Freezer Shuffle


Will Moving Chest Freezer

We’re playing freezer shuffle as we get ready to open the butcher shop. It will be a while before we use the real freezer system in the butcher shop, the walk-in coolers as they are a part of a future build out. Initially we’ll keep using the chest freezers we have.
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Step 1: Our son Ben cleaned out one of the rooms in the butcher shop which had been used for construction. That clean out was a big task in and of itself.

Step 2: We cleaned out the freezers, packing product in to big white coolers on a deeply cold day. She joked that she has the worlds largest outdoor walk-in freezer. Oh, wait, no joke – it’s winter time!

Step 3: We carried our existing chest freezers from the front porch where they’ve lived for years around to the back of the butcher shop and down the slippery slope to lairage so we could take them in the wide back door. That was an adventure. The more modern Amana freezer only weighs 252 lbs. The older Frost King is a lot heavier. I don’t know how heavy, just a lot heavier and that was after we took off the top door.

Step 4: The new So-low freezer arrived today. This will blast chill meat down to a colder than Hell -121°F. That’s colder that dry ice which is frozen CO2. Installation is still to happen in the coming week. We’ll need to move the Fricon which is currently in the way. The Fricon is our super chiller – it keeps our pork just above the freezing point of meat which is 25°F. Fresh, not frozen and higher quality since it is below the activity level of biological organisms in addition to being vacuum packaged.

Step 5: Once the So-Low is in place the Fricon goes back in place and then the freezer shuffle will be complete. I recently did the electrical work to wire up for both the Fricon and the So-low so everything is ready for them. ()Try to say Fricon without giggling.)

Step 6: Much later we’ll finish off the FCB, the walk in freezer, cooler and brine which will use the coolth attic for storing winter. That’s a project for another time, long after we have the meat cutting and possibly after we get the smokehouse in place. At that point two of these chest freezers will go out of use, being replaced by the walk-ins. I’ll probably keep them as backups, just incase our walk-out freezer fails, a.k.a. winter.

For home use I strongly recommend chest freezers and get the manual defrost kind. They’re more energy efficient than uprights. Manual defrost because auto defrost warms the contents to melt the ice which ruins your food.

Oddly enough, our over 50 year old Frost King freezer is twice as efficient as our 2009 Amana freezer. They’re both chest freezers of the same size and both used the same way in the same location. The Frost King uses half as much energy as the Amana. It also has run trouble free for longer than I’ve been alive.

Outdoors: 9°F/-11°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 64°F/60°F

Daily Spark: Dive in slowly.

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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9 Responses to Freezer Shuffle

  1. Edmund Brown says:

    Does the spreader on the 3 pt hitch work? My dad works for the town and they were going to throw out a spreader of almost precisely that size. I got it instead of the garbage… the motor is frozen, and it ran off the truck alternator… so I’m wondering whether to just get a new motor and wire it to a battery I put up on my tractor’s fender, or to practice my welding and rig up a PTO spinner.

    • Very well. It’s a Hurd off the PTO. We’ve sheared a pin twice in four years. Dang hard to get at to replace. It saves a lot of time and makes the sand go further so we use less sand than when we used to spread it by hand which has about paid for the spreader.

  2. Pam R. says:

    We currently have 4 chest freezers ranging from 25 cu.ft (bought in Sept 2014) to 18 cu. ft. (bought in 1984). I counted all the “freezers” on the farm and there were 8: the 4 already mentioned, 1 dead 23 cu.ft. we use for grain storage, and 3 fridge freezers ranging from the 1 sq. ft cubby in a dorm size fridge to full size top freezers. Except for the dorm one, all are full. Good thing we have PV panels… And that’s not mentioning the 10′ x 10′ cold room, which only runs a couple months a year….

  3. Dawn Carroll says:

    The other thing that is good about manual defrosting units is that the meat is much less inclined to get freezer burnt. My manual defrost upright freezer keeps foods freezer burnt free whereas my refrigerator freezer unit will freezer burn frozen foods. I keep foods that I will use up quicker in that unit.
    I also have had a few good sale persons tell me that a manual defrost is better for food storage due to the freezer burn issue.

    • Exactly. This is because the product is kept at a low temperature rather than fluctuating with the ice melt cycle. Ice melts above the melt point of meat so each time the auto-defrost cycle runs it thaws the surface of the meat and then refreezes it destroying cells which causes freezer burn.

  4. Peter says:

    Re: the relative efficiencies of the freezers….a lot is probably attributable to the changes in refrigerants in the past 50 years. And maybe the cooling equipment in the Frost King is far more robust than the Amana?

  5. Farmerbob1 says:

    It’s been a long, long time since I looked at a freezer with a defroster (I have a small chest freezer with no defrost) but I remember that it had a tiny little light bulb or heating element in an enclosed space with a tiny opening, and a drip pan. The tiny heat source would heat the air directly around it, the air would collect moisture from the colder air around, and then the heated air would rise, cool, and deposit it’s moisture.

    At no point was the warm air able to exit the enclosure, cold air entered at the very bottom, and there wasn’t a vent at the top of the defrosting chamber. The reason it works is that after the heated air cools and dries, the drier air slowly pulls moisture out of the ice. A little while later, the process starts again.

    This will cause freezer burn due to desiccation, not freeze-thaw cycles. Tightly-sealed product in a freezer shouldn’t suffer desiccation. If a defroster is melting ice and product in the freezer, then something is wrong.

    All that being said… I have a freezer with no defrost because:

    1) Slabs of ice are additional thermal buffering above and beyond the bottles of frozen water I keep at the bottom of the freezer.
    2) The defroster does use more power.
    3) The defroster adds cost for a feature that I don’t need.

    If I had a freezer that was in constant, regular use, with lots of exposure to moist, warm air, that’s the freezer I would buy a defroster in. Especially if it were an upright. The dry, cold air falls straight out and warm air is sucked in every time you open the door.

    • There are several different ways that the auto-defrost is done. Yours was one of the more innocuous. Some of them warm the unit up. Supposedly for such a short duration as to not do harm but I disagree with the manufacturer’s assessment. In any case, it’s not a big deal to do it manually and as you note, manually uses less power. Uprights are the worst.

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