly N.Cal, 5 yrs (FW)TX, 3 yrs Phx, now East TN
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I don't think there is that much of a price difference but a hundred or so for the bigger freezer, and the running cost isn't much at all. I think my new 20 cubic ft is suppose to be $37 / yr. I think you'll be glad to have gotten the biggest one you can get.

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  #12  
Old 08/17/11, 10:05 AM
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Get the biggest you can. Later you might want to buy a hog. Might freeze Veggies,chickens, rabbit.We just put 2 hogs in part of one freezer,had to take out all the frozen jugs that i had to use to keep the Live rabbits cool last month. I also keep big comtainers of milk replacer for the calfs, bug proofing flour ect.

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  #13  
Old 08/18/11, 08:11 AM
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Thanks for all the responses. I went to Sears yesterday and I think I'll have to go with an upright due to size. The chest freezers take up more room than I thought.

Plus he said the chest freezers don't come with automatic defrost and I think I want that. I'm not sure why freezer burn is an issue, isn't the food wrapped up?

The chest freezers use about half the electricity of an upright and that's partly because they DON'T have auto defrost.

I'm not crazy about an upright because my homegrown food isn't in tidy flat packages and would all fall out if it wasn't contained. I'm thinking of sorting packages into something like milk crates. Then I can just pull out a crate and dig through it instead of pawing through 479 loose packages to find a bag of corn or the last jar of freezer jam.

Does anybody have a workable system like that? I'd love to hear how you organize your freezer.

Thanks guys!

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  #14  
Old 08/18/11, 10:17 AM
 
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I have two big freezers and the little one over the fridge. My first one was the manual upright, and we've had it for about 35 years. No problems with it ever. Got it at Sears as young marrieds and it's been fantastic for us. It lives in the laundry room and takes care of veggies, fruits, butter, breads, and the occasional life saving frozen pizza.

I wanted something more energy efficient and for long term meat storage, so we added the chest freezer a few months ago. It lives in the basement. Again, manual defrost. It says on the card that it costs $38 a year to run, but I bet it will be even less for us as our basement is quite cool. I didn't want to have something that ate heavily into the savings I created by doing my own freezing. Interestingly, we couldn't do an upright easily down there as the ceiling height eliminated the really tall ones I wanted.

My chest freezer is filled with milk crates, in part to eliminate the equivalent of cupboard orphans. It just makes organizing it that much easier. But I'll again caution you once more against automatic defrost for long term (more than a couple of months) storage. I put up a lot of fruits and veggies and use freezer bags as well as the white butcher paper. (My butcher double wraps with butcher paper.) Evern once in awhile, for the sake of convenience, I'll take something (like a bag of broccoli or a bag of peppers) and put them in the automatic freezer in the kitchen. If I don't get to using it very promptly, like in 6-8 weeks, I begin to notice dessicated edges. Fish goes spongy and gross if left for any length of time. The burns on chicken and beef take longer, but they still happen; it takes about six months. Some of the meat I get has to last two years, so I can't waste any.

Every household is going to have it's own individual priorities and needs. Yours won't probably be the same as mine, but perhaps the information can help you make a more suitable decision for you and yours.

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  #15  
Old 08/18/11, 11:33 AM
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There is no way I'd want auto defrost if I am storing things for any length of time. I have the exact issues that Horseyrider mentions, and I'm not new to putting up lots and lots of food, and much of it has to last a year until the next harvest season.

Now that the kids are gone, I really notice how awful the auto defrost cycle is for things you need to keep frozen. About a year ago I made some quick bread and froze it, but the last few little loaves I got lazy and didn't want to walk to the basement so I put them in the auto-defrost freezer part of the kitchen fridge (meant to eat them up first). They got pushed to the back and forgotten about until recently. I took them out and after defrosting them, decided to give them to the chickens, and went downstairs and grabbed an identical item for DH and I to eat.

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  #16  
Old 08/18/11, 08:05 PM
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You do not want auto defrost if you are going to keep you freezer outside in a garage or pole barn.

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  #17  
Old 08/18/11, 08:14 PM
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You want the biggest chest freezer Sears sells. Yes it's huge. No it doesn't have auto defrost. (auto defrost allows things to thaw out a little then freezes them again, leading to condensation and freezer burn) You'll need the big freezer for a whole cow.

I am not that organized but I have seen other people (Mom has one set up this way) with milk crates for various items. Steaks, ground beef, stewing meat, jerky cuts, fat, roasts, ribs. Sort by category.

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  #18  
Old 08/18/11, 10:49 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Michigan..NWLower
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Another vote against auto defrost. Have heard that it will slightly defrost the freezer contents much like the auto def. of refrigerator freezers. As was mentioned before, they should not be used in areas that will get cold like in garage or barn....maybe something to do with the mechanics of auto defrost? The auto def. feature may add to the electric bill too.

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  #19  
Old 08/19/11, 06:46 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Alaska
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A whole beef (with a couple packages of bones & bits for the dog) completely filled our 13 ft chest freezer (about 450 lbs). We only had a few roasts (the biggest packages/hardest to fit), the rest were flat cuts or ground/stew wrapped in single meal portions (lots of small packets, but easier to work with).

I strongly recommend packaging the meat as flat and square/rectangular as possible, it makes it a lot easier to fit into the freezer and to defrost later. I found that lining a storage container with butcher wrap and using that as a mold for ground/stew meat worked great to get nice, even, square packets. You can also help yourself find things in the freezer using color coded tape or dot stickers... red for roasts, green for ground beef, etc... whatever makes sense to you. Or do something similar using plastic baskets/bins that stack inside the freezer with everything of a similar cut stored in the same bin.

I recommend chest freezers over uprights because they are more energy efficient, more space-efficient inside, and freeze better; but uprights can be easier for some folks to use (less bending and digging) and they require less floor space. A good compromise is an upright with a large drawer on the bottom Auto-defrost freezers are also less energy efficient, and definitely not a good option unless they are always indoors above cold/freezing. I've found the worst power hogs are upright, auto-defrost freezers... esp. the side-by-side kind.

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