Freezing Food

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, you can freeze almost any food. Freezing food at 0° Fahrenheit and maintaining that temperature keeps food safe. That doesn’t mean that you are going to be happy with the taste or appearance of any item that has been frozen for a long time but at least you know it will be safe to use.

Just remember these things:

1) Make sure you know if your freezer has lost electricity during any power outage and if possible, know when the power was interrupted. Food in most full freezers will keep for about two days if the door is not opened. If your freezer is not full, food should stay safely frozen for a day. This applies to dedicated freezers.

A refrigerator‘s freezer compartment may not keep food frozen as long as a dedicated freezer because the insulation around the freezer compartment is not as effective as a freezer-only appliance and the temperature isn't usually as cold. The USDA suggests that any food that has become warmer than 40° for more than two hours be discarded.

2) Consider purchasing a freezer for longer-term storage that is separate from your main refrigerator/freezer in your kitchen. Freezing food in a dedicated freezer means less temperature variation and therefore it will last longer. You can always buy extra items when they are on sale knowing you have a deep freezer.

3) Freezing food does not reduce vitamins and other nutrients in food and is a very safe way to preserve and store most foods.

4) Properly wrapping and packaging items you intend to freeze is very important and will make the difference between an item being of good quality when thawed or not. Airtight freezer storage is best. When an item is packaged with air, it will cause freezer burn and unpleasant changes to the color and texture of the food. Consider investing in an inexpensive vacuum food storage unit that seals food in airtight heavy duty plastic bags. Heavy duty foil, freezer bags, and freezer paper also work well for long-term storage.

Contrary to what we may believe, it is safe to re-freeze food once it has been thawed in your refrigerator. After cooking raw foods that were frozen, it is completely safe to re-freeze cooked leftovers. If a food item is cooked and then frozen, it is safe to defrost in the refrigerator and use that item and then freeze the leftovers. The quality of the food may not be as good as it once was but it is completely safe according to the USDA.

Don't freeze canned goods or eggs in a shell. Eggs taken out of shell may be frozen in airtight containers but quality will be considerably less than fresh eggs.

Freezing Food

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