Frozen food safety

Make sure to get the most out of freezer goods

The Covington News - - Showcase Of Homes -

Frozen foods and pre­vi­ously fresh foods that have been frozen for stor­age present a dis­tinct ad­van­tage for peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly the con­ve­nience of hav­ing meals on de­mand. But many peo­ple are un­sure of the safety of freez­ing, how to do it prop­erly to pro­tect fla­vor and fresh­ness of an item, and what is the shelf life of a frozen food.

What can be frozen?

Ba­si­cally any food, ex­cept for canned goods and eggs in shells, can be frozen. An­other ex­cep­tion is any prod­uct that does not rec­om­mend freez­ing as stated on its pack­ag­ing. While you can freeze just about any­thing, the tex­ture and the re­sults upon de­frost­ing the food may not be what you de­sire. Some foods just don’t freeze well, such as cream sauces, soft cheeses, let­tuce, etc.

How does it work?

Freez­ing keeps food safe by slow­ing the move­ment of mol­e­cules, present. Mi­croogan­isms that can cause both food spoilage and food­borne ill­ness ac­tu­ally en­ter a dor­mant stage dur­ing freez­ing. Freez­ing will pre­serve food, but it will not de­stroy any micro­organ­isms present. Once the food is thawed, th­ese bac­te­ria, yeasts and mold will be­come ac­tive once again. Han­dle thawed foods as you would per­ish­able foods. It’s im­por­tant to note that thor­ough cook­ing is the only safe way to de­stroy food­borne or­gan­isms.

Pack­ag­ing foods

Meats pur­chased at the store can be frozen in their su­per­mar­ket pack­ag­ing, but the pack­ages are per­me­able — let­ting in air. Air is what dries out food and con­trib­utes to freezer burn. Freezer burn is not harm­ful but can af­fect the fla­vor and tex­ture of foods once thawed. Air­tight foil wrap­ping, con­tain­ers and freezer bags should be used for long-term frozen food stor­age.

Shelf life

Frozen foods can re­main safe to eat in­def­i­nitely. The only thing long-term freez­ing may con­trib­ute to is a com­pro­mise of taste, color or tex­ture — es­pe­cially if the food is im­prop­erly wrapped. Here are some guide­lines for food stor­age for op­ti­mum taste: Casseroles: 2 to 3 months Hot Dogs: 1 to 2 months Meat, un­cooked roasts and steaks: 4 to 12 months

Meat, un­cooked ground: to 4 months

Poul­try, un­cooked whole: 12 months

Poul­try, un­cooked parts: months

Soups and stews: months

3

9

2 to 3

Safe de­frost­ing

Freez­ing and de­frost­ing go hand in hand where food is con­cerned. It’s im­por­tant to fol­low safe de­frost­ing pro­ce­dures to en­sure food­borne ill­nesses don’t oc­cur.

The best places to de­frost food are in the re­frig­er­a­tor or in a bowl of cold wa­ter/cold run­ning wa­ter. Do not de­frost food on a coun­ter­top.

Many mi­crowave oven mod­els also have de­frost set­ting, al­low­ing you to de­frost foods quickly.

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