One of the methods to preserve food in the longer term is freezing. By applying low temperatures it is possible to stop the decomposition caused by bacteria and enzymes while maintaining their conditions for consumption. In this article, we will detail some tips to know how to store food in freezer properly.
Due to the accelerated pace of current life and the characteristics of our society, the consumption of frozen products continues to increase and is increasingly common in a large number of households. This increase can be due to several reasons: the comfort of this type of food products, the time saving, the economic advantages, etc.
The frozen food industry manages to offer better prices because they are supplied with raw materials during periods of high production and offer sharp price decreases. This has as a result that sometimes cheaper prices are offered to the final consumer for freezing than for the same fresh food.
With technological and industrial advances, freezing methods are increasingly advanced, managing to maintain the majority of the organoleptic characteristics and nutritional properties of the product. It is achieved that the nutritional value of the food is not reduced nor are the characteristics of flavor, color, texture, and smell impaired.
Tips to know how to store food in freezer properly
- We must freeze the products quickly and at a very low temperature to prevent the formation of large ice crystals that, when thawed, will alter the structure and characteristics of the food.
- Rapid freezing should occur at temperatures between 25ºC and 30ºC below zero. On the other hand, for the preservation of products previously frozen, the ideal temperature will be 18ºC below zero.
- Foods that are to be frozen should be fresh and of good quality. Avoiding as much as possible those who have spent several days in the refrigerator.
- As in the case of refrigerated foods, raw foods should be separated from those that have been cooked.
- It is recommended to freeze in portions, using packaging to separate the rations. This in addition to being an economic saving has an ecological benefit since it prevents the waste of food.
- If we are going to freeze already cooked dishes, we should wait for them to cool before putting them in the freezer.
- They are recommended plastic containers for food or glass suitable for freezing that have a lid. Plastic bags suitable for freezing are also useful.
- It is convenient to leave an empty space in the containers, especially if we freeze liquids that will expand during the freezing process. This way, we will avoid spills and possible breakages of the container itself.
- A product that has been previously thawed should not be refrozen.
- It is highly advisable to use the “first in, first out” method (FIFO or FIFO system) for which it will be essential to record the freezing date. Using this tip on how to store food in freezer correctly, food that has been frozen previously will be consumed first, preventing it from being forgotten in the freezer.
How to defrost foods correctly
- Defrosting should be done slowly and cold. It must be produced in the refrigerator, never at room temperature.
- Avoid contact between the products in thawing and the others that are stored in the refrigerator at the same time. It is essential to prevent any possible cross-contamination that could lead to food poisoning.
- Place the product that we are going to defrost in a container to avoid dripping on other foods that we have in the fridge. It is also recommended to use a grid to separate the product itself from the liquid produced when it is thawed.
- A thawed product should be consumed in a period less than 24 hours.
- Those products not requiring prior defrosting (such as vegetables or cooked dishes) can be prepared directly or cook without thawing following the instructions or techniques provided by the manufacturer on the package itself.
Can frozen food be re-frozen?
No. We should not freeze foods that have been thawed for health and taste reasons.
For health reasons, we must know how to store food in freezer properly. When thawing the food inside the freezer, microorganisms will have been activated again and their maturation and decomposition will start again. The thawed food is spoiled before the newly purchased food, so if we refreeze it, the germs will multiply and in the second thawing the deterioration process will be very fast.
For reasons of taste, because when we thaw the product can lose some of its characteristics related to textures, colors, and flavors. So if we repeat the process to refreeze the product, it will lose even more qualities and nutritional properties.
As an exception, if the thawed product is a fresh food it can be re-frozen after cooking since in this case, the cooking will eliminate the microorganisms and bacteria responsible for its decomposition.
Know how to store food in freezer and what foods can be frozen?
It is the most frequent type of food among frozen products. This conservation system is discouraged for vegetables that are eaten raw, such as salads.
It is advisable to freeze it if then we will use it to prepare shakes, juices, ice cream or desserts. To do this, we must previously wash, peel and chop the fruit before freezing it.
Meat and its derivatives usually tolerate freezing well. It should be cleaned before, never washed. Fats are break down more quickly than the rest of the meat so it is advisable to remove visible pieces of fat.
It is recommended to freeze only very fresh product. We must wash it, remove the viscera and before putting it in the freezer dry it very well to remove the water.
It is usually recommended to freeze sliced and in a bag.
We can also use this type of cold storage for nuts and even aromatic herbs, as well as some useful preparations for cooking: broths, dough, juices, butter…
Among the stews and dishes cooked at home, it is not advisable to freeze those that carry potatoes, fried ones and those that incorporate emulsified sauces, cream or flour in their recipe. Pasta and cooked rice can be frozen, although they will lose texture during thawing.
Organization and Order to freeze food properly
As a last tip to be highlighted, useful both for food handlers working in professional kitchens and for those people responsible for cooking at home, it is advisable to keep the freezer well organized with the products labeled with their freezing date. A good organization will optimize the resources we need when using this conservation system.
If you want to make any recommendation on how to store food in freezer, propose some advice or tell us the steps you follow when you freeze your dishes, we encourage you to leave us your comment below. And remember that if you found it interesting, you can share this article on your social networks.
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