Don’t put hot food into the freezer
It seems like the list of freezing rules goes on and on. You might have reached this point and started to think whether any of this is even worth it. Maybe you should rather go ahead and freeze what you want and when you want and roll the dice when it comes to food integrity and bacteria. In all fairness, this could be an option. The chances of anyone dying from a freezer mistake are pretty slim. But, it is possible, and if you make these rules a habit, then any mishaps can be very easily avoided.
With this in mind, you should not be putting hot food into the freezer. This doesn’t have much to do with the hot food itself. Rather, it has to do with the freezer. Even if you are only putting a small bowl of hot food into it, the result could be increasing the internal temperature of the icebox. This may not seem like an issue, but if this change is significant enough, then some of the food in the freezer could start defrosting. This is not entirely desirable and can easily be avoided if you let food cool down before freezing it.
Freezers work to stop time
The wonderful thing about freezers is that they almost can stop time. This is not meant literally. But it is kind of true when you are looking at the lifespan of the food that is being frozen. A freezer doesn’t simply slow down the degradation process; it almost stops it altogether. If you put something in the freezer that is a day old and then freezes it for two weeks, when it is defrosted again, it is still a day early. This is where the magic lies. This is where the beauty lies.
But, this logic does have consequences. This being that food will only be as good as it was when it was frozen. You cannot expect it to come out better than it was. It will come out in almost the same way, and that is that. The real-world implication of this is that you should freeze food as soon as possible. Food should not be left in the pot for a day or two and then frozen. It should be frozen as quickly as it cools down.
Things grow in the freezer
Freezers can preserve food, but this does not mean that is isn’t subject to change once it has gone in the freezer. This has nothing to do with bacteria or the food itself. Instead, this is referring to the water in the food. When looking at the molecules in water, there is quite a lot of change that takes place when they go from a liquid state to a solid state. In layman’s terms, something is interesting that happens to water when it freezes.
What happens is that the molecules rearrange and from an excellent structure. This structure is what makes ice hard, and it surprisingly takes up more space than the liquid structure does. It has something to do with the rigidity and the shape of the structure. Regardless of the chemistry and physics that are involved, the result is that ice takes up more space than water. In food, this means that a meal can expand when it begins to freeze. The reason why this is important is that you need to account for this expansion. You should not fill containers up to the top and should make sure that there is enough space for the bulging that is going to happen.
Freeze small portions of food
At multiple places on this list, there has been a sentence or two, at times even three, that hark on about how important labeling is. This point will not stress this more than is needed. But, what do you do if you are not that good at labeling? What happens if your appetite changes and what was two portions yesterday is only one portion today? Are you left to suffer without being able to use a freezer or is there another option available? Well, there is another option. This is cooking; there is no cut and dry rule. Excuse the pun.
If you are not that great in labeling then simple freeze smaller portions. This way you can take out portions as you need them and don’t run the risk of taking out too much that would need to be refrozen. There is another benefit of freezing small portions and that being that they not only freeze quicker but they are also quicker to defrost. This makes for nutritious meals that can be prepared in about an hour as opposed to having to wait the whole day to enjoy that dish from last week.
If you don’t like the taste of it today, then don’t bother
People could go on and on about what you can freeze and what you can’t freeze. They can tell you how to freeze things and how to thaw them. They will also carry on about how freezing will help you reduce the amount of food that will go to waste. These are all very valid points. The freezer can be a great help to even the most experienced of chefs. It is also very admirable to try and reduce the amount of food that goes to waste in a household. There are people out there who would love to eat the food that is being thrown away by many families.
But, you really shouldn’t be freezing food that you don’t want to eat. Maybe it didn’t taste great or possibly you are just not feeling it. Now, this could change in a weeks’ time but it probably won’t. If this is the case, then you are better off handing it over to someone else. There is no use in freezing things that you are just not going to eat. Give it away on your way to work and let it go.
Refreezing previously raw food
No, you should certainly not refreeze food that has already been defrosted. But, there is a small loophole here. It is not a loophole, once it has been stated you will see that it is pretty obvious. Firstly, the reason why you cannot refreeze food that has been thawed is that this allows bacteria to come back to life and grow. Then if you go ahead and freeze it, then the cycle is just being compounded meaning that when you eventually do eat it, there will be a whole lot of bacteria thriving in it.
But, what happens if the food was raw and then you cooked it. This mostly applies to meat, chicken, and fish. These foods are generally bought fresh and then tossed in the freezer raw. Which is completely okay. Then they are taken out and thawed. Another thing which is fine. What is not fine is refreezing this raw food. What you can do, however, is to cook the food and then refreeze it. The cooking process will kill any bacteria, therefore, making it safe to be tossed in the freezer again. It is unclear as to who would freeze a cooked steak, but it is possible if you are that way inclined.
Keep the freezer full
The reason why all the food in the freezer is all frozen to the same degree, regardless of where it has been placed is that of how a freezer was made to run. The internal mechanism ensures that cool air circulates around the entire freezing which results in all the food being frozen. With this in mind, it makes sense that the more space there is in the freezer, the more air needs to be circulated. Considering that freezers run on electricity, more air means more electricity means a larger electricity bill and finally less money left for you to enjoy yourself.
One way to keep the power bill down is to make sure that the freezer is full. This might sound counterproductive. Wouldn’t more food mean that you need more energy to freeze it? Actually no, more food means less space. Less space means that less air is required. The conclusion of all of this being that it is best to keep the freezer full if you want to save on electricity. This doesn’t need to happen all the time, but it should be a general rule.
What happens when there is no power?
On our very last point, let us consider for a second that you have followed all the rules. You have labeled everything correctly. You have all the right containers, and you have not frozen dairy products. You have even gone and made sure that you froze things correctly and observed the rules when it comes to thawing. You are a veritable freezer genius, and then the power goes out. You are not entirely sure when it happened but you know it is out. Lights may be the first of your worries, but at some point, you think about the fridge.
All your effort, all your time and all your money are about to melt into a puddle on the kitchen floor. Yes, this is entirely possible. But, do not panic just yet. Whatever you do, do not open the freezer to check. This will do nothing but let the cold air escape. It is called an icebox for a reason. It is designed to keep cool air in. Even if the power has gone out, you do technically have a couple of hours before you are in any trouble. Wait it out until the power comes back on to check what is going on in there.