Freezing – The Solution to Stop Wasting Vegetables and Fruits
The 29th day of every April is the Stop Food Waste Day. Chances are this is the first time you are reading about this for the first time, but that’s not the point. This day is set aside to educate people on the importance of reducing food wastage in their homes.
You can also benefit from this education, especially now that everyone is stocking up their kitchen due to the current pandemic.
Putting your fruits and other perishable food in your refrigerator is one way of increasing their storage time. However, you might have tried this, and it did not work at all, and you are wondering why.
Well, this article is compiled to help you securely store your vegetables and fruits for as long as possible.
How Does Freezing Work?
The cooler the environment, the less effective the microorganisms and enzymes responsible for the spoilage of food. However, when you put your fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator, the water molecules inside them will start expanding.
With time, the water will solidify and become ice, which could damage the cell walls of your fresh food materials. In the long run, you could end up losing your produce while trying to preserve them for future use.
Unlike the traditional refrigerator, a freezer drops the temperature very quickly, and anything within the environment condenses within a short period. This method is advantageous because the moisture in the fruits and veggies will be frozen to small crystals rather than huge ones.
As such, it will minimize the damage done to the cell walls of your produce.
Here are some tips to give you the best results.
- Do Not Overstock the Freezer
- Make it available
- Choosing Your Wrapping Materials Accordingly
- Clean Before Freezing
- Never Freeze this Food
Do Not Overstock the Freezer
The goal is to keep the freezer at a temperature of 0 degrees F. However, the more the fruits and vegetables in the freezer, the more difficult it will be to maintain this temperature level. So, what should you do? You need to ensure that there are less than three pounds of food per cubic space of the freezer.
This way, the whole process will work productively and you could store your produce for several months. Remember, though, to check the temperature once every month to make sure that everything is still working fine. Just keep a freezer thermometer in one of the compartments to make the reading a lot simpler.
We do not recommend overstocking, but an almost empty freezer can be quite expensive to maintain. Therefore, always restock your freezer while keeping in mind the necessary precautions.
Make it available
As you store more food packages, there are chances that you might confuse an older jar with a new one, and that could also lead to food wastage.
The easiest way to differentiate your stock is by putting the new ones at the bottom or back of the freezer. Those that have stayed longer should be pushed forward so that they can be used next.
Also, you can also mark every package to help you distinguish them. It doesn’t matter what you write on the jar or plastic bag, just make sure that it is something you can easily remember.
Nonetheless, it would be better to indicate the storage date so that you can know how long you still have before some of the food hit their maximum freezer period.
Choosing Your Wrapping Materials Accordingly
The type of wrapping material you will decide to use depends on how long you are planning to store the food. If you are doing so for a short time, then any plastic bag will work fine for you. However, do not forget to make it airtight to avoid freeze burns which could impact the texture and color of your food.
Long-term storage will require the use of special wrappings that can withstand freezing for a long time. Heavy-duty aluminum foils are the best when it comes to this, but there are other options you could explore.
Freezer wrap and some special plastic bags could be the answer to your storage problems. If you prefer jars, then go for heavy-duty plastic jars. Glass jars are not recommended because they can easily break under such temperatures.
Clean Before Freezing
Another mistake that many people do is freezing their food before cleaning. Well, the chances of your storage technique backfiring are very high.
Wash the product in water or use the vegetables and fruits purifier to clean them thoroughly.
Fruits can be thawed in their freezer container and used immediately after this. As for the vegetables, you can do the same. If you blanched your veggies before storing, then the cooking time will be shorter because they underwent partial cooking during the blanching process.
Never Freeze this Foods
As freezing is a handy preservation technique, not every food type qualifies to undergo this method.
Eggs, for one, should not be frozen because the shells can easily break and pour out the content. Sour cream is also not a good food item because after freezing and thawing, it will separate.
Salad greens, creamed cottage, potatoes, are other food materials that should not be kept in the freezer.
After harvesting your produce, the next big thing is always the storage process. Freezing is a tried and tested method that can come in handy when preserving perishable food.
A traditional refrigerator can do half the job, but your food may not last as long as you would expect. Also, it could damage the cell walls of your fruits and veggies because of slow freezing.
A freezer has all the answers you need, and it could keep your food edible for several months.
All you need to do is follow the necessary precautions and monitor the temperature of the internal environment using a freezer thermometer.