freeze; freezer; frozen; food; refrigerator; fridge;
You can freeze almost any food, but being able to freeze the food and being pleased with the quality of the food after defrosting are two different things. Some foods such as eggs, or crisp vegetables like lettuce, do not freeze well.
- Food that is kept at -18°C (0°F) will keep safe almost forever, but the food quality suffers with long freezer storage.
- Food that is stored at a higher temperature (as in many home freezers) will not keep as long. If the freezer cannot maintain -18°C or the door is open often, plan to keep food in the freezer just for short periods of time.
- Freezing keeps food safe by preventing the growth of micro-organisms (bacteria, yeasts, moulds) while the food is frozen.
- Most microbes are not killed by freezing, so they can start growing again when the food is thawed. Thawed food needs to be handled in the same way that fresh perishable food is handled.
- The freshness and quality of food at the time of freezing affects the condition of the food when thawed. It is best to freeze food while it is still fresh rather than when it is near to its 'use by' date.
- The freezing process does not destroy nutrients.
- Meat and fruits do not need preparation for freezing, but vegetables freeze best if they are briefly cooked (blanched) then cooled quickly before freezing.
- Proper packaging helps maintain quality and prevent 'freezer burn'. Most plastic food covering allows some air through. Freezer plastic bags are recommended for foods that will remain frozen for a long time.
- Recommended storage times are based on food quality rather than safety.
- Freezer burn does not make food unsafe.
- It appears as greyish-brown leathery spots and is caused by air reaching the surface of the food.
- Cut freezer burnt parts away either before or after cooking the food.
- It is best to plan ahead and defrost the food in the refrigerator. Small items may defrost overnight, while larger amounts of food may take a day or two.
- When defrosting food in the microwave, plan to cook it immediately because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving.
- Don't leave something to defrost on a kitchen counter. It may defrost, then start to warm up to a temperature where microbes become active again.
- Some frozen foods, particularly vegetables, should be cooked without thawing.
- Large cuts of frozen meat and poultry need to be thawed before use.
- Generally thawed food should not be refrozen, as it significantly reduces food quality.
- If food has been thawed in a refrigerator and has not been allowed to become warmer than refrigerator temperature it can generally be refrozen safely.
- When raw foods that have been frozen are cooked, they can be refrozen.
for frozen foods
- Before buying frozen food, examine it carefully. Avoid products with damaged packaging, packages covered with ice crystals, chickens with flat sides (this indicates they have been thawed), and vegetables in plastic bags that have been iced together into lumps (they should be free flowing).
- Check that frozen foods have been stored below or behind the load line in open freezers and that the freezers are kept well defrosted.
- Protect the quality of frozen food once you have bought it. An insulated carrier should be used and frozen foods taken home immediately.
- For more information about freezing foods, and some suggested lengths of time food can be kept frozen (based on food quality), see:
The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).
This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.