If you’re tired of wasting your food because of freezer burn then have no fear! We’ve got your backs with some great tips to prevent freezer burn from happening.
Freezer burn? What? How can something burn if it’s frozen? Oh, it can and it does! And if you’ve ever seen it (or tasted it), then you know it’s true.
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It’s a sad day when you realize that your food that you took the time to prepare and freeze now has to be thrown away. [Enter hysterical sobbing.] But don’t worry! I’ve got some great tips on how to keep your food from getting freezer burn so that you stop wasting your food and money. Woot woot!
WHAT IS FREEZER BURN?
Freezer burn is damage to frozen food that’s caused by air (oxidation), dehydration, and water evaporation (which continues after food is frozen unless you do something to stop it). The water that evaporates forms ice crystals in and on the food.
Food that has been freezer burned usually has a layer of frost directly on the food and looks “off.” Freezer-burned meat is usually a grayish-white color and looks like it’s dry, which it is.
Food that has been freezer burned is safe to eat, but it’s not very good at all. Freezer burn changes the flavor, color, and texture of the food, ew!
WAYS TO PREVENT FREEZER BURN
The single most important thing you can do to prevent freezer burn is to provide an airtight, moisture-proof barrier between your food and whatever container it’s in. There are also some other things you can do when, if done consistently, will help prevent freezer burn.
COOL FOOD BEFORE FREEZING
Not only will you prevent evaporation, but you will avoid partially thawing the foods around it. The best way to do this is to put it in the fridge for a couple of hours before you put it in the freezer.
SET FREEZER TO CORRECT TEMPERATURE
This should be obvious, but you’d be surprised how many freezers aren’t quite cold enough! Keep yours at 0°F (-18°Celsius).
AVOID SELF-DEFROSTING FREEZERS
Sure, they’re handy. But whoever thought them up wasn’t thinking about how they would affect the food inside of them while they’re defrosting! They defrost by fluctuating the temperature, allowing the frost to melt. When the frost melts, the water molecules in frozen food also melt and start to evaporate. The result? The dreaded freezer burn. Just stay away from them!
KEEP YOUR FREEZER AT LEAST 75% FULL
How does this help? Everything stays colder! All of the frozen food keeps the food and the freezer colder (bonus: it also saves on energy!). If the power goes out, as sometimes happens, the stuff in your freezer will stay cold longer if it’s full or almost full. If you don’t have enough food to be able to do that, no worries. Just use ice to fill some of the empty spaces. However, make sure that you don’t stuff it full. There should always be a little bit of room for air circulation around frozen items.
USE PROPER CONTAINERS TO PREVENT FREEZER BURN
Make sure that you use containers that are made to be frozen and wrap your food tightly. Don’t skimp here! Do the research and invest in some good-quality containers will protect your food. Look for containers that have a moisture-vapor barrier for optimum protection. You should not freeze foods simply in bread wrappers, plastic wrap, food storage bags, or Styrofoam trays with plastic wrap. At least not if you want to eat it later! However, you can wrap foods in plastic wrap, foil, or freezer paper before putting them in the appropriate freezer container to add a layer of protection.
USE THE RIGHT SIZE CONTAINER
Whether you’re storing your food in rigid containers or freezer bags, make sure that they’re almost full. Just leave enough room (half an inch should do) for the food to expand a little as it freezes. Make sure that you push all the air out of the freezer bag before you seal it. If you use freezer paper, wrap it tightly enough to touch all the surfaces of the food.
REPACK FROZEN FOODS AFTER YOU OPEN
When using store-bought frozen foods (such as veggies, pasta shells, or fish sticks), repack what you don’t eat the first time using all the tips above. Never return these foods to the freezer in their partially empty original bags or containers. Plus, taking them out of their boxes will give you more space in your freezer!
ADD CITRIC ACID TO FRUIT TO PREVENT FREEZER BURN
Oxidation in fruit will destroy the nutrients. Prevent freezer burn on fruit by adding a solution that contains citric acid or vitamin C, such as Fruit-Fresh.
BLANCHE GREEN VEGETABLES
Boil green veggies for 30 seconds, then immediately plunge them in ice water. This helps prevent freezer burn and keeps them from going brown in the freezer. This works for beans, peas, broccoli, asparagus, and so on.
FREEZE FOODS IN LIQUIDS
This works especially well for cooked foods. If any evaporation does occur, it will be from the liquid, not from the food. Simply use an appropriate container and cover the food with broth, sauce, or good old water. Just use the broth or sauce when you reheat it, or drain the water off.
KNOW WHEN TO TOSS FREEZER-BURNED FOODS
Hopefully, you’re able to prevent freezer burn and rotate through your food without it going bad. BUT if there’s something that lives in the freezer for too long, toss it. It’s not worth you chancing getting everybody sick! As a general rule, nothing should stay in your freezer longer than about nine months, but that magic number can vary with different foods. Make sure that you always label and date your food so that you know what it is and when you put it in the freezer.
Is there anything that you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!
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