If you frequently use your freezer, you may at some point have found your frozen foods appear shriveled, tough, discolored or covered in ice crystals.
You have probably been thinking that your food’s gone bad yet you had taken all the necessary precautions before freezing your food.
- 1 What Is Freezer Burn?
- 2 Causes:
- 3 Identifying Freezer Burn
- 4 How to Prevent Freezer Burn
- 5 Freezing Food Items at the Correct Time
- 6 Wrap the Food Tightly
- 7 Using Extra Wrapping When Planning To Freeze Food Items for Longer
- 8 Place a Cup Of Water In The Freezer
- 9 Freeze Foods for a Shorter Period
- 10 How Long Can I Keep Eggs In The Refrigerator?
- 11 How to Refrigerate Eggs
- 12 Effects of Refrigerating Eggs
- 13 How to Tell If Eggs Have Expired
- 14 How Long Can I Store Raw Chicken In The Refrigerator?
- 15 How Long Does Chicken Last In the Fridge?
- 16 How to Tell If Chicken Has Gone Bad
Good news is that, at that point, your food is still safe for consumption. You can still make a delicious meal for your household. This articles further features the causes and prevention of such a situation.
What Is Freezer Burn?
Freezer burn occurs due to exposure of frozen foods to air.
Freezing foods turns water molecules to ice crystals. That is why you see a hump of ice on the food surface.
This leads to dehydration as water is actively pulled out from the foods. Freezer burns may be harmless, but alters the taste of your food to either tasteless or metallic.
Freezer burns result from loss of moisture in foods leading to dehydration.
Every food contains moisture, which moves to the surface of the food when frozen. The water further moves to the coldest part of the freezer through the process of sublimation.
The longer you store your food in the refrigerator, the higher the chances it has to experience freezer burns.
Identifying Freezer Burn
All foods are susceptible to freezer burns; however, foods with high water content like meat, fish, and poultry will be most affected.
Fish, Meat and Poultry:
These foods will develop dark brown or gray spots due to water loss. Cooking of these foods in this state will alter the texture too tough and dry.
Fruits and Vegetables:
Frozen fruits and vegetables become shriveled and dry. It is also probable that they may have their surface covered with ice crystals. Cooking the vegetables gives them a woody texture.
This involves pasta, grains, baked products and rice. Such foods will develop a rougher texture, and the grains covered in ice crystals. Baked goods become dry and less voluminous.
Ice cream loses its creaminess and gets replaced by ice crystals.
How to Prevent Freezer Burn
All the tips revolve around minimizing exposure of food to the atmosphere:
Freezing Food Items at the Correct Time
Always wait for cooked food to cool before placing it into the freezer bags. If not, it will destroy the bag or form holes on it.
For rapid cooling of the food, dip it in a bowl or sink full of ice. Moreover, it is also key to note that you ought to refrigerate your food as soon as possible to retain freshness.
Leaving food at room temperature for hours and later freezing it may pose a health risk to the consumer.
Wrap the Food Tightly
The first step is to choose the appropriate container or wrapper, which depends on the amount and type of food.
The main aim is to prevent the entry of air. Avoid the use of plastic containers in freezers.
Liquid expands when frozen.
When packing your liquid in a container for refrigeration, leave some room for expansion between the top of the liquid and the lid. If not, you stand the chance of having your container cracked or broken.
For solid foods, you should not leave space at the top for the food items to expand.
If there is plenty of room between the lid and the food, cover the food with aluminum foil before sealing the container.
Freeze Foods in Freezer Bags:
A freezer bag has no air inside and is tightly sealed to minimize exposure of air to the food. This helps decrease ice crystals forming on the surface of food items.
Using Extra Wrapping When Planning To Freeze Food Items for Longer
For foods you intend to freeze for longer, add a wrapper around the initial packaging. For example, you can add aluminum foil on the freezer bags.
Place a Cup Of Water In The Freezer
Having a cup of water in the refrigerator keeps the surrounding air humid. This will prevent dehydration of the foods. Once the cup of water freezes to ice, replace it with another cup of water.
Freeze Foods for a Shorter Period
Freezing your food for long increases the chances of freezer burns. Unless it is necessary, avoid leaving your food in the refrigerator for too long.
How Long Can I Keep Eggs In The Refrigerator?
Most times, we depend on the sell-by date to tell if our products are safe to use.
It is a different narrative when it comes to the eggs. Research shows that you can still eat your eggs past the expiry date as long as they are still fresh. Refrigeration is however one way to make your eggs your last longer.
How to Refrigerate Eggs
Well refrigerated eggs will last for 5-6 weeks.
Refrigerate the eggs while in their original carton and place them on the upper shelf. Do not place the eggs on the refrigerator door due to fluctuating temperature.
Store your eggs at a constant temperature between 21 – 23 degrees Celcius during summertime and between 19 to 21 degrees Celcius during the winter months.
Effects of Refrigerating Eggs
The purpose of refrigerating eggs is to prevent the growth of salmonella bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
Fresh eggs with a fixed cuticle do not require refrigeration if consumed within a week. Eggs that have had their cuticles removed require refrigeration to make it safe for human consumption.
How to Tell If Eggs Have Expired
Plate and Sniff Test:
You can tell if your eggs have expired by using the sense of smell and sight after you break the egg.
Break the egg on a plate. If the egg is fresh, the white part should not spread as much and the yolk should either be bright orange or yellow.
The smell of a rotten egg is too distinct to go unnoticed.
This is how you test if your egg is fresh without having to break it.
Dip the egg in a bowl of cold water. If the egg sinks, it means that it is fresh while floating means that it is not good for use.
How Long Can I Store Raw Chicken In The Refrigerator?
Chicken is a favorite meal in many households and especially during events and special occasions
. However, this delicacy has a high risk of bacterial contamination determined by its storage. Refrigerating your chicken is ideal for keeping it fresh for longer.
The question is after how long in the refrigerator should you not keep your chicken.
How Long Does Chicken Last In the Fridge?
Storing chicken in the refrigerator slows down bacterial growth. Chicken can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 2 days if well stored. As for the cooked chicken, it can stay for about 3-4 days.
To stop juices from leaking and contaminating other food items, put the chicken in a leak-proof container. It should also be in an airtight container to prevent foreign odors and flavors.
To keep your chicken fresh for longer, place it in a freezer.
How to Tell If Chicken Has Gone Bad
Best before Date:
If it is past your chicken’s sell-by date as well as the required days for refrigeration, your chicken has probably gone bad.
Both cooked and raw chicken have ammonia like smell when rotting. However, the scent can be difficult to tell if the chicken is marinated.
Spoilt chicken turns to a gray-green color which is a sign of bacterial growth.
Spoilt chicken has a slimy texture. This is a sign that you throw it in the trash. Rinsing it risks causing cross-contaminating other foods.