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Freezer Techniques and Safety


 

Freezer Techniques and Safety              


Freezing extends the life of food, but not forever and not under all conditions. Freezing food brings bacteria to a standstill, but does not kill it, chemical activity continues but at a much slower rate.

Freezer burn is the reaction of meat to the formation of ice crystals and leaves the meat dry and stringy. Additionally, the fat in meat continues to oxidize and eventually becomes rancid. Under perfect freezing conditions fish, poultry, and pork will hold for two months while beef will last a year.

Commercial food processors use blast freezers that reach temperatures of minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit very rapidly. This minimizes oxidation and the chance of freezer burn. When operating properly, however, home freezers are designed to keep food at 0 degrees. Raw meat will take hours to freeze at this temperature, instead of minutes, creating conditions for freezer burn.

You can help the situation by wrapping food properly. Use re-sealable plastic bags especially designed for the freezer, but make sure you squeeze out the air. Or, you can tightly wrap food twice in plastic and then wrap it in aluminum. Be sure to label and date it. Remember, if food is just about to spoil it can't be saved by freezing.

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