Why Now Is the Right Time to Invest in a Chest Freezer

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The day I married my husband—a Kentucky-bred man—I not only took on a Southern man, but also his need to own a chest freezer. I was a little surprised at first: After all, we are a childless couple, we neither hunt nor fish, and we live in downtown Chicago, so we are never more than a few blocks from a grocery store. But we had plenty of room in the basement, so I was perfectly content to have it in the house.

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It took less than a month before I had fully embraced the magic of this appliance, and by the end of the second month, I had no idea how I had ever lived without it.

The magic of the chest freezer

The chest freezer is a godsend on so many food fronts. It has room for a stash of frozen appetizers at the ready for entertaining. It holds double and triple batches of cookie dough or gougères to have on hand for quick-bake treats. I can make and store giant batches of homemade stock. I can buy large-format meat when I find it on sale—a whole pork shoulder or prime rib roast, for example—that are space killers in the fridge but fit perfectly well in a chest freezer. And with all that, my chest freezer still has room to hold an abundance of seasonal produce—delicious Michigan pie cherries and sweet corn—to get us through the dead of winter.   

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Why it’s time to invest in a chest freezer (if you haven’t already)

There may be no better time than now to invest in a chest freezer, if you have the means and a place to put it. End of summer is a great time to put up fresh tomato sauces, freeze summer fruits, and store some great vegetables. Fall and winter will be a time of soups, stews, braises, and chilis, all of which freeze beautifully, so you can plan on making double batches of everything and stashing half for a future meal. Cold and flu season is coming on top of the current COVID-19 season, so a freezer full of homemade stock for fast and healing soups is a smart thing to have on hand. And as we look at changes in the weather making shopping more challenging, loading in some staples like chicken parts, ground beef, and other proteins from big box stores and having them frozen in family-size portions will mean that you always have the makings of a meal on hand if getting to a store or getting food delivered is complicated.

3 great chest freezers to buy

Here are some models to look at if you are exploring a chest freezer purchase!

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Danby 3.8 Cubic Feet Chest Freezer

This small-scale freezer is a good one if you have limited space but still want some extra storage. The benefit of a smaller freezer is that you can keep it super organized; some people actually prefer to have two or three little ones with designated purposes (one for meats and meals, for example, and one for ingredients). It is an affordable way to give yourself some freezer breathing room.

Buy it here: Danby 3.8 cubic-foot Chest Freezer ($279.99), amazon.com

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hOmeLabs 7 Cubic Feet Chest Freezer

This medium size is great for a couple: It has handy top baskets to help keep it organized and it packs a lot of storage in a manageable size.

Buy it here: hOmeLabs 7 Cubic Feet Chest Freezer ($514.99), amazon.com

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Frigidaire 14.8 Cubic Feet Chest Freezer

This is the all-in, big Daddy of home chest freezers, and the one to buy if you have a family, entertain at scale, if you hunt or fish, or if you want to be able to buy large format meats. Be forewarned: These larger units can be hard to keep organized, so plan on getting some baskets or tubs so that you don’t have to take everything out of the freezer to find that one packet of ground beef.

Buy it here: Frigidaire 56 Inch Freezer With 14.8 Cubic Feet Capacity ($989), amazon.com

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