Spring has sprung a little early in Austin, Texas! We’re getting ready to stock our fridge with some delicious grass fed goodness, but first we need to make some room!
Freezing is one of the best ways to preserve your favorite foods. It locks in nutrients, slows down the growth of funky germs and microorganisms and can be very handy when you need a quick meal. Here are a couple things to keep in mind when deciding what to throw away:
What Do We Throw Out?
Keep an eye out for these tell-tale sides of spoiled frozen food:
BIG ice crystals: formation of small ice crystals is totally normal, in fact, it’s better for food! However, once you see large crystals overtaking the food, it’s time to depart with the product.
Freezer burn: A great way to escape freezer burn is to avoid thawing and refreezing food numerous times. This will cause food to lose moisture and dry out quickly. If you see this happening you can cut off the affected area, but err on the side of caution.
Temperature: This is a big one! If you’ve recently experienced a power outage or a scenario in which your freezer’s temperature has dramatically fluctuated, you’ll see an uptick in the size of ice crystals. Remember, little ones are good and natural, BIG ice crystals will compromise the product and result in mushy food.
Microorganisms: According to the site Supermarket Guru, “Growth is stopped when food is frozen, but microorganisms are not destroyed. When food is thawed, they become active again and multiply; food must be cooked through to be safe.”
Air: Another wise tip from Supermarket Guru: “Oxygen may cause flavor and color changes if the food is improperly packaged. Many foods change color when frozen due to lack of oxygen or especially long storage. For example, red meat can turn brown but it is still safe to eat.”
How did you wrap the food? When you freeze your favorite pasta dish you want to make sure that you are using something durable and leak proof. It’s a good idea to leave a little wiggle room with containers filled with liquid, as soups can and will expand! You’ll want to gravitate towards plastic freezer safe bags, foil pans, freezer paper, heavy plastic wrap and baggies. .We don’t suggest using glass [the clean up isn’t pretty or safe!). Avoid flimsy plastic containers like repurposed cottage cheese containers and non-sticky saran wrap.
Once you’ve got a clear understanding about what you need to discard, it’s time to fill up your freezer with your new, spring bounty!