June 18, 2008

More Freezing Tips From the National Center for Home Food Preservation

-- The freezer should maintain a temperature of zero Fahrenheit or less. The higher the temperature, the faster quality will diminish in color, flavor and texture.

-- Food expands a little as it freezes, so leave a little "headspace" between the food and the top of the container.

-- If the power goes off, foods stay frozen longer if you keep the freezer shut, if it's full, is in a cool place and is well insulated. Usually food in a loaded freezer will stay frozen for two to four days, depending on its size. A half-filled freezer keeps food frozen only about 24 hours.

-- Thawed foods can be refrozen if the foods are only partially thawed and still have ice crystals in the package or if the freezer temperature remains at 40 F or below. Quality of the food will be lower, so check to see that the color and odor of the food are good before using.

-- Freezer burn is dehydration or drying that occurs on the surface of a frozen product if it's improperly wrapped. The food is safe to eat but poorer in quality. To prevent freezer burn, the package must be free of air and sealed airtight.

-- Freezing doesn't kill all bacteria, yeasts and molds present in food, but it does prevent their growing. When thawed, the surviving organisms can multiply again.

-- Food won't spoil if it stays frozen longer than the recommended storage time. But, flavor, color and texture will deteriorate.

-- Packaging materials should be moisture-vapor resistant and leakproof at low temperatures.

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