Freezing is a natural way of preserving food that locks in nutrients and vitamins. There are guidelines to ensure that your frozen foods last longer and stay fresh through safe storage, defrosting and cooking.
Did you know?
Freezing retards the growth of microorganisms and enzymes that cause food spoilage. For best flavor and texture, home-frozen foods should be used within 6 to 9 months. Storage does not improve the quality of any food. The quality of a food will also not decrease significantly during storage as long as the food is stored properly and used within the recommended time frame.
Your home freezer does not freeze foods quickly enough to minimize cell damage in foods because it does not get foods to freezing temperature quickly enough. Frozen foods and frozen meals from the supermarkets have been professionally and quickly flash frozen and so they retain their vitamins and nutrients, texture and colours as a result – the goodness is ‘locked in’.
If you’re freezing food for a short time, plastic bags or wrap are adequate. Wrap foods airtight to decrease the chance of “freezer burn,” which occurs when air meets frozen food. Freezer burn is not harmful but adversely affects the food’s texture and color.
For longer periods, use special wrappings such as heavy-duty aluminum foil, special plastic freezer bags, or freezer wrap. You can also use heavy-duty plastic containers or jars, but never put glass containers in the freezer; the extreme temperatures may cause the glass to break.
Remember to leave head space in jars or containers because foods expand during freezing. In all cases, packages should be secure, airtight, and clearly labeled with contents and date.
The graphics suggest ways in handling food for freezing from preparation, packing, freezing point to thawing. Click the images to enlarge.
– Top tips on freezing food
– Frozen Food Storing, Defrosting & Cooking Advice
– The Golden Rules of Freezing Meals
– Guide to Freezing Food
– Shelf Life of Food – Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Chart