|My freezer in more organized days|
Well, as far as an EMP blast... we would have a lot more to be concerned about than just the food in our freezer. Those of us who depend on any medication or medical device to stay alive would not do well in such a scenario. How do I plan for such an event? I don't worry about it for there is nothing I can do in something that catastrophic. I make sure I'm ready to meet the Lord!
However, anything less than an EMP or Armageddon event, I do think possibilities through a bit. I only have a medium size deep freeze and it usually doesn't contain a whole lot of meat but in the event of a total extended loss of electricity, I'd share what is defrosting with my kids (who live a couple miles down the road) and neighbors. The good thing about living in the country is there are plenty of ways to have a backyard barbecue.
My freezer is an important part of my everyday pantry and gives me the ability to save money and to plan ahead. For instance, the really good chickens (the kind that are hormone free but not organic) went on a great sale at Meijers soon after the Holidays so I bought four whole chickens and added them to the one or two I already had there. I think of whole chickens as the most budget friendly of meat because I can have at least a couple meals and soup out of each one.
Turkeys were on clearance for 39 cents a pound or thereabouts after Christmas and if my husband liked turkey better, I would have bought at least one of them. But I didn't. But I kinda' wished I did later.
I usually stock up on frozen veggies when Kroger has a good sale and I buy a few loaves of bread at a time on sale. Right now the freezer has a a couple loaves of sandwich bread, a loaf of garlic bread in foil bought on clearance, a couple packages of naan bread bought on clearance, and quite a few packages of tortilla and burrito shells (the packages slipped into larger Ziploc bags to protect them from freezer burn).
I've been known to buy four containers of vanilla ice cream when it dips below $2.00 and a box of frozen cheesecake had a cozy home in the freezer before New Year's Eve (when I was all baked out). When Cool Whip goes on sale for a dollar, I buy a couple for the freezer even if it is not a real food.
I usually have a few pounds of butter (bought on sale) in a Ziploc bag in the freezer as butter is one item I don't want to run out of and it freezes very well. I once had a bag get lost in the deep freeze (and you know how that can happen!) and found it four or five months later. All the butter was still fine.
For the past year or so, I've been having a baking day when I 1) feel good, and 2) have all the ingredients to bake favorites for the freezer. This past week we had quite a snowstorm so we were snowed in for two days. I took advantage of the cold weather to have a baking day so a pumpkin pie was baked and is in the frig for Hubby, a double recipe of shortbread dough was mixed up and is now in the freezer for when those cookies would be a good idea, and five dozen chocolate chip cookies were made (my recipe strains even my big Kitchen Aid mixer).
I baked two dozen of the cookies to share with Mr. & Mrs. Christopher and then scooped the rest of the dough onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper... set the timer for two hours... and carefully placed them in the deep freeze. Once they were frozen nice and solid, I slipped a dozen each into three different quart size Ziploc bags and then slipped those bags in a gallon size bag to prevent freezer burn. Now all I have to do for chocolate chip cookies is to place them on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven about three or four minutes longer than I would if not frozen.
Sometimes the freezer holds meals I've made ahead of time, extra containers of homemade chicken broth, etc. to help when I know I'll need homemade convenience food.
So you can see that my freezer is an important part of my pantry. Not to mention it gets used to debug flour and stuff.
When we have a regular old storm caused power outage, I most often just leave it closed and it will stay fine for two days or more (longer in winter since it is in our unheated garage). Sometimes I will grab a few things out of it immediately and then shut the lid and leave it shut until the power comes on. I have one of those lights above the freezer that is battery operated so I can see even in a power outage.
In the winter, I don't worry about the freezer getting half empty like it is now. It doesn't have to work very hard in a cold garage. But in hot weather, I will keep it full even if it means filling water jugs three-fourths the way full and stacking them in the freezer. That will help the freezer not have to work hard and will help keep it cold longer should a storm knock the power out... or as most often happens on our property, a squirrel gets to close to power lines!
So I hope these ramblings answers the question. Yes, I do depend on the freezer as part of my usual pantry. But for any kind of emergency preparedness, canning meat in a pressure canner would be a very good idea! It will keep for a long time without refrigeration. ;)