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Is It Safe to Eat Freezer-Burned Food? Plus Prevention Tips

Shelly Wyatt is a certified nutrition coach, personal trainer, and group fitness instructor.

Freezer-burned food is safe to eat, but it may not taste as good.

Freezer-burned food is safe to eat, but it may not taste as good.

Is It Safe to Eat?

The quick answer is yes, freezer-burned food is still safe to eat. However, the taste of the food will be compromised—meaning it won't taste quite as good. I can't speak for everyone but I know that I can't afford to throw food away, so I definitely eat my freezer-burned food.

What Is Freezer Burn?

Freezer burn is what happens to your food when it is not properly stored in the freezer. Have you ever pulled something out of your freezer and noticed gray, frosty spots and ice crystals? I certainly have. This is called freezer burn.

What Causes It?

How does freezer burn happen? Water evaporates at all temperatures, so even when your food is frozen it is still losing moisture. This dehydration is what causes freezer burn and oxidation. So we need to do something to prevent it.

How to Prevent Freezer Burn

The key to preventing freezer burn is properly wrapping your food before putting it in the freezer. There are several different ways to do this.

Step 1: Choose Your Wrapping Method

  • Vacuum sealer: This is the best method. A vacuum sealer pulls the air away from the food, which prevents oxidation and freezer burn. However, not all of us have access to a vacuum sealer, nor do we have the money to purchase one.
  • Proper storage containers: If you don't have a vacuum sealer, this is the next best method. You have a couple of different options here; you could use freezer bags or freezer containers. Either way, it's important to use supplies that are specially designed for the freezer because they have a vapor barrier that will keep the moisture in your food.

Step 2: Properly Fill the Container or Bag

  • Freezer containers: It's important to use the right size container. Fill the container full but make sure you leave enough space at the top to allow for the food to expand during freezing. If you don't allow enough space, the expanding food may cause the container lid to pop off.
  • Freezer bags: If you are using freezer bags, all of the air should be sucked or pushed out of the bag. Some people also use freezer paper; if you choose to use this it should be touching the food.

Step 3: Check Your Freezer

  • Temperature: When's the last time you checked your freezer's temperature? The temperature should be right around 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Capacity: To help save energy it is best to keep your freezer at least 75 percent full. Keep in mind that you do not have to fill it with food; you can use bags of ice to finish filling it. In the event of a power outage, it is good to have your freezer full because it will stay frozen longer, as long as you are not opening the door too often.

More Tips to Prevent Freezer Burn

  • Freeze your meat in a liquid: This could be water that will be discarded at a later time, or it could be broth to add flavor to your meat.
  • Ice Dip: Some companies use what they call an ice dip to prevent freezer burn. This involves dipping the food in cold water and freezing. This process is repeated until there is enough ice on the food to prevent freezer burn.

My Bulk Shopping and Freezing Method

I love to shop at the big bulk stores. I buy my meat in bulk, thus saving time and money. I also purchase large bags of frozen vegetables. I save time because I do not have to shop as often, thereby saving on gas, too.

When I get home I repackage all the food that I bought. I bag them into meal-size portions and put them back in the freezer, making sure that I've pushed all the air out of the bag, first.

Please note: Once meat has been thawed, DO NOT refreeze without cooking it first.

5 Tips for Freezing Bread

I am always looking for ways to save money, so when the local grocery store has a sale on bread I like to stock up. I have experimented with freezing bread, and this is what I have found to be the best way to do it.

  • Leave the bread in its original packaging.
  • Place the bread, in its original packaging, inside of a freezer bag.
  • Make sure all of the air has been pushed out of the freezer bag.
  • Place the bread in the freezer. Make sure you put it on the top so it doesn't get crushed.
  • Try to use it within one month. It will begin to lose some quality the longer it stays frozen.

If you are freezing homemade bread I recommend that you follow the above steps but freeze it while it is still warm, not hot. This will help to maintain the moisture in it. To thaw it out I just put it in the refrigerator the night before I am going to use it. Always make sure that you label your bread with the date and type.

Freezer Burn Quiz

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Is freezer burnt food safe to eat?
    • Yes
    • No
  2. What does freezer burn do to food quality?
    • It causes the food to lose some of its flavor
    • nothing
  3. How do you prevent freezer burn?
    • You can't
    • Take care to wrap your food carefully and push all the air you can out of the packaging
  4. Freezer bags
    • are of the utmost importance in keeping food from freezer burn
    • really do not matter
  5. Vacuum Sealers are
    • no good for freezing food
    • are excellent for freezing food, they help remove all the air in the packaging

Answer Key

  1. Yes
  2. It causes the food to lose some of its flavor
  3. Take care to wrap your food carefully and push all the air you can out of the packaging
  4. are of the utmost importance in keeping food from freezer burn
  5. are excellent for freezing food, they help remove all the air in the packaging

Preserving Food in the Freezer

© 2012 Shelly Wyatt

Comments

LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on January 25, 2019:

Very informative. Thank you.

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