Messy refrigerators are an everyday story. Messy freezers more so. Right behind the recently packed food items in your freezer, lie foods which you probably wouldn’t even recognize anymore. It is said that a freezer reveals a lot about the owner. Plenty of ice packs could mean a sporty person or an accident-prone one. Frozen meal packets depict a couch potato personality and lots of ice-cream tubs mean that there are either kids in the house or perhaps a plump adult!
So, ideally what should stay in your freezer and what should go?
Freezing helps keep food safe. However, you need to remember that safe does not necessarily translate into good texture and taste. If you wrinkle your nose each time you open the freezer for its occasional cleaning, you need to take a good look at freezer facts that can’t be ignored...
Freezer facts you must not ignore:
- Freezing to 0 degrees Fahrenheit leaves microbes inactive, but it does not destroy them completely.
- Stop smells of other foods transferring to and from your frozen item or items.
- Mushy texture of frosted food items can be credited to the water inside the food item which expands when frozen.
- Defrost your vegetables before cooking.
- Prevent loss of moisture in your freezer.
Right way of storing your food
- Use small containers in order to freeze the food quickly to avoid bacteria growth. Each container’s capacity can be up to 4 quarts and the food item to be frozen must be, ideally, less than 3 inches thick.
- One of the most important rules when storing frozen food items is to leave as little air as possible inside the container or the freezer bag. This will help in keeping your food fresh for a longer period of time.
- When storing meats and baked goods, it is essential to wrap them securely with foil, before placing them neatly in freezer bags. Wrap them in plastic or Styrofoam and make sure to use them within one month of purchase.
- Place the food items in the coldest part of the freezer i.e. in the deep end, until the food is completely frozen.
- Cool the hot food first, before freezing them. This can be done by placing the pan of hot food in a large container containing ice or ice water. To speed up the process, stir the food.
- Label the freezer bags or containers with the dates- even if you have to use the food in a day or two.
None of the above information is enough on its own. You also need to know how long you can freeze each food for. Here is what the health experts recommend:
- Soups and stews: 2 months
- Casseroles: 2-3 months
- Bacon and sausage: 1-2 months
- Frozen dinners and entrees: 3-4 months
- Cooked poultry: 4 months
- Uncooked poultry parts: 9 months
- Uncooked whole poultry: 12 months
- Uncooked roasts: 4-12 months
- Uncooked ground meat: 3-4 months
Gone are the days of daily kitchen labour when people had enough time on their hands to cook fresh food for each meal. When used the right way, freezers can help you maintain healthy home food eating habits with minimum effort any day, any time. Keep these basic freezer do’s and don’ts in mind and enjoy healthy food with ease and convenience.
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