SOME FOODS ARE BEST FROZEN
We always read that it is good to eat fresh. That is true, but technology has transformed the functions of freezers to a higher level, and using frozen food can have benefits, too.
French fries cook best when frozen. Also spring rolls. According to studies, meat for grilling is of better quality and taste when it has been previously frozen.
Freezing foods is one of the best ways to preserve it. The cold temperature does not allow bacteria to thrive so foods do not easily spoil. You can buy cheaper in bulk, and store it in the freezer for a later date. Fruits that are seasonal can be preserved for off season. If you are in the business of foods, you can save on costs and production time by making it in bulk and freezing it for future sale.
KNOWING THE EQUIPMENT
You must be asking, is my freezer in the refrigerator enough to do the freezing job?
It can, but it will not stay up to months, unlike when you put it in a chest freezer. The reason is that we tend to open refrigerators a lot, and when we do that, the temperature inside changes. So the temperature in the freezer does not remain constant, and shifts. Stand-alone freezers do not have eggs or juice inside that we often need so there is lesser traffic in opening it, thus preserving its temperature.
Both appliances do the job of cooling the foods. The ultimate difference between a freezer and a refrigerator is the temperature inside it. Freezers, to be at its best function, have to be set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or -18 degrees Celsius. Refrigerators at 4 degrees Celsius or 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
TYPES OF FREEZERS
- Combination of freezer / refrigerator. It is also called ref or fridge as a shortcut. Some models have the freezer at the top, some at the bottom. Research shows that the freezer at the bottom uses lesser energy, because the compressor at the bottom has only a short distance to work in pushing the vapor up;
- Stand-alone freezer is also called the ‘deep freeze’ or the ‘sub zero’. It is a chest that is wholly freezer;
- Walk-in freezer which we usually find in restaurants. You would only need this if you store about 699 pounds of meat at one time.
BEST TIPS IN PRESERVING FOOD BY FREEZING
- Keep the temperature of your freezer low and consistent. Try not to open it so much unless needed. Use labels and practice first-in-first-out method. Remember to get the stock from the most bottom part;
- Freeze fresh. Freeze the foods at its freshest point, not days after. Freezing makes it impossible for bacteria to thrive, but if the food already had bacteria before being frozen, the quality has already been compromised;
- Don’t freeze foods while hot. It will change the temperature in your freezer and affect other foods. It is good to cool off hot foods on the counter before storing, or you can put in the refrigerator first before moving it to the freezer;
- Use labels, which include the food inside, date frozen. It is also good to keep a list of the items inside taped on the door of the freezer, or where you keep your menu, if you have one. It will remind you that there is still soup inside the freezer so you won’t have to cook tonight;
- Once the food has come from the freezer, do not return. You have to consume it. It is wise to pack your foods in single servings so there is no wastage;
- Avoid freezer burn by using the right containers for your freezer. The plastic bag you use should be food-grade and freezer-friendly. Ordinary bags will break in the cold, and it would defeat the purpose of preserving your food;
- If you have doubts about the quality of the food, throw it out. Check the appearance for any tear on the packaging, or discoloration on the food. Smell it. If there is any doubt, don’t use. Don’t even give to your pets;
- Take care of your equipment. Clean the outside with a damp cloth. Schedule to defrost it at least every other month, or when you don’t have much stored inside. While defrosting, you can keep the stock inside the refrigerator. Don’t worry; it will remain frozen for a couple more hours;
- Try to keep a full freezer. When your freezer is packed, cold air has not much space to circulate in so the freezer uses less power. You cut down on electricity costs. If you have space, fill it up with plastic bottles half-filled with water;
- Keep it shut if power is out. Keeping it closed preserves the cold inside so your food is safe for up to a day;
- Consume your preserved foods within this timeline:
Deli foods – up to 2 months
Meat, ground – up to 4 months
Meat, uncooked – up to 6 months
Fish, uncooked – up to 6 months
Chicken, uncooked – up to 9 months
COMMON FREEZING PROBLEMS
- Frost happens when the temperature inside the freezer fluctuates. A freezer thermometer can help you keep track of the temperature. It has to be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower;
- Freezer burn causes brownish spots in your food due to loss of moisture. The right packaging can prevent this from happening.
The best way to get the most out of your frozen food is to take care of its preparation and packaging before you freeze it. While freezing is one efficient way to preserve food, it is most effective when combined with other methods, like vacuum-sealing or canning. These two methods will remove air from the container, thus making it impossible for bacteria to thrive. Then you can put it in the freezer for storage.