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Learn how to forestall freezer burn and what to do with meals affected by it


Folks from all walks of life — meals writers, cooks and perhaps your mother — warn of freezer burn, the boogeyman lurking in our kitchens ready to snatch our valuable frozen meals. However what’s freezer burn, and the way can we cease it? And if it does latch on to a bag of hen breasts or a loaf of bread, is all misplaced?

Right here’s what it is advisable know.

“The moisture-carrying capability of air decreases with temperature,” stated Rohan Tikekar, an affiliate professor of meals science on the College of Maryland. In different phrases, chilly air is drier than heat air, whereas meals comprises a comparatively great amount of water. Due to this differential in moisture content material, the chilly air in your freezer desires to suck the water out of the meals saved inside it, which occurs by way of a course of known as sublimation.

“Throughout freezer storage, the situations, notably the temperatures, are such that water can sublimate straight from a stable state to a gaseous state that utterly skips the [liquid] state,” Tikekar stated. (This explains why ice cubes shrink in the event that they keep within the tray for too lengthy.)

A method this could manifest is the ice crystals that kind on the floor of meals, equivalent to a loaf of bread or that half-eaten pint of ice cream. One other sign is that sure meals, notably meat, can look shriveled and leathery as they dry out.

The large chill: A information to utilizing your freezer

Lack of moisture clearly signifies that produce and meat gained’t be as juicy. One other potential byproduct is a lack of mobile integrity, which may trigger much more water inside the meals to ooze out when it’s thawed. For meats particularly, dehydration may cause proteins to denature, making them much less tender when they’re cooked.

The answer to freezer-burned meals is straightforward: “If meals does undergo from freezer burn, reduce off the affected areas — earlier than or after cooking — and use the remainder of the meals,” employees author Becky Krystal wrote in a information to utilizing your freezer.

You may as well work to cease freezer burn from occurring within the first place.

“The water has to flee the packaging for it to turn into a difficulty,” Tikekar stated. “So if you happen to select a packaging [that] is tougher or [that] doesn’t enable for the water vapor to go by way of the container, you’ll have a greater likelihood of not having freezer burn.”

7 meals try to be storing within the freezer, together with yeast, nuts and peppers

Glass storage containers are a terrific possibility. When you select plastic zip-top luggage, make certain to make use of ones supposed for the freezer as they’re thicker than common luggage and thus higher at sealing in moisture. With luggage specifically, you wish to push out as a lot air as potential to attenuate publicity to that chilly, dry freezer air. (Vacuum-seal luggage are constructed for freezing if in case you have the gear.) And with any container, you desire a tight seal, so on freezer luggage, make certain the zipper is closed end-to-end.

Whereas meals that’s repeatedly frozen stays protected for consumption nearly indefinitely, in accordance with the Meals and Drug Administration, your eagerness to eat it’s a totally different story.

“Freezer burn just isn’t a microbiological problem. It’s not a meals security problem,” Tikekar stated. “It’s positively, purely a meals high quality problem.”

This is the reason there are advised limits for the way lengthy to retailer varied meals within the freezer; with sure objects, after just a few months or as much as a 12 months within the deep freeze, the standard of the meals could also be previous your level of palatability.

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