Nancy Nelson

Nancy Nelson

Most fresh garden produce can be easily frozen to be enjoyed later. Freezing food is an easy, inexpensive method to preserve food. It takes minimal investment in equipment and time.

Most produce can be frozen for 8-12 months for best quality. Label and date packages of food so you know how long they have been in the freezer. How food is packaged will affect the quality of frozen goods. There are many types of plastic containers, but not all of them are suitable for freezing food. Look for containers that are designated for the freezer. Reusing cheese or butter containers may be frugal, but those types of plastic containers can crack easily when frozen. Another good piece of advice: Don’t cram the freezer with food. Freeze food in batches so that the freezer does not get overloaded. If the freezer is overloaded with warm food, it can take longer for food to freeze. Space out the packages so that cold air circulates around them.

A refrigerator should be held between 34-40 degrees Fahrenheit and a freezer should be below 0 F. Regularly clean the appliance to reduce food odors and clean up damaged packages.

Care should be taken to prevent freezer burn when storing food. It is characterized by dry, grayish/brown spots on the food’s surface. While not harmful, it’s not very appetizing. The condition is most notable on frozen meats.

Freezer burn happens when food is not adequately wrapped to remove oxygen, which has a bleaching effect on the food surface. It results in poor texture, color, flavor and aroma.

To prevent freezer burn, package food tightly in packaging designed for freezing. Remove as much air as possible and maintain a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to freeze food quickly.

If using freezer containers, crumple a piece of wax paper on top of the food to help minimize headspace. This helps prevent freezer burn, ice crystal formation, and keeps food pieces from drying out.

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