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

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