Freezer burn is a common problem that affects any food that is left in the freezer for long periods of time. It causes foods like meat and fish to lose moisture. Fortunately, there are many ways you can prevent this from happening. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when storing your food in the freezer.
1. Keep The Temperature Low
Whether you’re running a restaurant, a butcher shop or a convenience store, freezer burn is not only annoying, but it can also negatively impact the quality of your food. The key to preventing freezer burn is keeping the temperature low, which will help your food maintain its freshness and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
The main cause of freezer burn is a process known as sublimation. This causes water molecules to rise to the surface of frozen foods, causing them to become dehydrated and eventually lead to ice crystals or dry spots on the surface of your food. Once these ice crystals form, your food will start to develop an overall dull appearance that may even change its color. Most vegetables will look dry and shriveled, while meats will often take on a dark grey or brown color that looks tough or leathery. This type of dryness can also lead to a noticeable taste change in your food. You’ll notice that your meats and vegetables taste dryer than usual, while ice cream may also have a harsher texture.
These changes are caused by a combination of two different processes: evaporation and oxidation. When the evaporation of water occurs, it can remove the flavor of your food and make it taste bland or even bitter. When oxidation happens, it can revert the flavor back to its original state, giving your food a distinct sour or metallic taste. This is why you might taste a strong chemical or metallic odor when you take your meat out of the freezer.
While it’s not a safety concern, freezer burn can negatively affect the texture and flavor of your food, making it less palatable to many people. While it’s not easy to reverse, you can minimize the effects of freezer burn by using a vacuum sealer to remove air from meat and fish, or by rinsing and dehydrating your food before cooking.
2. Keep The Food Fresh
One of the best ways to prevent freezer burn is by freezing foods quickly, which will help minimize the formation of large ice crystals that can dramatically impact the quality and nutritional value of the product. For this reason, it’s important to freeze only as much food as you plan to eat in a given time period.
Ensure that the foods you freeze are properly packaged to avoid air seeping in and spoiling them. This can be done by using plastic wrap, wax paper or aluminum foil on a container before you seal it. You can also place a layer of freezer wrap on top of the product before sealing it to prevent any moisture loss. This will also protect the surface of the food from freezer burn.
3. Use A Vacuum Sealer
Vacuum sealing is an excellent way to keep foods fresh and extend their shelf life. It also keeps your food free of pests, mold, and bacteria that can make it go bad. A vacuum sealer is a great investment for people who buy large amounts of foods, such as meats and vegetables, or who use them in cooking methods like sous vide. They can also be useful for storing and preserving pantry staples, like flour and sugar.
There are different types of vacuum sealers, and you should choose one that will fit your kitchen. There are handheld and countertop models, and some of them have features like moisture or marinate settings. While some vacuum sealers are more expensive than others, you can save money by looking for deals on Craigslist or eBay. You might be able to find an older model at a lower price.
4. Don’t Overfill
Another way to keep food from getting freezer burn is to make sure that your freezer is not overstuffed with food. This can cause the air inside the freezer to get warmer than it needs to be, which will create warm pockets that allow moisture to escape and freeze at the surface of the food. It’s best to keep your freezer at three-quarters full for maximum storage efficiency. This will give your food a couple inches of space between the walls, which will make it easier for the freezer to distribute the cold air evenly.
Overfilling your freezer can also cause problems with energy efficiency, which will eventually lead to a costly repair or replacement. Additionally, it will inhibit air circulation inside your freezer, which will increase the temperature within the compartment and cause more ice crystal formation, resulting in freezer burn. To avoid this, only fill your freezer with foods that you plan to eat within the next two to four months.
5. Rotate Your Food
One of the most important things to do to prevent freezer burn is to rotate your food. This can be a challenge when you have a large inventory of long-term storage foods, but it is essential for the safety and freshness of your food stock. You need to rotate your food products so that they don’t get contaminated with mold or other pathogens. Generally, food items with longer shelf lives should be used first. This will ensure that the oldest ingredients don’t go bad and that you have a steady supply of healthy food to use. It’s also a good idea to label your containers with the date that the food was frozen so that you can easily remember which ones need to be used before they expire. This will make it easier to rotate your food and prevent freezer burn from occurring!