Freezer burn is an often incurred problem. Any food devoid of moisture in the freezer succumbs to freezer burn. However, some food items are more prone to a freezer burn than others. For instance, food items such as ice cream, poultry, produce, meats, or fish are more susceptible to freezer burn due to high moisture content.
A freezer burn can be easily recognized on vegetables and fruits because they become shriveled and dry. Any starchy food like rice, cooked grains, or pasta will reveal a rough texture if it incurs a freezer burn.
Therefore, different food items show different indications of a freezer burn. In this article, we will discuss in detail how you can potentially prevent a freezer burn. Every now and then, you are likely to incur a situation where your food experiences freezer burn.
However, you should do whatever is possible from adjusting the temperature to using aluminum foil to prevent its occurrence.
Learn How To Stop Freezer Burn In Its Tracks?
Why would anyone want to freeze food? Well, the first reason would be to save time and the other would undoubtedly be to save money. You will save time because you will either have a fully prepared meal or the necessary ingredients all ready when you have to cook. And you will save money because when you buy in bulk, you are at a higher chance to secure a profitable deal.
In the article that follows, we will discuss how you can protect food from any kind of freezer burn.
What Is Freezer Burn?
Freezer burn refers to a phenomenon when your frozen food loses its moisture. A freezer burn becomes evident when your frozen food is devoid of moisture and thereby, looks all shriveled and discolored. Freezer burn is not specific to a particular food item. Rather, it can happen to any food.
Every food contains water. This water eventually forms a large number of crystals when you freeze it. Migration of these crystals eventually directs them to the sector of your freezer which is the coldest. This process is known as sublimation.
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Although identical to evaporation, sublimation doesn’t include any liquid. In fact, there is a direct conversion from solid to gas. This is why, if you would have noticed, your ice cubes tend to become smaller given you haven’t used them for quite a while.
Sublimation leads to dehydration. As a result of dehydration, your food tends to get dry or shriveled. The loss of oxygen also affects the color and flavor of your food. This is particularly true for fish, meats, and poultry that have not been wrapped properly.
If you store foods in your freezer for longer, they are at a higher chance of developing freezer burn.
Note that although foods with a freezer burn don’t have an attractive look, you can still eat them given your freezer temperature is 0 F.
How To Prevent It?
Since a freezer burn takes place due to a lack of moisture, the primary way to prevent it is to retain the moisture. To ensure this, two things must be taken into consideration.
Firstly, you should keep the temperatures cold all the time. Secondly, you need to make sure there’s no ventilation inside the freezer.
This in turn will ensure that your food freezes at a faster pace and no freezer burns are formed. Luckily enough, there are several ways to prevent freezer burn:
Set Your Freezer To The Right Temperature
A freezer thermometer comes in handy to check the temperature at regular intervals. Now the ideal temperature will vary from one freezer to another. It can be Cold in some, Low in others, or a temperature of 0 F. Keeping your deep freezer at a low temperature will block the sublimation process. Therefore, the chances of a freezer burn will reduce significantly.
Chill Your Food Before Freezing It
If you put hot food in your refrigerator, the temperature of your freezer will rise very quickly. Consequently, it will take more time for the temperature to go down. In addition, it will also influence the adjacent food items, thereby providing a warm place where the freezer burn can easily occur. Therefore, position your food in the refrigerator for about one to two hours prior to placing it in the freezer to ensure its longevity. This will also protect the health of your freezer in general.
Freeze Your Food In Small Batches
When you fill your freezer with a large amount of food at once, the temperature will rise abnormally. In addition, it will be time-consuming to bring down the temperature preferably lower than the freezing point. What you can do is place only a few food items at one time. This will give your freezer sufficient time to adjust the temperature of the food items.
Don’t Overfill-Or Underfill-Your Freezer
Any food item that is already frozen functions like ice inside the cooler. However, if you put excessive food items in your freezer, the movement of cold air will be hampered and lead to the formation of warm packets.
Practically, you should make sure that your freezer is three-quarters full. In case you have more space, you can make use of the freezer shelves to provide some air circulation to your food. In any case, don’t overstuff your refrigerator.
Clean Out And Organize Your Freezer Regularly
It is extremely important to clean your freezer regularly to prevent the growth of any unnecessary bacteria. You should also organize the items in your freezer to avoid transference any unwanted smells or odors.
Use Freezer-Safe Containers To Store Your Food
You must put your food in freezer-safe containers to ensure their longevity. Glass jars or containers, freezer bags, or plastic bags work wonders for storing food in the freezer. You should not substitute freezer bags with storage bags because storage bags tend to use comparatively thinner plastic and, therefore, are incompatible with the freezer’s needs. Using a freezer bag will ensure the protection of your food from oxygen.
Give Your Food An Extra Layer Of Protection
To give your food an added layer of protection, you can wrap it in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and then place it in your freezer bag or container. If you use a freezer bag or a container, stick to only aluminum foil, waxed paper, or plastic wrap. However, none of them have the potential to completely prevent air from escaping out of the food.
Now, for example, you are storing soup in your freezer. Pour it into a container leaving approximately ½ inch of headspace. Wrap aluminum foil or plastic wrap on the head of the container. After that, place the lid on your container.
Squeeze Out The Air
When you make use of a freezer bag, make sure you squeeze it to ensure there’s no air left. You can even go for the vacuum system if you have it at your place. There are several other ways to squeeze the air out of the bag. For one, you can opt for the water displacement method.
Once you put your food in the bag, leave a headspace of half to one inch and seal it but leave about an inch. Then, put the bag inside a pot full of water. Keep noticing as water pushes the air out of the bag. Once the air is all out, seal it properly using a vacuum sealer and put it in the freezer.
Know When To Toss It
Although it is evident, don’t keep your food in the freezer for a long period of time. Even if you properly store it and protect it, your food will expire once 9 months of its storage in the refrigerator are complete. Therefore, it is important for you to take note of the date on which you stored your food in the freezer so that you can keep track of its expiry date i.e. when is it time for you to discard it.
To sum up, a freezer burn occurs due to moisture loss. Once oxygen substitutes moisture, the food develops a dry outlook. Such foods have degraded flavor, color, and texture. Nonetheless, if you freeze your food properly, it will be safe to consume.
If you follow the ways of protecting your food from freezer burns mentioned in this article, you are likely to increase the shelf life of your food items, both prepared and raw.
Although many people speculate that you need to throw away food with a freezer burn, this is not true. You can consume the food since it will not lead to any illness. However, the aroma and look of such food items might not be tempting.