Vegetables in the freezer

The DOs and DONTs of freezing food

In *All, Food Safety, Nutrition & Health by Ag is America

It’s National Nutrition Month, a time to reflect on what we eat and how it promotes our well-being. With that in mind, we wanted to make sure you are storing any extra food correctly to preserve all the vitamins, maintain flavor, and also reduce food waste. Freezing is the most common, easiest and most economic way to preserve food, so let’s have a look at some DO’s and DON’Ts:

Table of DOs and DON'TS of freezing food by Agriculture Is America.
Table 1: If you are freezing food often, check this table to see if you are doing it well.

DO

  1. Freeze food as quickly as you can to prevent microbial growth.
  2. Make sure your freezer temperature is below 0 degrees F, to prevent the growth of spoilage organisms and to minimize changes in flavor, texture and nutrition value of food.
  3. “Blanch” your vegetables: immediately after you finish boiling or steaming them, cool the vegetables down in ice water to prevent further cooking. That’s how you get the best quality from your frozen vegetables while destroying microorganisms on their surfaces.
  4. Use vacuum-sealers on meat, fish and poultry to prevent rancidity. You can also trim excess fat from meat.
  5. Place packages in contact with refrigerated surfaces in the coldest part of the freezer. Leave a little space between packages so that air can circulate freely.
  6. Label and date your foods: different foods will last for different amounts of time in the freezer. Check the following table for more information: bit.ly/freezingtimestable
  7. Use the right containers: Proper packaging material protects the flavor, color, moisture content and nutritive value of frozen foods from the dry climate of the freezer.

DON’T

  1. Freeze vegetables that have a high water content: while nutrients may not be affected, the food texture is more likely to change.
  2. Overload your freezer with too much unfrozen food at once: Overloading results in a long, slow freeze and a poor-quality result. Only add 2 to 3 pounds of food per cubic foot of freezer space every 24 hours.
  3. Refreeze food: Certain food should not be refrozen at all, and in any case, each thawing and refreezing causes damage to the cells in the food, making it less palatable and less nutritious.
  4. Season foods that are going to be frozen: It’s better to add seasoning after defrosting them.

For more information, visit bit.ly/MUfreezing and happy freezing!

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