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Freezer Burn – How To Prevent It

Posted By admin On August 4, 2009 @ 11:33 am In Cooking & Baking,Home Safety | Comments Disabled

Buying food in bulk is an awesome way to save money – not just during a recession, but at any time! Unfortunately, it’s also a sure-fire recipe for freezer burn!

Seriously, there are few things in life that get up my nose more than the funky smell of “frost-bitten groceries!” That’s why I’ve decided to put together a few helpful tips and tricks on how to avoid such calamities.

Steps

  1. How freezer burn works:

    When you freeze an item of food, the water molecules in it transform into ice crystals. If one spot on the food is colder than the other, the water molecules will sublimate, migrate and form ice crystals on the coldest spot, leaving the other parts dehydrated. If there’s any fat in the food (such as you’d find in meat) the dry spots could end up becoming oxidized – and ‘oxidation’ is a process which changes the flavour and smell of food (for the worse).

  2. Freezer temperatures must remain constant:

    Temperature fluctuations cause a difference in temperature between the solid food and the air surrounding it. This is what causes the water molecules to sublimate.

    • Try to not open the freezer unless you have to. When you do, don’t leave the door open for too long.
    • Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the freezer. Ensure that there is sufficient room for expansion. This will help stabilize the temperature in the freezer.
    • Don’t put hot food directly into the freezer. This can cause a significant and ‘potentially dangerous’ change in air temperature. If you can’t leave the food out, put it into the fridge to cool before freezing.
  3. Keep the freezer temperature below -18 degrees C:

    Freezer burn only happens when temperatures fluctuate above -18 degrees C. Use a freezer thermometer to make sure the freezer is cold enough.

  4. Keep food tightly packaged:

    When food surfaces are exposed to air, the water molecules have a chance to sublimate and migrate. So, when you’re preparing food for the freezer, ensure that ‘as little of the surface is exposed as possible’.

    • You’ll find a ton of products designed to help prevent freezer burn. These include: thick sealable plastic bags, heavy plastic containers and freezer-safe glass. I should also point out that ‘using a combination of a “freezer” plastic wrap first and following up with heavy-duty aluminium foil creates a barrier against moisture’.
    • Take the time to press the air out when you seal food in one of these purpose-designed freezer bags. To do this, simply put a straw into the bag and suck the air out, then seal.
    • Be sure to leave enough room for food to expand as it freezes (or else the container and/or packaging will break. This makes freezer burn more likely to happen.
    • Soup can be stored in containers. However, you need to leave enough headroom for expansion. You also need to add a layer of plastic wrap to “seal” the surface of the soup
  5. Storing food in the freezer for too long is a ‘bad thing’:

    The longer your food spends in the freezer, the greater the chance of freezer burn. A good tip is to write the recommended “Use By (date)” on the package and then make sure you eat it before then.

Warning:

While freezer-burned food is quite safe to eat, it can be difficult to tell the difference between freezer burn and microbial contamination. This is why it is much smarter to get rid of freezer burned food than risk a week of living hell in the bathroom!


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