The Freeze is On!
Properly storing foods can help maintain their quality and safety. Freezing items can keep food safe for quite a while, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those foods will still have the same great taste. The handout below will help you decide which items in your freezer should stay and which should go!
Click on the image below to download a PDF.
Here are some additional tips on freezing foods to ensure both safety and quality.
- Blanching: The exposure of vegetables to boiling water or steam for a brief period of time and then rapidly cooled. It stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color and texture.
- Temperatures: Freeze foods at 0°F or lower. While freezing does not kill bacteria, it does prevent the growth of bacteria if held at the proper temperature (0°F or lower).
- Thawing: Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter or in hot water. While the center may still be frozen, the outside layer may be in the “Danger Zone” between 40 and 140°F. For additional tips on thawing foods, check out this information from the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service.
- Containers: Good freezing materials include rigid containers made of aluminum, glass, plastic, tin or heavily waxed cardboard. Some other options are bags and sheets of moisture-vapor resistant wraps and laminated papers made specially for freezing. Most often, these materials will be labeled for freezer use.
- Freezer storage: Label each item with the name, ingredients, packaging date and number of servings. Maintain a rotation system and use items with oldest dates first. Allow proper circulation in freezer.
- Freezer burn: Freezer burn is not dangerous, but it does impact the quality of the product. To help prevent this from happening, be sure to wrap or store the item well in freezer-quality bags and containers. Also, be sure to squeeze out as much excess air as possible.
Image: “Freezer Meals” by Kathleen Franklin is licensed by CC BY 2.0.