How to Prevent Freezer Burn
It is possible to prevent freezer burn. Have you ever had the night time munchies and needed a sweet snack? You remember that half-gallon of ice cream that’s tucked away in your freezer and you prepare to get a scoop or two, only to discover there are ice crystals covering your midnight snack. Talk about a downer! This can be not only a huge letdown, but also a waste of money. While you won’t get sick from eating freezer-burned food, that ice cream has certainly lost its appeal. How do you stop your food from becoming freezer burned? These tips will help ensure that freezer-burned ice cream doesn’t haunt you again.
How Does Freezer Burn Happen?
In order to prevent freezer burn, it’s important to know why it keeps happening. Freezer burn is the result of air coming into contact with the surfaces of food and causes moisture to escape from the food, drying it out. It can even change the colour of your food with greyish-brown spots. There are also a few other reasons why your food might be becoming freezer burned.
While it is technically safe to eat food that has freezer burn, it is not appealing visually or tastewise. Having to throw food away wastes money and it’s always a disappointment to discover freezer burnt food. Therefore, it is best to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Preventing Freezer Burn
Maintain the Right Temperature
Make sure that you have your temperature dial set to the right temperature to make sure that’s not part of the problem. Set the dial to low or cold. Freezers are meant to keep food frozen and under 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Food that reaches temperatures warmer than this are susceptible to freezer burn.
Keep a Full Freezer
You might think that the fuller the freezer, the harder your freezer is having to work to keep your food frozen. That’s actually not true. It works more efficiently when it’s not half-empty. There’s actually less warm air in your freezer when you have it stuffed. Your freezer doesn’t have to work as hard when it’s stuffed to the gills with other frozen foods.
Keeping your freezer more full also lowers the utility bill as your freezer doesn’t take as much energy to keep its contents frozen. This is yet another way that making freezer meals can save your family money.
Maintain Air Flow
While you do want to maintain a full freezer, you don’t want your food blocking the airflow. Make sure there’s space at the top and bottom of your freezer where airflow is not being blocked. This ensures that your freezer works optimally.
Freeze Foods at the Right Time
Don’t make the mistake of putting hot steak or pork chops directly into the freezer for future enjoyment at a later date. Because you won’t be able to enjoy them later. Putting warm or hot food into the freezer is a mistake which can also lead to freezer burn.
Instead, put your food in the refrigerator for an hour or two before moving it to the freezer, allowing it to chill first.
Use the Right Containers and Remove Excess Air
This is the number one thing you can do to prevent freezer burn. It’s important to make sure that you package your food in air-tight containers, and freezer wrap food when you store it in the freezer. Make sure that air is not being left in storage bags. There are some great containers that will do the trick like Ziploc freezer containers and Ziploc freezer storage bags.
Be sure to take out as much excess air as you can before freezing. One tip is to close a freezer bag almost all the way and then insert a straw in the tiny opening left and suck out the air before fully sealing. Vacuum sealing is another way to ensure there isn’t much air in there.
If something needs to be in a casserole type dish, place plastic wrap directly on top of the food and then place a lid or aluminum foil on top of the dish. This helps keep extra air away from the food.
Freeze Appropriate Portions
It’s also important to freeze your food in appropriate meal portions. This way, you’re not pulling out an entire batch of something, only to put it back in the freezer. Repeated exposure to air will cause freezer burns too. Make smaller batches by separating them into smaller containers or bags.
Don’t Open the Freezer Door So Often
This is another tip to keep in mind. Every time you open the freezer door, you’re allowing warm air in, increasing the possibility of freezer-burned food. Do your best to keep the freezer door shut as much as possible.
Our new freezer has an alarm that sounds when the door is kept open too long or when one of our kids accidentally don’t shut it all the way. That’s been a handy feature.
Don’t Keep Food In the Freezer Too Long
While putting food in the freezer may extend the life of your favourite slab of meat, that doesn’t mean that it will last forever. Uncooked frozen meat such as steak, roasts, and pork chops should remain in your freezer for no more than a year.
Ground meat, no more than 4 months, while frozen cooked meats, only 3 months. In general, freezer meals can be stored for 3-6 months.
Put dates on the container or freezer bags to help you stay on top of how long certain food has been in your freezer. You can print off our Freezer Meal Inventory sheet and keep it in the door of your freezer to help you keep track.
I suggest that you keep it in a plastic sheet protector and use a dry erase marker to mark off which of your freezer meals you’ve used. This also helps you to be able to see at a glance what you have left.
If you’re wanting to freeze your vegetables, a great way of doing this is by boiling them for 30 seconds. Then put them directly into an ice bath before putting them into the freezer. You should be able to put them in a resealable freezer bag where they will be safe for up to 6 to 8 months.
These are a few methods you can use to keep your foods from becoming freezer burned. Have you ever had expensive meat or food products tampered with by freezer burn, costing you a lot of money? What other ways have you discovered to prevent freezer burn on your food?
These tips will also help:
What Freezes Well (and What Doesn’t)
What You Need to Know to Make Freezer Meals