Simple Ways To Store Your Frozen Foods Properly
Keeping frozen food fresh and, well, frozen is a freezer’s main purpose. But, your freezer can’t accomplish this all on its own. Your freezer needs your help. Here’s a quick look at a few important aspects for properly storing frozen food.
Location, Location, Location
Storing and stacking food items in the freezer in the order they will be used just makes sense. Food close to the door doesn’t stay as cold as food located in the back part of the freezer. Smart stacking helps improve the end result, because a major contributing factor for freezer burn is the constant thawing and re-freezing of foods.
Full vs. Empty
Your freezer works hard to keep all your food cold. You could almost think of your freezer as like a portable cooler full of food. The less there is in a cooler, the more ice you put in compensate for the extra space, to keep everything as cold as possible.
Conversely, when a cooler is full the cold food keeps the inside temperature colder and therefore you need less ice. Same thing with your freezer. Keeping a freezer full means less work on the appliance to keep everything frozen, plus the freezer will stay cold longer if the power goes out.
Freezing fruits and vegetables is a great way to make them last, especially if you’re single or can’t eat a lot at once. In essence, you’re taking these food items at the flavorful peak and stopping the ripening process immediately once their frozen.
Blanch your vegetables for a few minutes in water before freezing them. This will bring out the color and the flavor for better taste when you thaw them out again. Once blanched, they should be left to cool at room temperature, then frozen individually before being bagged up.
Lay the vegetables out on a sheet pan and put them in your freezer for three to five hours first. You should only bag them together once they have started to freeze.
Fruits are somewhat different. Because of the sugar content in most fruit, the cells of the fruit will need a way to retain their sugar content. It is best, then, to freeze fruits in a simple syrup or a sugar compound with a little ascorbic acid to slow down oxidation. Oxidation is what discolors fruit and gives it a brownish, “past it’s prime” appearance.
Planning on storing large amounts of meat in your freezer? Break large portions down into smaller sizes before freezing, since this makes thawing easier for individual servings later on. If possible, keep meats in their original packaging, and make sure the packages are completely sealed with no holes or perforations.
Most meats can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days at the proper temperature. If you’re not planning to use the meat before this time, consider freezing and then thawing these portions as needed. If the meat will be stored for a couple months before being used, you should over-wrap the meat in a heavy-duty plastic wrap or put it into an airtight freezer bag.
These are simple ways you can help your freezer keep the foods you eat fresh and flavorful for a long time. Keep long-term storage items in the back, keep it well stocked, and practice proper freezing techniques to ensure the best tasting food is always the end result. These tips also help to lower your energy bills as an added bonus.