What is freezer burn? – How to prevent freezer burn on food


Open minded and rarely annoyed freezer to find you ice cream and frozen steak covered with a layer of ice. And if you try to shave off the ice anyway, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. If your food looks like it survived an avalanche, freezer burn could be to blame.

But what exactly is freezer burn? Discover the science behind this terrifying freezer phenomenon and how to make sure your food never gets spoiled again.

What is freezer burn?

burned Despite the name, there were no fires associated with this kitchen incident. Freezer burn is caused by the loss of moisture on the surface of food. When this happens, the appearance, texture, and flavor of the food change, not for the better.

What Causes Freezer Burn?

Due to the nature of the freezer’s ambient environment, there is a risk of freezer burn if food is placed there. To keep food frozen, the appliance’s cooling mechanism keeps the air cool and dry. When food is exposed to that air, it draws out moisture and refreezes on the surface. steak, ice cream and fruit. Ice crystals form from it.

This process is known as “sublimation”. Frozen food science and technology“Because the surface water vapor pressure of frozen products is higher than that of air, moisture is constantly lost in the form of vapor from unprotected materials,” she writes.

What does a freezer burn look like?

Freezer burn can look different depending on its severity and the type of food it affects.dead freebies are discovering layers of ice Crystals of your food. Flesh-like items also show patches of gray or brown discoloration that may have a leathery texture.

frozen fruit and vegetablefreezer-burned items can wrinkle as a result of moisture loss. berry, beans, and other small items. In general, the foods most susceptible to freezer burn are those with the highest natural moisture content.

Another way to detect freezer burn is to smell the food. Have you ever eaten something that was frozen and smelled funky before? Freezer burn could be to blame.

Freezer burn can give not only freezer-burnt food, but everything else out there, an almost plastic-like smell. ice machine Or if you store ice in the freezer, the cubes will become musty and infused into your drink.

How does freezer burn affect the taste of food?

If you’ve seen a bad case of freezer burn, you may naturally be concerned about food safety. Rest assured that eating food that has been affected by freezer burn will not result in poisoning. It is completely safe to eat as long as it has not been frozen beyond its shelf life. FDA recommended period.

But that doesn’t mean the flavor is unaffected. “Freezer burn increases oxygen contact with the surface area of ​​food, causing oxidation reactions that irreversibly change color, texture, and flavor,” writes Evans.

So, when freezer-baked foods are thawed and cooked, they are left with a leathery texture, ugly discoloration, and a musty smell.

How to avoid freezer burn

Anything stored in the freezer is at risk of freezer burn. But there are tips and tricks to protect your loved ones. groceries.

At the most basic level, you can prevent freezer burn by not keeping food in the freezer too long. Tracking keeps ice crystals at bay.

A technique used in professional kitchens across the country is to label food with names and dates. Just masking tape and a sharpie. Easily identify which foods to defrost and eat first.May add an extra step for storage leftoversbut I promise it’s worth the effort.

Also, the food must be properly packaged. “Freezer burns can be prevented if the product is well-fitting and packaged in waterproof, moisture-proof materials,” he writes Evans. By creating a physical barrier between food and cold air, it prevents water evaporation from turning into ice crystals.

It is important to avoid exposure to air as much as possible. Containers such as ice cream cartons still have pockets of air that can cause freezer burn. One solution is to firmly press a layer of wrap film Apply wax paper to the surface of the ice cream before replacing the lid.

For other items, such as frozen fruit and meat, supermarket-bought packages usually don’t do the trick. Another step worth taking is to transfer the food to an airtight container.

If you are willing to invest, at home vacuum sealer A kitchen workhorse that draws out air and prevents freezer burn. However, you can get similar results with a pack of regular zippered freezer bags.

To squeeze out excess air, place the food in the bag and close it almost completely, leaving a small pocket for the air to escape. Then gently push the air toward that opening and out of the bag. Once most of the air has been removed, you can seal the bag the rest of the way and store it in the freezer.

Do you have any tips for preventing freezer burn? Let us know in the comments.

Gabby Romero headshot

editorial assistant

Gabby Romero is Delish’s editorial assistant, writing articles about the latest TikTok trends, developing recipes, and answering all your cooking questions. She loves eating spicy food, collecting cookbooks, and adding tons of parmesan cheese to her dishes.

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