Sunday, 27 June 2010

Properly Packaging Foods For Freezing

It's that time of the year...gardening season. During gardening season many of us are preparing to gather vegetables for the freezer. We check vegetables already frozen move them around and make room for new packages of foods. But while we are taking inventory, we need to think about the proper packaging materials to use for home freezing. Foods for the freezer must have packaging materials that will protect their flavor, color, moisture content and nutritional value from the cold, dry conditions of the home freezer.

There are freezer packages that are moisture-vapor resistant, durable, leak proof, flexible and crack resistant at low temperatures. These materials will also resist oil, grease and water. You also need to make sure the packaging you choose will protect foods from absorbing odors. A very important feature is that the packaging is easy to seal and mark. Seals should be taped over with freezer tape when the seal isn't completely tight. You can find freezer tape that is specially designed to stick to packages at freezing temperatures. It's a good idea to use a permanent marker to add the date on each package to show when it was placed in the freezer.

There are two types of freezer packages that work well for home use:

1.Rigid containers...suitable for all foods, especially liquids. These containers can be made of plastic or glass and can often be reused. They are stackable and easy to store in the freezer. It is important to note that sometimes glass containers can easily break at freezer temperatures. You should purchase glass jars made for freezing and canning that are tempered to withstand extremely low temperatures. Also, be sure to purchase wide mouth jars so that removing frozen foods will be much easier.

2.Flexible bags or wrappings...suitable for dry packed products that contain very little liquid. These packages are usually plastic freezer bags, freezer paper and heavy-duty aluminum foil. Plastic zipper bags are a favorite packaging material and often used for freezing vegetables.

It is always best to purchase your freezer packaging supplies before the peak summer gardening season. Sometimes flexible freezer bags are in low supply so be sure to check with your local store before the last minute. Just remember to take the extra precautions to protect the flavor and appearance of your garden vegetables while preparing to preserve them. Then later during the cold winter months when you enjoy your frozen vegetables, you'll be glad you made the extra effort.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Shirley_McNeal

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Secret of Successfully Freezing Foods Easily and Safely

Freezing foods is the process of inactivating harmful micro organisms in our food through a 100 degree Celsius temperature in our freezers. Freezing is a safe and convenient way of preserving foods because even though it is frozen, the food maintains its flavour and nutrients. Prepared foods, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fishes and pastries can undergo freezing. The foods that cannot be freeze are the food in cans and eggs in shells. There are also foods that don't freeze well such as gravies, cheese, spices, gelatines, puddings and custards.

In freezing foods, there are certain preparations on foods needed before you freeze them. Before freezing vegetables, they must be blanched first to prevent discoloration and to maintain its flavour. In fruits, it must undergo dipping before freezing. Dipping is the process of putting syrup, sugar water or juice on fruits before packing. Meats are best to freeze in supermarket wrapping just the way you bought it. Fishes must be gutted and clean before freezing. Pastries must be placed in sealed bags.

There are certain guidelines and tips in freezing foods like always selecting the foods in their best quality; it really affects foods even though it is preserved if it's not fresh. Use vacuum seal bags or airtight bags for freezing foods. It is important to divide in small portion the foods to be freeze for easy thawing. Never overload your freezers. Defrost frozen foods in refrigerator or in running cold water. Never put hot foods in freezers, let them cool first before freezing. Always remember to cook food immediately once it has defrosted before microbes activates. Label all bags before freezing to know necessary details to identify which comes out first.

Freezing foods is really easy to do especially if you know all the basics and guidelines in freezing. This method in preserving food is really a good idea of preserving food. There no such truth that when food is frozen all nutrients disappear. But as you learn it here in this article, it is much preserved and is really safe for us. Following all these tips and guidelines will always provide you quality foods in your home. It gives convenience to us and makes life easier.

Victoria Stewart is a home canning and preserving food expert.

Learn How You Can Effortlessly Can and Preserve Your Own Food, In Your Own Home - And Save HUNDREDS Of Dollars Each Year! Discover more information about freezing foods, visit http://www.guidetohomecanning.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Victoria_A_Stewart

Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Healthiest Produce is in the Freezer Aisle

The healthiest produce in the grocery store is not in the produce department. It's not in the canned fruit or vegetable aisle either. It's in the freezer section. Why eat broccoli and Brussels sprouts if they have no more nutrients left than refined white bread? Fruits and vegetables start to lose nutrients the moment they are picked and continue to lose nutrients as they are shipped around the world, sit in the grocery store shelves and sit on your kitchen counter.
Canned fruits and vegetables usually have sugar or salt added and some include other unnecessary chemicals to preserve freshness or enhance color. Frozen fruit and vegetables have more time on the vine since they are picked at their peak and frozen within hours instead of being picked under ripe so they don't spoil before you get them home.
An Austrian study found frozen vegetables to be more nutritious than out of season vegetables imported from around the globe. Frozen produce also reduces waste because you only cook the amount you need and the rest can go back in the freezer. If your dinner plans get pushed back a day or two you don't have to worry about your produce going bad.
6 Tips for the highest quality frozen produce.
1) Read the label and ingredients list. This will tell if there is added sugar or salt, how the produce is cut and help you avoid buying the veggies drenched in those awful butter sauces.
2) Feel the bag and make sure it isn't full of icy crystals or frozen into a giant lump, these are signs the produce has thawed and refrozen or developed freezer burn losing nutrients in the process.
3) Once the bag is opened make sure to reseal it. If it's got a resealable zipper use that, if not put it in a freezer quality plastic bag to protect your produce from freezer burn and oxidation that can ruin quality and leach nutrients.
4) Buy your frozen goods last at the grocery store. Keep them together in the cart and bag them together at checkout so they keep cold.
5) If you have a long drive home or the weather is hot consider leaving a cooler in your car to keep foods from defrosting.
6) Put your frozen foods away first then anything that has to go in the fridge. Pantry and shelf stable items like flour, bread and canned goods should be put away last.
Save time, money and eat healthier with freezer cooking. Learn more about homemade freezer meals at http://www.favoritefreezerfoods.com/ and sign up for the monthly Ezine of freezer cooking tips.
Article Source: http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Michelle_Zack

