Freezer burn: Battling the icy nemesis

June 6, 2023 (Last Updated: June 5, 2023)
Frozen fruit

Ah, the joys of a well-stocked freezer, where culinary treasures are preserved for future enjoyment. But what’s that unappealing phenomenon creeping onto your once-pristine food? It’s none other than freezer burn. We’re shedding some light on this icy nemesis and share tips on how to prevent it.

What is freezer burn?

Freezer burn occurs when moisture escapes from food and forms ice crystals on its surface. These crystals suck the life out of our precious foods, leaving them dehydrated, discoloured, and lacking in flavour.

What does it mean for your food?

Have you ever encountered a slab of steak that looks like it’s been cryogenically preserved for centuries? That’s freezer burn in action. The affected areas become leathery, white, and unappetising, transforming your once succulent steak into a ghostly reminder of its former glory. Unfortunately, it’s not just meat that falls prey to freezer burn; fruits, vegetables, and even ice cream are not spared.

While freezer burn may mar the quality of your frozen goods, it does not render them unsafe for consumption. The dehydrated and discoloured areas are not harmful to eat. Still, they may leave your tastebuds yearning for the delectable flavours you once knew.

How to prevent freezer burn

First and foremost, packaging is key. Wrap your food tightly in airtight containers or freezer bags, ensuring minimal exposure to cold air. Push out any excess air before sealing.

Next, consider employing an extra layer of defense by adding a protective shield. For solids like meat or fish, wrap them in a layer of plastic wrap before sealing.

Another critical factor is temperature control. Maintain your freezer at a steady, chilly temperature — usually at least -18°C — to prevent temperature fluctuations that encourage moisture loss. A stable environment will ensure that your food remains frozen in its prime.

Lastly, honour the principle of first in, first out. Rotate your stockpile, consuming older items before introducing new ones. This way, you minimise the chances of freezer burn.

ALSO SEE: The fridge storage hack that keeps your fruit & veg fresh for longer

Written by Bianca Muller.

Feature image: Unsplash

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