Freezing is one of the easiest, fastest, most convenient and versatile way of preserving food. It delays spoilage and keeps food safe by preventing microorganisms from developing and slowing down the enzyme activity that causes food to spoil.
Basically, the main aim of wanting to preserve food in the first place is to keep it longer for later use and for it to still retain its original texture, color, flavor and ultimately most of its nutrients. Till today, freezing is one of those preservation methods that stuck because it is capable of keeping the food with all of its nutrients fresh enough to be eaten and still be as good as food that is straight from the grocery store or the manufacturing companies.
Now we all know under normal refrigerated storage conditions, the shelf life of products is limited; either by enzymatic or microbiological spoilage. Using fresh meat as an example, you see that it is a highly perishable product due to its biological composition. Many interrelated factors influence the time period and freshness of the meat like holding temperature, atmospheric oxygen, endogenous enzymes, moisture, light and most especially, microorganisms. To prevent it from spoiling, we use multiple methods such as dehydrating and canning, but ultimately freezing is the most cost effective and I will tell you why in a second.
With canning, you will need to cook the meat, add preservatives in it then begin a not so cheap process of packaging it in cans. Even if it does have a shelf life of up to two or three years it is still costly. Dehydrating is one of the easiest methods of storing meat. It can be dried with the help of an electric dehydrator and even though it is cheap, it takes up a lot of electricity. Freezing however, is less expensive compared to the rest since you can fill the freezer and the electricity used will be effective since the process occurs all at once.
Far from being inferior to ‘fresh’ food, frozen food is often fresher than ‘fresh’ food (if it is done in the right way) and on top of that it offers other advantages too.
Here are some of the few reasons why frozen food from the point of view of health, the environment, variety, taste and your budget is okay to consume:
* Frozen food contains no preservatives. It is a natural form of preservation.
* Frozen fruit and vegetables are nutritionally more reliable than fresh ones. Freezing prevents sensitive vitamins and nutrients from being lost during transportation from the farms to the market.
* The frozen foods market ensures that even the foremost exotic dishes are available on demand.
* Frozen food allows you to choose from a vast selection of otherwise seasonal ingredients all year round.
* Frozen food also helps reduce food waste as you basically only use what you need, which means it is good for your pocket and also good for the environment.
* Frozen food saves you money. Fruits and vegetables in the frozen aisle are often more affordable than fresh produce and you can bulk buy which is great a way to bring down shopping bills while grocery shopping.
Tips to effectively freeze foods
Here are some tips you can use to effectively freeze food:
1. An empty or an almost empty freezer is more expensive to work with when compared to the one that is nearly full. Frozen foods help keep one other frozen, so keep your freezer well-stocked but remember not to overload your freezer as it will make it difficult for it to maintain its temperature.
2. Be organized. You can place the newest at the bottom or near the back and move the older ones to the front so you can access them easily.
3. Label everything to help you identify what is in the freezer. It is a plus if you date them too to know which one came first.
4. Wrap food properly to avoid freezer burn, ideally use a reusable container (never glass though), leaving some room for potential expansion of the food when it freezes.
5. If you are by any chance stacking things on top of each other use baking paper or newspaper to keep the layers separate.
6. Before freezing fruits and vegetables, wash them well and look up ways to freeze each fruit or vegetable to its specific method. Thaw frozen fruit in its container and use it as soon as you can. Also, due to the high water content in fruit, it becomes quite mushy after thawing, so it is better to freeze it and cook, eat or bake with it.
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