In today’s modern society, freezing is one of the most popular methods of food preservation. For many people, the convenience and versatility of this method make it a top choice when it comes to storing extra food or prepping meals in advance. However, many people wonder how freezing affects food quality – after all, frozen foods can’t be eaten forever.
Freezing food can indeed cause some changes in quality, but overall it is still a very effective way to preserve food. In most cases, the changes caused by freezing are minimal and won’t make a big difference in taste or nutrition. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when freezing foods, such as proper storage and thawing techniques, to help maintain the best possible quality.
Benefits of freezing your food
Even though the nutrient content of food is at its best when it’s preserved or eaten as soon as possible after harvest, studies have shown that the nutritional value of frozen (or canned food) is comparable to that of their non-frozen counterparts. This means that the nutritional value of frozen foods is largely unaffected by freezing.
Freezing helps to extend shelf life
It’s no secret that freezing food can help to extend its shelf life. But how does it do this? Freezing essentially halts the growth of bacteria, which is responsible for causing spoilage. Bacteria are unable to grow and reproduce at low temperatures, making freezing an effective way to preserve food. As the water contained in the food turns into ice due to the cold temperature, it becomes unavailable to the microorganisms who need it to grow.
Freezing doesn’t kill microorganisms as cooking does. Most of them remain alive when frozen but just grow more slowly. Their growth only gets back to its usual rate when unfrozen.
But, for this to work, the food needs to be stored properly. Foods that are not thawed properly can also experience a loss in quality.
Helps to retain food’s nutritional value
In addition to extending the shelf life of food, freezing can also help to retain its nutritional value. Studies have shown the nutrient content of frozen, fresh ready-to-eat, and canned foods to be nearly comparable.
Freezing has very little effect on the quality of the nutrients contained in foods. Vitamins are the most sensitive to frozen storage conditions, but when done well, most of the vitamins and minerals found in food are not affected by freezing.
If the nutrients stay quite unaffected by freezing, it’s important to note that it can damage the quality of the food if not done properly. For example, if foods are not stored properly in the freezer (i.e., in airtight containers or bags), they can become freezer-burned. This means that the food has been exposed to air, which mainly causes it to lose moisture and may look less appealing. Freezing can also damage some foods that don’t freeze well because the formation of ice crystals can break the cell membranes. For example, strawberries tend to lose their flavour and become mushy when frozen. Other fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, avocados and tomatoes, also don’t freeze well. However, this is not dangerous except that it may affect the texture and look of the food.
The same thing can happen when it comes to meat. For example, frozen chicken may become tougher and less tender when cooked, but this doesn’t really apply to our pets.
How to make sure that your food is well preserved
About the freezer itself
Several different types of freezers can be used to freeze food, and the type that you choose can have an impact on the quality of the freezing process. For example, traditional freezers use cold air to freeze foods, which can cause freezer burn if not done properly. In contrast, blast freezers rapidly freeze food using powerful cooling mechanisms and are less likely to cause freezer burn.
The optimal freezer temperature for food storage is -18°C (0°F). This temperature will help to preserve the quality of your food and prevent freezer burn. The storage life of food is shortened when the temperature rises.
But, despite these rules of thumb, there are also other things you can take into consideration to optimize food preservation :
- Your freezer should be in a cool, dry place where the temperature is stable.
- Your freezer should be full at least to 3/4 of its maximum capacity to be efficient.
- Do not simply store food; make sure you rotate your stock.
- Don’t open the freezer door unless needed. It should be opened as rarely as possible.
- Make sure the door seals are clean and work properly; if not, replace them.
- You should defrost your freezer regularly.
Most types of food can be stored in the freezer for up to six months, although some foods may last longer depending on their type and quality. For example, meats such as steak can be stored for up to 12 months, while certain fruits and vegetables such as broccoli and green beans may only be suitable for freezing for a few months. But, this also varies on the storage and thawing techniques.
Storage and thawing techniques
When it comes to storing food in the freezer, it’s important to use airtight containers or bags. This will help to prevent freezer burn and preserve the quality of the food. Improperly protected food may lose moisture, colour, flavour and texture.
It’s also important to label all containers and bags with the date that they were frozen. This will help you keep track of how long the food has been in the freezer and ensure that it is still safe to eat.
If you are wondering what are the best containers to store your food in the freezer, here are some criteria to look for. The container should be :
- Moisture resistant
- Designed to be used for food products
- Durable and leakproof
- Doesn’t crack at low temperatures
- Easy to fill and seal
- Easy to mark and store
As there may be some criteria to help you choose the best containers, there isn’t one ideal type of container. It always depends on the type of food to be frozen, your preferences and the packages you have at hand.
As for glass jars, it is possible to put them in the freezer, but it has to be made especially for this usage which is not the case of our products. Regular glass jars may not withstand the extremes in temperatures. Moreover, since liquid expands when freezing, it may cause the jar to break in the freezer.
Following these tips will help to ensure that your food is properly frozen and preserved.
So why don’t we sell frozen products then?
Both freezing and canning allow for long-term food storage when it comes to shelf life. However, canned foods typically have a longer shelf life than frozen foods, as they are generally less prone to freezer burn or bacteria growth. Canned foods are also easier to store and transport than frozen foods, as they do not require a freezer. And this aspect was quite important for us since not every retailer has the space for big freezers.
Indeed, canned foods often contain more sodium than frozen foods, which can be an issue. Additionally, some nutrient content may be lost during the canning process, particularly vitamins that are sensitive to heat. But, we’ve worked hard especially to overcome these inconvenient and we can say we’ve managed it greatly! In fact, only our bone broth is exposed to heat when canning and bone broth doesn’t have any vitamins.
Since we were, first and foremost, looking for convenience, then canned foods seemed to be the best option for us.
When it comes to storage, both frozen and canned foods can last for a long time. However, it is important to take proper care when storing either type of food. Canned foods should be stored in a cool, dry place, and frozen foods should be stored in an airtight container in the freezer. Be sure to label all containers with the date so you can keep track of how long the food has been stored.
While there are some potential downsides to freezing food, overall it is still a very effective method of food preservation. With proper storage and thawing techniques, you can minimize the effects of freezing and maintain the best possible quality of your foods. This is exactly why, when you have extra broth on hand, we strongly suggest you use the convenience of freezing to help preserve it for later!