When is frozen food safe to eat?

When is frozen food safe to eat

Freezing is a great way to store food and maintain its nutritional value over time. But there are many myths and uncertainties surrounding how to freeze and defrost food and which actions are safe and which are hazardous.

We are taking the guesswork out of storing your frozen foods. Here are 7 food-freezing myths well and truly busted.

  1: Fresh food is not healthier than frozen food

Contrary to popular belief, frozen food is just as and often more nutritious than their fresh counterparts. Frozen food is harvested and frozen within a short time span, preserving the freshness and nutritional value of the food, while fresh produce can deteriorate even as it is being packed and shipped. It only takes 3 days from picking for fresh food to lose its nutrients.

2: Not all frozen food is high in sodium

Freezing food doesn’t mean the food is being artificially processed. Buying frozen vegetables, for example, any salt content is naturally in the vegetables themselves and not added artificially. Always read the food labels to know what you are buying.

3: You can refreeze previously frozen food

As long as the food you have defrosted, including frozen cooked food, has been fully defrosted and done so in the fridge, not on the counter top, you can refreeze it if you change your mind about cooking it.

However, if you are not sure how well defrosted meats have been kept in the supermarket or when being carried home, especially those meats “defrosted for your convenience” in the supermarket, it is best not to risk refreezing them. The general rule of thumb for any item of food is “if in doubt, throw it out.”

4: Frozen food does not expire

Not many people know this, but if food is kept at or below 0°F constantly, it does not expire, so it can be kept in your freezer indefinitely. This is a highly convenient way of storing food that has been cooked to be served at a later date. However, you need to be certain that your freezer is working correctly and keeping the temperature under the freezer temperature setting consistently.

5: You actually can freeze eggs

Well, beaten ones anyway. It’s not a good idea to freeze whole raw eggs as the shells will crack as they expand while they freeze. However, if you want to freeze raw eggs, you can do so, but separate the white from the yolk first and freeze them separately. Although do take note that yolks don’t freeze that well. While they remain safe to eat if frozen, the texture of egg yolks never really goes back to normal when defrosted.

6: Frozen food is not more expensive

Frozen food can be bought in bulk, which makes it highly economical in the long run. Also, you don’t get the waste with frozen foods that you do with deteriorated fresh food. Even frozen ready-cooked meals are a better option than fast food takeaways as they contain less sodium and fat, and are cheaper. They are also highly convenient as, being pre-cooked, all you need to do is reheat (following the instructions provided for safe reheating) and serve!

7: Freezing food does not kill bacteria

If the food you freeze is unsafe for human consumption before you freeze it, it will remain unsafe for human consumption afterwards, no matter what you do to it. Bacteria doesn’t die in the freezer, it just becomes inactive. Once you defrost the food, the bacteria will become active once again. So if you defrost cooked food and only serve a portion of it, then leave it out. It is not recommended that you refreeze it later. By leaving it out, you have given bacteria a chance to grow. Remember, if food is unsafe to eat when unfrozen, freezing it won’t make it safe.

Freezing food is a great way to manage your food stocks. Just be aware of what is fact and what is fiction in the right way to freeze your foods.