Freezer burn happens when moisture is lost from the food item, leaving discolored patches and dry areas on your food. Freezer burned food is still safe to eat, but it affects the taste and texture of foods, so most people toss out freezer burned items.
If you are planning to keep food for long-term storage in your upright freezer, make sure it’s packaged properly. Here are some suggestions from TheKitchn.com.
- Wrap large items like portions of meat and loaves of breadin a double layer of plastic wrap, wax paper, or aluminum foil, then store in a container or plastic freezer bag.
- Store smaller items like zucchini slicesor liquids in portion-sized containers or plastic bags so the food fills the container entirely with minimal leftover space.
RealSimple.com suggests using “freezer-safe wraps and bags, making sure to squeeze out as much excess air as possible.”
If you suspect that it is your upright or chest freezer that is the source of your freezer burn, the first thing to check is the temperature controls. If your temperature reading is above freezing, try adjusting the controls. You might want to use a second freezer thermometer to check the accuracy of the temperature controls. Improper or fluctuating temperatures could be the source of your freezer burn. Your freezer temperature controls or thermostat might need to be replaced.
Check to see if the evaporator fan motor and blade are working. The evaporator fan motor provides air circulation within the freezer cabinet and over the evaporator coil. Sometimes ice or dirt can interfere with the blade and a little cleaning is all it needs. If the blades on the fan are bent, it’s best to replace the part entirely.
Check the gasket (seal) around your freezer for sagging, tears and cracks. A loose seal can let excess warm air and moisture into your freezer, causing ice to form excessively. Replace the freezer gasket if needed.
If you have a chest freezer, you may need to manually defrost it every six-to-twelve months, or whenever you notice half an inch of frost on the freezer walls.
Keep the condenser coils and cooling fan clean using a condenser coil cleaning brush.
There is a limit on how long you can keep items frozen before their taste and texture are affected. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, you can keep fruits and vegetables at 0°F, for eight months to a year. Ground meat can be kept for three-to-four months; poultry six-to-nine months. Be sure to properly label and rotate your food items, so older items are used first.
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