Freezing food is a perfect way to cut your grocery bill. Freezing food allows you to buy in bulk–which can often be cheaper–cuts your carbon footprint, and will enable you to meal prep with ease. If you’re not freezing your food correctly though, then it risks getting freezer burned and becoming inedible, which wastes all your effort.
Freezer burn is caused by moisture in the outer layers of your food evaporating. This leaves behind dry pockets in the food’s tissue. When you’re freeze-drying food, this is something that is done intentionally and at a faster pace, but for regular frozen food, this chemical reaction spells disaster.
While freezer burn doesn’t make food dangerous to eat, it does make it unpleasant. Freezer burn affects texture and taste, which makes food pretty gross to consume. Once freezer burn sets in, there’s no way to reverse it, so the rule is to prevent it.
To prevent freezer burn, follow these five steps:
Make sure your freezer is working right
One of the leading causes of freezer burn is temperature fluctuation. If your freezer isn’t functioning correctly or the seals on your fridge are starting to fail, then it’s certain that your food will suffer from freezer burn. Test your freezer’s health by putting a dime on top of an ice cube in the freezer. If, over time, you notice the dime is now in the cube, as opposed to on top of it, call an appliance repair service to check out your freezer.
Chill your foods before freezing them
Putting warm or room temperature food in the freezer may cause the surrounding temperature to increase, causing further evaporation and moisture loss in food, which causes freezer burn. To prevent this, pre-chill your foods in the fridge to make them ready for freezing.
Keep air away from them
One of the best ways to prevent freezer burn is to keep air away from the food. Using an air sealer to remove all the air from the food and sealing it in plastic will mean that there is no chance for moisture evaporation. Air sealers for food are affordable and will keep your food in perfect condition.
Freeze food in small quantities
Attempting to freeze large amounts of food can increase the temperature of the freezer, which causes freezer burn due to moisture loss. To help prevent this, keep the amount of food you’re freezing at once to less than three pounds. This doesn’t apply if you’re adding already frozen food to the freezer, like a large bag of frozen fruit or chunk of frozen meat, since the freezer doesn’t have to work to equalize the temperature.
Keep your freezer full
While a mostly empty freezer may look tidy, it doesn’t help with preventing freezer burn. Ideally, keeping your freezer 75% full is the best way to keep your food from getting freezer burnt. This is because a mostly full freezer helps keep the temperature stable. However, don’t overstuff your freezer. This restricts ventilation and may cause the freezer temperature to be inconsistent.