Etiket Arşivleri: Freezing

The Basics of Freezers and Freezing Food

The Basics of Freezers and Freezing Food

IS A FREEZER A LUXURY – Freezing versus Canning

Freezing

• Easy and fast

• Holds color, flavor and nutrients

• Suited to more foods than canning

• Safe and convenient

• Cost of freezer is an initial high cost, plus electricity to run
• Cost of materials for freezing food can be low especially plastic zip-loc are used versus rigid containers

• No additives required

• Freeze leftovers, extra baked goods, casseroles

• Take advantage of meat and vegetable specials and bulk buying, resulting in considerable cost saving

• Wild game storage (eg. ducks, geese, deer, caribou, moose, elk) are hunted in the fall. Freezing of this ensures a food supply for the rest of the year. Same goes for wild berries

Canning

• More technical knowledge

• Takes time

• Discoloration, alteration in flavor and nutrients can be lost if canning liquids not utilized in soups and or gravy

• Manitobans like our dill pickles and canned tomatoes, jellies and relishes

• Can be unsafe if proper processing/canning procedures aren’t followed

• Cost of initial canning equipment is costly, especially pressure cooker, but last a long time
• Jars and lids have to be replaced

• Canned goods require salt and/or sugar, vinegar which is especially important to avoid for individuals on special diets

• Not possible with canning

• Limited to mainly vegetables

• Meat would have to be pressure cooked and therefore is not usually recommended

Freezers can be very cost-saving as it allows bulk and special sales buying. Ensures storage of extra food to
maintain food source during storm days. Canned goods are costly to ship as you are paying for tin and liquid the product is stored in. Frozen products are usually just in light weight plastic type bags or containers. Store bought or home preserved frozen or canned produce are preserved using prime quality produce. A problem with buying fresh produce especially in northern communities is that the quality has deteriorated with long distance shipping. Just a few days in transit causes “fresh” produce to lose significant amounts of all important nutrients. What this means, is that frozen vegetables can be superior (especially in winter) to many of the fresh produce we buy as well as a great cost saving. Good comparisons are broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and strawberries.

Freezing Prepared Foods

Freezing Prepared Foods

Foods for packed lunches or elaborate dinners can be kept in your freezer ready for busy days, parties or unexpected company. By planning a steady flow of casseroles, main dishes, baked goods and desserts in and out of your freezer, you can make good use of your freezer and good use of your time.

ADVANTAGES OF FREEZING PREPARED FOODS

• You prepare food at your convenience.

• Your oven is used more efficiently by baking more than one dish at a time.

• You avoid waste by freezing leftovers and using them as “planned overs.”

• Special diet foods and baby foods can be prepared in quantity and frozen in single portions.

• You save time by doubling or tripling recipes and freezing the extra food.

• If you cook for one or two, individual portions of an ordinary recipe can be frozen for later use.

ON THE OTHER HAND . . .

• Freezing is expensive when you add up the cost of packaging, of energy use and of the freezer itself.

• More energy is used in cooking, freezing and reheating than in cooking from scratch and serving immediately.

• Prepared foods have a relatively short storage life in the freezer compared to the individual ingredients like frozen fruits, vegetables and meat.

• Unless you have a microwave oven to dedicate to thawing during meal preparation, you must allow plenty of time for thawing in the refrigerator.

• Some products do not freeze well. Others do not justify the labor and expense of freezing.

PREPARING TO FREEZE

If you are not sure about how a prepared food freezes, try freezing just a small portion the first time and checking to see if the quality is acceptable in 1 to 2 months or more. Foods to be frozen should be slightly undercooked if they are to be reheated after freezing. Foods should be cooled quickly for safety and freshness. Keeping foods at room temperature for several hours before freezing increases chances of spoilage and foodborne illness. Flavor, color, texture and nutrient content are likely to deteriorate also.
To speed cooling, put the pan containing hot prepared dishes—main dishes, sauces, etc.—in another pan or sink of ice water. This is especially important when preparing large amounts of food. Keep the water cold by changing it frequently or run cold water around the pan of food. When cool, package and freeze immediately. (Note: Do not place hot glass or ceramic dishes in ice water—they may break.)