Friday, 28 May 2010

Cooking for the Freezer

When cooking for the freezer it is important to use only quality fresh food. Freezing will not improve food and food to be frozen must be of the best quality, hygenically prepared, and correctly packed and stored. Keep all utensils, materials, work surfaces and hands scrupulously clean and work quickly, handling the food as little as possible.

For best results, cool food as rapidly as possible before freezing, in order to preserve it in prime condition and to avoid contamination by harmful bacteria.

All materials or containers used for packaging must be moisture and vapour proof. Packaging must also protect food from damage during storage and be durable at low temperatures. All glass containers and serving dishes should be tested for toughness at low temperatures. To do this, fill them with water, leaving a 2.5 cm/1 inch headspace, place in a freezer bag and freeze. (Always pack glass in a freezer bag, in any case; should the container shatter, the pieces will be held safely in the bag.)

Correct and careful packaging of food is essential. One of the results of bad packaging is dehydration, which takes place if air is not completely excluded from the packaging before freezing. Moisture and juices are lost from the food and in extreme cases freezer burn appears on the surface of the food in the form of greyish or brown patches. These are not harmful and can be removed when the food is thawed. Oxidation is another result of bad packaging and occurs in products with a high fat content. Oyxgen penetrates animal tissues, causing fats to go rancid. Correct wrapping and the removal of air from packages prevents oxidation occuring.

Always overwrap highly spiced or strong-smelling foods in freezer bags or heavy-duty foil. Insufficently wrapped foods containing garlic and onions, for example, will transfer their flavours to foods nearby.

When liquid freezes it expands, so it is neccessary to leave room for this expansion in the package. A headspace of 2-2.5cm/or 3/4-1 inch per 600ml/1 pint/2 1/2cups of liquid is usually sufficient, but a little more is required for tall narrow containers.

Pack food in usuable quantities and label all packages clearly, giving the date of freezing. It is important to keep a record of the contenets of the freezer to ensure that food is not kept beyond its recommended storage time.

Many frozen cooked fooods can be reheated without thawing, either in the oven or microwave.
When reheating soups, stews or casseroles always make sure that the cooked food is heated throughly before serving.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Basic Rules to Home Freezing

Like every process , home freezing has it's basic rules. It certainly does not pay to disregard them, for although the food will keep, it will lose quality.

I have listed below 16 general rules which should for the most part be adhered to.


1. Freeze only the best quality products Freezing will not improve food, and freezer space is valuable. It is a waste to put in food of poor quality.

2. Freeze food when it is at the peak of its quality For example, when fruit is ripe and ready for eating in the normal way, and preferably early in the season. Over-ripe fruits and vegetables are too starchy or mushy, and unripe fruit can become bitter

3. Handle food destined for the freezer quickly All fruit and vegetables begin to deteriorate the moment they are picked, and should be frozen soon after picking. This can be achieved by handling small quantities at a time.

4. Observe the basic rules of hygiene The food you put in the freezer must be clean.

5. Follow the general and specific directions Make a note of what you have done; you may find that in the future you need to adapt the directions to suit the variety of dishes you want to freeze, and the vegetables that you grow.

6. Only use materials for packaging which are guaranteed to be moisture and vapour-proof, and resistant to cross contamination during storage at 18 degrees centigrade Any old packaging material may work , but the chances are that it will not.

7. Pack food in usable quantities Packing in quantities larger than those likely to be used at one meal, leads to waste.

8. As much air as possible must be extracted from each container, and then it must be carefully and completely sealed . The packaging material, the method of packing, and the seal, are trying to protect the food fromair, dehydration and cross contamination.

9. Label and date packets It is a nuisance not to be able to tell at a glance what the containers contain ; and only by dating can you hope to be able to arrange a sensible turnover of food in the freezer.

10. Cool food to room temperature or below, before putting it in the freezer Food containers should be frozen quickly, and for the sake of the food already stored the freezer temperature should not be raised by adding too many fresh containers at a time.

11. Limit additions of food to the freezer to the quantity advised by the manufacturer of your freezer, and use fast freeze switch.

12. Allow air spaces between containers added to to the freezer for fast freezing When new containers are fully frozen they may be tightly stacked. Follow some general system of storage, such as keeping all similar foods together. Coloured containers are useful for identification.

13. Observe suggested time limits for storage After a certain period of frozen storage, the period varies with the type of food, frozen food begins to lose flavour.

14. Keep records Only by keeping a note of what remains in the freezer can you hope to remove food while it is at its best. This also guards against eating all the favourite foods first, and against forgetting other foods frozen.

15. Plan freezing and menus Plan freezing and menus so that all frozen foods are eaten by the time they are in season again.

16. Do not let the freezer temperature rise above---18 degrees centigrade.

Freezers should normally be set to run at---21 degress centigrade