A Whole Lamb Will Easily Fit Inside A Normal Refrigerator Freezer Compartment

In fact, we can fit two whole lambs in our moderate sized refrigerator freezer compartment and still have room for a bucket of ice cream!

Here’s the rule of thumb: You need approximately 1 cubic foot of storage space for each 30-32 pounds of meat.

I raise and sell premium-quality grassfed lamb. One of the most frequently asked questions I get is "Do I have room to store a frozen lamb?" The question is even more acute when it comes to buying a side of beef. Since much grassfed beef and lamb is purchased whole or in halves, here are some things you might consider before buying a freezer.

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Chest or Upright Freezer?

Size and shape

If you want the maximum storage capacity, a chest-freezer is your best bet, as they are available in sizes up to about 21 cubic feet. But a 21 cubic foot chest-freezer occupies a lot of floor space. As I was growing up on the farm, my parents always had a huge chest-freezer filled to the brim with beef and garden goodies.

Upright-freezers are not nearly as large. About one-fifth that size is about the biggest you can get. Also, vertical-freezers often use drawers or baskets which can make quite a lot of the internal space unusable, compared to chest-freezers where the baskets still allow most of the space to be used.

Convenience

Upright freezers are usually more convenient to use because you don't have to dig down through the layers of frozen food. You simply pull out the drawers or baskets with most models. Smaller chest-freezers can be very awkward to use once packets get buried at the bottom. My wife much prefers a vertical-freezer.

Chest-freezers are not frost-free so you have to defrost from time to time. As long as you take care to limit the amount of moist air that gets in, by not opening the lid too much or leaving it up for too long, ice build up is slow, and defrosting once a year is usually enough. Look for a model with a drain plug at the front, so you can easily drain off the melt-water. Drain plugs with spouts help minimize spills.

Frost-free vertical-freezers are readily available if you would rather avoid the defrosting hassle. Non-frost-free (or cyclic) vertical models will need regular defrosting. Again, our family’s first choice is frost-free.

Efficiency

Cold air falls (just as hot air rises), so as soon as you open the door of upright-freezers all that lovely freezing air flows out. When the lid of a chest-freezer is opened, cold air does not flow out so much, and not a lot of warm air will usually flow in. This helps make chest-freezers more energy efficient than vertical-freezers once door and lid opening is taken into account.

Frost-free technology also uses more energy, which gives chest-freezers a further advantage. Size for size, a cyclic type chest-freezer can use 25% less energy than a frost-free vertical model.

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