PACKAGING

Pack foods in amounts you will use at one time. Once food is thawed, it spoils more quickly than when fresh. Use moisture-vapor resistant packaging. Air shortens shelf life and affects food color, flavor and texture in
undesirable ways. If you have empty space in a plastic freezer carton or other rigid container, fill it with crumpled freezer paper. Be sure to label each package with the name of the food and the date. For packaging foods, coated or laminated freezer papers, plastic wraps or bags and heavy-duty aluminum foil are good. If lightweight freezer bags are used, protect them by placing them inside rigid containers. Rigid containers that can be used for freezing foods include plastic cartons or glass jars designed for canning and freezing. Wide-mouth jars are best for freezing because their contents are easier to remove before complete thawing takes place.

Some household food containers are not suitable for freezing. The cartons that come with milk, cottage cheese, yogurt, margarine, and many other refrigerated foods are not moisture-vapor resistant enough for freezing and do not produce seals airtight enough for freezing. Narrow mouth jars can break at the neck from the pressure of
food expanding. Jars not manufactured for extreme temperature changes can break easily also. Do not reuse plastic containers and trays that come with microwavable entrées.

FREEZER STORAGE

Freeze prepared foods at 0°F or below. For quickest freezing, place the packages against the refrigerated surfaces of the freezer. Spread the warm packages out around the freezer. After the food is frozen, rearrange the packages and store frozen foods close together. Freeze only the amount of food that will freeze within 24 hours. This is usually two to three pounds of food per cubic foot of freezer space. It is a good idea to post a list of the frozen foods with freezing dates near the freezer and check the packages off the list as they are removed.

Other sources of information may list different storage times. Foods stored at 0°F longer than the storage
times listed here should be safe but may be of less acceptable quality. Foods listed in the sections below as “problem foods” are not recommended for freezing. For efficiency and a better-tasting product, these “problem foods” should be eaten soon after preparation.

Refrigeration and Freezing Technology

REFRIGERATION AND FREEZING TECHNOLOGY

INTRODUCTION

If animals were slaughtered and consumed almost immediately, there would be no need for any form of preservation. Indeed, consumption almost immediately after slaughter remains common in some parts of the world. In practice, however, meat that is not preserved in some way will quickly deteriorate in quality and safety to the point where it is both unpalatable and dangerous to consume. Thus, most meat that is produced is subsequently preserved in one way or another.

Historically, meat has been preserved in a variety of ways, with the most common methods being: drying, curing, smoking, heat processing, fermentation, irradiation, canning, packaging and refrigeration. Of all these alternatives, refrigeration has the key benefit (along with irradiation, to some extent) that it leaves the form of the meat product almost unchanged and (when carried out appropriately) almost indistinguishable from the original fresh product.

In comparison, most other preservation methods can be seen more as ways to change meat into different products that have longer storage lives rather than as genuine methods of preservation. Unlike any of the other preservation technologies, refrigeration is effective in reducing deterioration due to chemical reactions (fat oxidation, for instance) as well as deterioration due to the growth of microorganisms.

Refrigeration is often described as the process of removing heat from an object but, since energy is conserved (i.e. cannot be destroyed or created), it would be more accurate to say that refrigeration is the process of transferring heat from one object to another. Heat flows naturally from hotter objects to colder objects and no mechanism is required to achieve this. With the use of a refrigeration system, however, the object from which heat is removed can be colder than the object to which the heat is added. At the same time that heat is transferred, masses of material are usually moved around by the refrigeration system. These can include air or liquid in which the heat is carried from the food product to the air or liquid cooler, water vapour and other gases carried in air, and the primary and secondary refrigerants in the refrigeration system itself.