What Causes Freezer Burn & Prevention Tips

How To Prevent Freezer Burn

Has this ever happened to you? You are at lunch planning meals out for the rest of the week. You don’t want to do any grocery shopping this week because the mortgage and the electric bill are getting paid, and grocery shopping is just not in this week’s budget. But you remember that you still have some food that you got from the last market day a couple of months ago in your spare freezer downstairs. You are pleased when you remember that your kids wrapped each cut of meat and put them into their own resealable plastic bags or containers. That way you can take only the portions you need to thaw and leave the rest. But when you open up the freezer, you discover that a lot of the food items have spots of heavy snow seemingly growing on the food. Oh no, freezer burn!

Have you ever wondered what causes freezer burn? Freezer burn can be bad enough that you can’t tell the difference between a rib eye and a pork chop unless you run it under cold water to remove the frost. If you don’t want to taste freezer burnt food, you will have to cut away the dehydrated, leathery part of the food, or throw it out if it’s bad enough. This frost is due to the water molecules of the food migrating towards the food edge then escaping from areas exposed to air. When this trapped moisture is exposed to air inside the bag, it freezes, further dehydrating those exposed food surfaces. The longer food is left in the freezer, the more this will occur. There is nothing inherently wrong with these freezer burnt foods, other than the quality and taste will be adversely affected. Eventually the quality can be bad enough it should be discarded entirely.

Can You Prevent Freezer Burn?

What can be done to prevent freezer burn you ask? Well, there are a couple of steps that can be taken to slow down or even stop it from happening. First thing that you can do is set the temperature in your freezer to its normal setting of 0º (zero). Maintaining that temperature as steadily as possible will further aid in reduction, so open freezer door as infrequently and as briefly as possible. If you don’t have a lot of food items in your freezer, say half of the total volume or less, consider adding non-perishable items to consume empty space. We suggest putting bottled water or gallon jugs nearly full of water. Adding these bulk items help maintain compartment temps while you have door(s) open. Never put hot food items directly in the fridge or freezer either, allow them to cool before storing them. One last inexpensive way to reduce freezer burn is simply to use them within 30 days of placing in the freezer before it has a chance to develop. Now, the best thing we can do to prevent freezer burn on food is to remove as much air from the package. Food will always expand somewhat when it freezes because of the water molecules in the food. There are food sealing devices that vacuum seal the item almost free of any air in the heavy-duty plastic, allowing you to store the food for the longest period without freezer burn.

How to Save Freezer Burnt Food

It’s never a good thing when we find our food has been “burnt”. Do we just toss it out? Live with “that taste”? The this easy tip: Simply slice away the edge of your protein to remove the freezer burnt portion. But if you follow our advice, you might not have to deal with it at all. You should be able to bite into that juicy steak and taste a well grilled piece of meat like you intended.

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