You make the mega shopping rundown at the food warehouse to feed a small army of angry savages that you call your family. The freezer in your home is bulging, as you have to use duct tape to keep the door closed. Then for the next 4 weeks, you go on a take-out binge where you don’t bother cooking a single meal. When it is time to put the moldy dollar-menu items into the trash and cook real food, you find gray spots and frost on the items from in your freezer — an unfortunate consequence of poor food storage methods, called freezer burn. Banish away this food enemy by using the following 10 freezing tips to keep the food fresher longer so it doesn’t taste spoiled or become too tough to eat.
1: Get Rid of All the Air
Air is the enemy when it comes to freezing your food. When there is a lot of air against the food, water molecules form and then begin to freeze. The water becomes pulled out of the food as the food starts to dehydrate. The more oxygen in the bag, the more ice crystals can start to stick to the surface of the item, affecting its taste and texture. Removing all the air by squeezing the bag or using a vacuum packaging machine can help you keep your food fresh longer.
2: Double-Wrap the Food
You want to hit the sale on rump roasts but know you won’t be using your purchases for a while. For foods that you want to store for longer periods, it is ideal to wrap them up with extra plastic or foil on the inside and outside of the bag. Cradle the package up like a little food-baby and stick it safely in the fridge. Just make sure not to wrap too much around it to prevent it from freezing properly.
3: Use The Right Bags And Containers
Perhaps the worst culprit for freezer burn is using the wrong bags and containers to store the food. You want to ensure that the bag that you use will close fully and not open back up, once it is placed in the freezer. Also take care when you are packing food inside. If you put a lot of weight on the bag, it might pop back open or the packaging might get damaged.
Also, never put glass, in the freezer. It might break. If you use plastic containers, check to make sure the lid stays on, as certain foods can expand containers and force the lid to pop off.
4: Know the Right Time to Freeze Foods
You want to freeze foods to prevent the chance of bacteria forming on them after the meal is finished. Yet if you stick the food into the freezer while it is hot, the steam will form more water crystals when it freezes. You can also damage the bags that the food is placed in. Yet you don’t want to keep hot food out for too long. If you want to cool it quickly, place the food in a pan and surround it in a sink filled with ice. Avoid keeping food out longer than 2 hours.
5: Don’t Freeze Your Food for Too Long
Refrain from freezing foods for too long. After a time, the food will begin to dehydrate, no matter how much time and care you took to remove the air and seal it properly. To have a great tasting meal, eat the food within a sensible time period. If you wait for 9 months to take something out of the freezer, you probably won’t enjoy the taste of it as much when you had cooked it 7 months ago.
6: Shuffle the Older Items to the Front
To ensure that you are eating the food at the right times, keep the older items at the front or top of the freezer and the newer items on the bottom. Keep shuffling the food around in this system. Also utilize labels and markers as you can put the purchase or freeze date on items so you can keep track of what you buy and what you cook so you don’t buy too much food at one time that you can’t possibly eat up.
7: Freeze Smaller Meal Portions
When you place larger items in the freezer, they can take a longer time to cool. It is best to make smaller portion and single serving sizes as they can freeze faster and allow you to thaw out only the food that you want to eat. So slice up big roasts with a Berkel meat slicer and pack the portions away with the date clearly visible on the packaging.
8: Don’t Freeze the Wrong Foods
There are some foods that you should never put into the freezer. Watery vegetables such as cucumbers and lettuce will become soggy when it comes time to bring them back up to room temperature. Also, avoid freezing eggs still in the shell, as they can burst open. Other foods that should stay away from the freezer section of your refrigerator are creams, gelatin, puddings and custards.
9: Fill Up The Freezer
It might sound strange to hear us talk about keeping the freezer filled up after telling you to portion out food in smaller servings. Yet the frozen food that is already in the freezer will help the newer items freeze faster. This method will allow you to keep your food cold without having the freezer work overtime. So, you also cut down on the the electric bill by having a full fridge.
10: Keep A Freezer Log Handy
Perhaps the best way for you to stop freezer burn from affecting your food is to keep a log of the items that you have. Even with organizing the food and using labels, items get lost in the back of the freezer all the time. So you end up tossing the items away. By knowing what you have frozen, you can better plan out your meal options and keep the great food flowing to your family. You will also make better buying choices so you don’t purchase too much of one item that just ends up piling up on the shelves.