About freezing foods
Freezing is the best way to preserve the fresh, natural colors, textures, flavors and food values of most foods. It is also easier than canning, requiring less equipment and processing time.
Most homeowners would find it hard to imagine living without some kind of freezer space. But as freezers are indispensable to our way of life, they are also being taken for granted, with the all resulting abuses that can come with careless handling, packaging, and storing of frozen food. It's important to develop good freezer habits so that you can use your freezer comfortably, productively and creatively.
While freezing arrests the growth of some harmful bacteria, molds, and yeasts, it does not destroy them all. Use high-quality, fresh foods when freezing, for no matter how carefully foods are packaged and stored, freezing will not transform food into something better than it was when it was first purchased and prepared.
Owning and Maintaining a Freezer
It pays to invest in a freezer, you'll save money reduce shopping time,because you can buy large quantities of food that are in season or on sale and freeze them for future use. You can also save cooking time by cooking in quantity. Freezers help you to plan and organize your life. You can prepare weeks ahead for special occasions, and you can always have something on hand for emergencies.
Types of freezers...A separate, freestanding storage freezer that is opened infrequently provides the most satisfactory storage. Such freezers come in upright or chest styles and in a variety of sizes.
Refrigerator-freezer combinations, with a separate freezer door that is located at the top, bottom, or side are also very efficient. However, since they hold ice cubes and other everyday items, they are opened more often than storage freezers and thus will not preserve flavor or quality for quite as long a time.
Temperature...Food should be frozen quickly at 0 degrees F or below. Quick freezing will prevent the formation of large ice crystals between the food fibers which break down the structure of foods and effect their quality. The best way to check the temperature of your freezer is to use a freezer thermometer. It's good to keep the freezer at 10 degrees F so that when you add unfrozen food the temperature will not rise above 0 degrees F. It is especially important to control the temperature when adding a large quantity of unfrozen food at one time.
In Case of Power Failure...During a power failure, a fully loaded freezer will stay cold for one to two days; a partially loaded freezer will hold for a much shorter time. Don't open the freezer door when the power is off. If the failure threatens to last for more than a day or two, you can buy dry ice and put in the freezer. Be sure to handle dry ice carefully, wearing gloves, and place it in the freezer on a piece of cardboard, not directly on the food. A 50 pound cake of dry ice , if added soon after a power failure, will prevent thawing for two or three days.
Defrosting a freezer...Unless your freezer is the self-defrosting kind, it will need defrosting whenever the ice on the sides is about 3/4 inch thick. Transfer frozen food to the refrigerator or a large cooler during defrosting, or wrap them in layers of newspaper or blankets to keep them insulated. To speed defrosting, set pans of hot water inside the freeze. Self defrosting freezers, although they use more electricity than others, are very convenient. All freezers, including the frostless ones, should be thoroughly cleaned while empty once a year. Use a solution of warm water and baking soda, about 1/4 cup baking soda to each quart of water. For unwanted odors, put a few lumps of charcoal in the freezer to absorb them.
Loading a Freezer...Don't over tax your freezer by putting in a lot of fresh food at the same time. Add only as much food as will freeze in 24 hours, about 3 pounds for each cubic foot of interior space. Whenever possible, let newly added food packages touch the freezer walls or shelves for quick freezing. Set them apart from each other so that cold air can circulate around them. After they are frozen, stack them neatly. Store foods n groups, keeping meats in one place, vegetables in another and so on. Keep foods that have been in the freezer the longest near the front so that they will be used in chronological order. As you fill your freezer, keep an inventory of its contents. Make up a list of all the foods inside, including the dates they were frozen and the quantities in which they wer packed. Keep the list taped to the door, crossing off items as you use them and penciling in others as new food is added. An inventory list will show at a glance just what you have in the right quantity for a particular meal. The dates will enable you to use foods within the proper amount of time. Moreover, if you know what you are looking for before you opening the freezer door, you won't keep it open unnecessarily while you rummage around.
Storing Foods...Frozen foods will not turn bad if they are stored too long, but they will gradually lose quality. Cooked foods, cakes, cookies, breads, unbaked pastries, chopped meat, pork products, fish and liver should be used within a three to six month period. Most fruits, vegetables, and meats, frozen in the proper conditions, may be kept for about a year.