My love of the freezer is something passed on from my Mum.
In 2006 I had a blood clot in my shoulder which kicked off a five year health rollercoaster.
It was a pretty intense time, and whilst it was difficult, I am so grateful for what that time of my life gave to me, and I was so lucky to have the support that I did.
On one specific occasion, I remember opening the door to my building and thinking that someone's dinner smelt amazing. As I put the key in the lock and pushed my front door open, I realised it was my dinner. It was like getting a big hug.
All thanks to my Mum, a freezer and a slow cooker*. Not bad considering she lived 175 miles away.
You see, my first blood clot (of three) happened whilst I was living in London doing a University work placement.
I moved home initially, but when the time came to get back to work my Mum came with me to help get me set up. She filled my tiny freezer with as much home cooked food as she could fit, equipped me with a slow cooker* and left in the knowledge that I would at least be well fed.
And so my love of freezer food began.
Before my daughter arrived in 2016, Mum and I stocked my freezer with a month's worth of meals for me and my hubby. It was a complete saviour given that my daughter barely slept at all for that month (or the following 13 months).
When my son arrived in 2018 I unfortunately couldn't enjoy the same convenience. We moved house when he was five weeks old and went straight into building and decorating projects which lasted a good five months.
I tried a few times to batch cook, but the reality of having a small baby AND a two year old made me give up on the hope of cooking from scratch at all.
I kept buying ingredients with the intention of cooking, and then felt miserable about the fact that this food (and money!) just kept on going to waste.
I just couldn't find the time or energy to plan, and then to prep it and cook it all in one go.
In the end we gave in and opted for convenience foods, spending a fortune on pre-cut vegetables and sling in the oven dishes. I remember thinking that although we were spending more, at least I knew we would eat what I bought because we were buying the food practically daily (along with various other bits and pieces that we didn't really need).
As my maternity leave went on, money got tighter and I realised we couldn't carry on as things were.
It became a bit easier to batch cook again as my daughter started pre-school, but I struggled with inspiration.
I was so bored of the meals that I previously cooked, and it took me hours to trawl through recipe books and the internet searching for new things to try. I hated trying to put together shopping lists. I hated discovering that I was missing an ingredient, or cutting into an onion only to discover it was rotten inside and I now couldn't cook what I wanted.
Or even worse, I would cook a big batch of something new and didn't enjoy the results; leaving it lurking in the back of my freezer, pretending that some day I might actually want to eat it (before eventually admitting defeat and throwing it away).
I knew I needed a solution.
I wanted to be able to cook from scratch, and have endless inspiration without overwhelm. I wanted to avoid going to the shops so much, and to waste less food (and money).
I knew my freezer had to offer part of the solution, but that I needed a different approach to my old school batch cooking.
It was at this point I properly geeked out on all things freezer. I got my hygiene and food safety certification to make sure I properly understood the health aspects of freezing, defrosting and cooking food. I learnt about how to freeze different foods, why freezer burn occurs and how to avoid it.
I started a journey to find more environmentally friendly storage options, and on this journey learnt about how horrendous food waste actually is for our environment.
The realisation that throwing away a banana meant also throwing away all of the resources that went into growing and transporting it woke me up to what a huge problem this is.
Once you know just how bad the situation is, it's hard to ignore it.
But unlike other environmental causes, this one isn't complicated. It doesn't require sacrifice or a change of lifestyle. We don't need to give up things that we love; quite the opposite.
By better using our freezers we can enjoy more of what we love, save ourselves time and money, and have the convenience of having food in stock and ready prepared as and when we want to use it.
Since I started using The Full Freezer Method I've been less wasteful, enjoyed a greater variety of meals and felt less stressed about meal times as I know there's always something in that I can throw together quickly.
I also love the unexpected consequence that has come from it.
My family are actually willing to get involved in the kitchen now. The kids help me freeze and bag up berries and they love making their own tortilla wrap freezer pizzas (they're too young to do much else).
My husband will happily chop up a bit of veg for me, and has from time to time made dinner using my stash. Somehow when the prep is already done and a meal just requires a handful of this and that it seems less like hard work.
So here we are. Now I want to share this with you.
I hope you'll join me in embracing a love for home freezing.
I honestly believe it could change your life.
*although it is possible to cook some meals from frozen in an oven or pressure cooker, please never do this in a slow cooker. Food must be thoroughly defrosted first, otherwise it is at risk of bad bacteria developing and making you sick!