Freezing Guidelines
FREEZE IT FAST!
Food that is frozen at 0° inactivates microbes, bacteria, yeasts and molds that
are present in food. It does not destroy them. Once this food is thawed, it
must be cooked or used in the same amount of time you would use any
perishable food. Foods can be frozen for a very long time, but for the best
quality and flavor, it's recommend that you refer to the general guidelines in
freezing
meats, poultry and fish, freezing fruits and vegetables, and generic
storage times. Longer storage affects, flavor, color and texture. When freezing
food, freeze it as quickly as possible. Do not place anything warm into the
freezer that could bring the freezer temperature higher than 0° but rather take
the item you are going to freeze and cool it as quickly as possible first, then
place it into the freezer. Ideally, food 2 inches thick should freeze completely in
about 2 hours. For instance large pots of soup, or stews can be placed into a
sink of ice water and cooled quickly by stirring and bringing the temperature
down quickly. Once cooled, dividing into smaller portions for freezing is also
helpful so that once the food is placed into the freezer the air flow around the
food will freeze it as quickly as possible. Also, instead of stacking items to be
frozen, it's best to spread them out in the freezer. Once frozen solid, they can
be stacked.

REFREEZING/POWER OUTAGES
If an item has been frozen and then brought into the refrigerator and thawed,
it is safe to refreeze it without cooking. It is also safe to cook the food once
thawed, and then refreeze it. Anytime a food has been frozen, thawed, and
refrozen, there will be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through
defrosting. Texture and flavor may also be affected. However the food will be
still be safe to eat. If there is a power outage, or a freezer door has been left
open, a full freezer will typically keep food good for about 2 days. If the freezer
is not full, the food will last about a day. If there is a power outage and the
freezer is not full, group foods together. Keep meat and poultry that might drip
raw juice, away from other foods. If possible, add bagged ice to the freezer to
keep the temperature as cold as possible. Always keep a freezer thermometer
in the freezer. If food is partly frozen, and still has ice crystals or is still cold to
the touch as if it had been in a refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze the food when
power returns. At this point, food will also be safe to cook. However, if the
freezer items have been warmer than 40° for longer than 2 hours, you need to
throw the food away! Also toss any food that has been contaminated by raw
juices.

SAFE DEFROSTING
There are three ways to safely defrost food. In the refrigerator, in cold water,
or in the microwave. The preferred method of defrosting food is in the
refrigerator. This is also the slowest method, but it preserves the best quality of
the food. So plan ahead and place small items to defrost in the refrigerator a
day or two ahead of when you plan to use them. Large items like turkeys will
take approximately one day for each 5 pounds of weight. For faster defrosting
of small items, place the food in a leak proof plastic bag and immerse it into cold
water. Check the water frequently to sure it stays cold. Change the water
every 30 minutes until food is thawed. Once thawed, cook immediately. When
defrosting in the microwave, the food will not defrost evenly and some portions
of the food may begin to cook while being defrosted. It's important to cook
this food immediately after using this method of defrosting!
Click on these links for
freezing times of foods
that freeze well
Meats
Poultry
Fish
Fruits
Vegetables
The following is a list
of foods that do not
freeze well!
Cabbage, celery, cucumber,
endive, lettuce, radishes:
When
thawed become limp, water logged, and lose
flavor

Potates,baked or broiled: When
thawed becom soft, crumbly, water-logged
and mealy

Cooked pasta or rice: When thawed
become mushy and tastes warmed over

Egg whites, cooked: When thawed
become soft, tough, rubbery and spongy

Meringue: When thawed become soft,
tough, rubbery and spongy

Icings made with egg whites:
When thawed weep and are frothy

Cream and custard fillings: When
thawed separate, become watery and lumpy

Milk sauces: When thawed may curdle
and separate

Sour cream: When thawed separates and
becomes watery

Cheese and crumb toppings on
casseroles:
When thawed becomes soggy

Mayonnaise and salad dressing:
When thawed, separates

Gelatin: When thawed, weeps
Fried foods: When thawed lose crispness,
become soggy
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