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Food Preservation Safety


The invention of the freezer is incredibly helpful when it comes to protecting foods and preserving them for long periods of time. It’s possible to freeze almost any food with the exception of a few such as eggs and canned goods. What many don’t understand is that while most food can be kept frozen, not all foods keep well that way like some sauces and produce.

In order for food to be kept safe in a freezer, it must be at a constant setting of 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping food in a freezer slows down/inactivates the molecules causing slower movement of bacteria. It also prevents the growth of microorganisms. Once the food is thawed, the microbes become active again.

Packaging foods the proper way helps maintain the quality and prevents freezer burn. Although freezer burn does not make food unsafe to consume, it will significantly bring down the quality of the item. These items can be discarded if desired.

It is important to freeze food as fast as possible to maintain freshness and quality. Only stack items in your freezer that are already frozen. Usually, food that is at least 2 inches thick should freeze in about 2 hours. It is possible to see a change in color when freezing foods especially meat products. This is due to a lack of oxygen, freezer burn, or long storage time.

When the time comes to thaw frozen foods, make sure to do so safely. Three highly suggested ways to thaw meat is in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Do your best to plan ahead for bigger items to defrost. Most smaller items only take a day or two to defrost. If you don’t defrost your food ahead of time, cooking time may take one and a half times longer. Remember to discard any wrappings from raw meat/poultry.

It is safe to refreeze food that has been thawed in the refrigerator if it has not been cooked. If there are leftovers, you may freeze them within 3-4 days to still be considered safe. Do not refreeze foods left outside of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.

Lastly, if you experience a power outage and have frozen foods in your freezer, be mindful to open the door as little as possible to keep things cold. If the food remains cold, it should keep for 2 days in a full freezer or about 1 day in a partially full freezer with the door shut. Do your best to group similar foods together and place foods on ice or ice packs. Once the power turns on, check that the food is still cold or contains ice crystals. Dispose of anything that is soft or melted.

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