Most households have a freezer and if they don’t, it won’t be long before they do, simply because freezers help us to lower the cost of food shopping as well as stock food in bulk. Being able to stock food in bulk is extremely handy when you have a few mouths to feed at home and so a freezer is one of the most valuable assets you could have for this purpose. Despite their obvious usefulness, freezers do have their setbacks every now and then and one of the most annoying, while not expensive is ‘freezer burn.’ What is freezer burn? You will know if your frozen food has freezer burn when:
A: It is dry and brittle in one spot.
B: One part of it is discolored.
C: The odor of the food in the discolored area is unpleasant.
D: The food doesn’t taste as it should, in fact it is downright rotten!
What is Freezer Burn?
Despite its name, freezer burn does not actually involve burning of any sort; the name is simply a reference to the damage one finds upon their food. All foods contain water molecules and once frozen; these molecules migrate to the surface of the food as ice-crystals which is why you often see a thick covering of ice over your food. What can happen, and especially with meat products, is the food can become dehydrated as the water is constantly pulled from within the food. This causes the surface – especially over the coldest part – to become dry and discolored. In no way is freezer-burn harmful to your health; however it is particularly harmful to your taste buds! Freezer burned food can be tasteless and ruin say, a steak that you were planning on having for dinner. Don’t lose hope though because there are ways to prevent freezer burn, which we shall soon come to.
How to Spot Freezer Burn
Freezer burn is fairly easy to spot and the most the obvious sign is the build-up of ice-crystals on the surface of the food. The crystal build up is the water that has been drawn from within the food product and has migrated to the coldest parts of your food. Quite often you will find that freezer burn occurs in patches. This happens because the temperature in freezers is often varied, especially when the freezer is brimming with food. In this case freezer burn will only occur on the coldest patches of the food, making it appear as if it has been contaminated by something, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The easiest type of freezer burn to spot is that which occurs on the surface of meat. Unfortunately, on meat, freezer burn causes a grey discoloration and seems to suck out the entirety of the flavor due to the oxygen molecules seeping into the food.
How to Prevent Freezer Burn
There are a myriad of ways to prevent freezer burn from ruining perfectly good food though so don’t lose hope, if you have been experiencing particularly bad cases of it. Just because your freezer seems to suffer from freezer burn quite frequently, it doesn’t mean your freezer needs repairing or replacing. It is a perfectly normal process and can be reduced drastically.
Here are a number of ways in which you can prevent freezer burn:
1. Keep the freezer door closed as much as possible – As much as you can, try to ensure that your freezer door is closed and not being left open for too long or opened frequently. The temperature within the freezer needs to be kept as constant as possible; otherwise, freezer burn could occur.
2. Keep the temperature as constant as possible – When the air temperature within your freezer fluctuates often, freezer burn is the likely outcome. This is because the difference in temperature between the food and the air around it causes water molecules to form on the coldest part of the food. To keep the temperature as constant as possible follow these steps:
• Place containers of water inside the freezer as this will help to maintain an equal temperature.
• Don’t put hot food into the freezer. You know why!
• Don’t leave the freezer open too long.
3. Package your food tightly – It’s all about the air – when too much air is allowed free roam over the surface of your food, the water molecules within the food are more likely to migrate to the surface and become those dreaded ice crystals that ruin the texture and flavor of your food. Use sealable plastic bags and heavy plastic containers to store your food in. These types of storage reduce the amount of air present within the container and therefore the chance of freezer burn. If you are freezing liquids, and find that there is a significant amount of space between the liquid and the lid, seal the liquid in with tin foil or cling wrap over the top, within the container.
4. Extra Wrapping for longer stored foods – If you plan on storing the food for a little longer than normal, make sure you use a little extra packaging. For instance, if you plan to freeze some soup and are sure they may last a few weeks or months, put an extra layer of tin foil over the existing packaging. This will again, help to prevent any air getting into the container and causing freezer burn.
5. Keep the temperature below 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C) – Freezer burn cannot occur when the temperature of your freezer is below 0 so this is possibly your greatest ally when combatting freezer burn. A freezer thermometer can help you to track the temperature of your freezer at all times so you can avoid freezer burn.
6. Wrap your meat so that there is 0% chance of freezer burn – The packaging you buy your meat in from stores is rarely sufficient for preventing freezer burn and this is why you should remove the meat from within that packaging to start with. Store packaging generally has too much space within it, leaving space for air. Especially if you plan on keeping the meat for a few weeks or longer, say, for Christmas, it is a good idea to wrap your food in cling film tightly, ensuring there are no gaps or weak areas. Double wrap the meat and then seal it inside a sealable bag for the best results. Never rely solely on the packaging from the store you bought the meat in.
If you follow all the aforementioned advice, freezer burn should become a thing of the past. No longer will those steaks you love so much, be ruined by freezer burn or even those chicken drum-sticks that you had forgotten about at the bottom of the freezer.
Looking for a reputed freezer repair specialist? Call Lerman Appliances today at (818) 510-4851 and we’ll send out one of our repairmen the same day to relieve your appliances woes.