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It’s not only the fridge which has become a great helper over the last few decades, but also the freezer, particularly when it comes to long-term storage.

Whereas in the past food had to be laboriously preserved, today we have an appliance to do the job for us. But how does it work? When food is frozen, the removal of heat causes the molecules within the food to move at a slower rate. It also reduces the activity of micro-organisms, but does not kill them. Only freezers with four stars are suitable for freezing fresh food. The freezer compartment of a fridge, which will usually have fewer than four stars, can only be used to store food that was already frozen at the time of purchase. This is because the temperature in these types of compartment is not low enough to ensure the food will be completely frozen through in a short space of time.

 

In the interests of the environment, you should use reusable containers instead of freezer bags, such as the special freezer containers produced by Tupperware. We do not recommend that you use plastic containers which are not freezer-safe, as they could break if dropped when frozen.

Just as when storing dry food, keeping your frozen goods in storage containers creates a well ordered and tidy freezer or freezer compartment too. It makes just as much sense to sort your frozen food into groups as your dry food, for example, bread and baked goods, processed food, meat, fish, ready meals, fruit, vegetables and ice cream.

Additional information on freezing: only food that is in perfect condition should be frozen. Vegetables should be blanched before being frozen; not only does this ensure they will retain their colour, but it also destroys enzymes that are responsible for spoiling the food. You should not exceed the recommended storage period, as this can alter the taste and smell of foods, particularly those which are high in fat and protein.

It is better to freeze food in small portions, as they can be cooled down and frozen through quickly. If food is cooled down slowly, this will lead to the formation of ice crystals, which will impair the quality of the food. Once defrosted, fruit and vegetables which have been frozen in this way will be soft, whilst meat and fish will be dry and fibrous. Therefore, you should freeze food individually or in small portions wherever possible and, once frozen, put it into labelled containers.

Labels should always state the quantity and type of food together with the date, as otherwise you would no longer know exactly what you had frozen or, more importantly, how long it had been there. Homemade dishes can also be frozen for up to three months. You may wish to create a food index - this will enable you to make a note of what food is in your freezer and will give you an overview of its contents.

Once defrosted, food must be prepared and consumed quickly. This is because micro-organisms multiply rapidly as the temperature rises. So frozen products should either be defrosted slowly in the fridge or heated as quickly as possible in the microwave. Food that has thawed must never be refrozen.

Food pests

Houseguests who nobody wants
The favoured haunts of food pests
are cereal products. more...