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Preventing Freezer Burn (Works For Me Wednesday)

On November 9, 2010 by Kelly

Just what you wanted! Check out these resourceful tips I worked with Ziploc to create to help you creatively plan ahead for your fall meals and store leftovers. A couple months back a few of the Back-To-School Bonanza bloggers were asking me about preventing freezer burn. One asked how long she could keep items and how to perhaps prevent freezer burn which is her biggest problem with freezing foods. Here are some questions I asked her and advice that I gave. I thought you might be curious too! These are questions that you might want to ask yourself as well.

1. What type of freezer are you using?

how to prevent freezer burnYou are more likely to get freezer burn faster in your refrigerator freezer than a separate freezer. The reason? With frequent opening and shutting of your freezer, it is constantly working to make sure that items stay properly frozen. Your refrigerator freezer is most likely self-defrosting (see explanation in next paragraph). You will also experience more freezer burn in self-defrosting freezers than in a manual defrosting freezer. Why? Self-defrosting freezers (including most refrigerator freezers) tend to dry out the frozen items and cause crystallization because it is constantly removing the humidity from the freezer. They are easier to “clean” but if you are looking to buy one you might consider a manual model so that you won’t experience freezer burn as often.

2. Which containers do you use?

use the right containers to prevent freezer burnYou do NOT want to skimp on the type of bags and containers that you use. You DO want to use bags that are designed for freezer use. They should be marked FREEZER bags. For me personally, I use tons of Ziploc Brand Freezer Bags and Plastic Containers for almost all of my freezer needs. They are plenty thick enough and always hold up to the hot/cold contents well. There is nothing WORSE than soup that spills out of the corner of the bag or the top when it is defrosting or freezing! YUCK! I don’t have that problem when I use Ziploc products. Always, always, always leave head space though. Head space is the space between the top of the food and the lid. You need to leave 1/2 inch to 1 inch so that the liquids have space to expand when you are freezing them. Some worry that this will leave room for freezer burn. That isn’t what causes freezer burn. If you are worried about freezer burn you can put plastic over the food and then place the lid on top.

3. Do you put food away warm?

Putting food in your freezer prior to it cooling to a proper temperature will cause freezer burn. The moisture that collects in the Ziploc Brand Containers when they are sealed with the contents still steaming will turn to ice crystals, which then becomes freezer burn. For these reasons, it is important to flash freeze items, allow them to cool in the refrigerator first, or to cool on a counter (if they won’t go bad) before you place them in the freezer container. This is one of the easiest changes you can make to prevent freezer burn.

4. Do you wrap your food?

I am not a huge fan of freezing bread, well, not in its original form. I don’t mind freezing my breadcrumbs but something about thawed sliced bread that isn’t my gig. One of the reasons is because it does seem to get freezer burn much easier than other items. One way to prevent this is to wrap the bread prior to freezing it. Using freezer paper is very helpful. This is probably my downfall; I just throw it in the freezer and forget about it. Instead, I should wrap it in freezer paper and then place it in a proper Ziploc Brand Freezer Bag so it stays fresh. You might even consider wrapping them two to a package so that you can just take out what you need for sandwiches each day.

5. How long do you keep food?

The freezer is a fantastic tool but it does not preserve your food forever. There are recommendations for how long to keep foods but my general rule of thumb is 3-6 months. Keeping in mind that the longer it is in the freezer the more likely it is to lose quality. In most cases it will not be harmful to you but it will lose flavor and quality over time and get freezer burn. Okay, I think that is about it for my “how to prevent freezer burn” advice. Here are a few resources that you might be interested in as well.

Other Resources:

For more great meal ideas and tips, check out the Ziploc Facebook page!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ziploc®, but my review and opinions are my own. All the opinions in this post are mine, want to know more about how I facilitate reviews, view my full disclosure policy!

12 Comments

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  1. good tips on freezing! We just got a big separate freezer to keep downstairs and I’m already storing lots of food in there – I’m going to have to remember these tips!

  2. I wanted to also add that the Ziploc plastic containers are BPA free, which is something I wasn’t aware of when I bought them.

  3. Instead of leaving head-space in containers, sometimes I will crumble up some wax paper to put on top of the food. It helps to fill up that air gap, but will still allow the food to expand as it freezes.

  4. I second Erinn’s point. Lots of plastic going to waste if reusing (or if not, recycling) isn’t taken into consideration.

  5. If I don’t use freezer zip locks bag.. can I use glass jars to freeze any of the foods like veggies, meats, fruits, etc? Will it freeze as well??

  6. Mark your bags as; BREAD, BEEF, PORK, etc. I reuse my bags this way. I use cling wrap to seal and then pop into my beef bag.

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