Picking the best freezer bag: 4 tips to prevent freezer burned productsTuesday, August 9, 2016
Today, we live in a world with all types of frozen foods. And, thanks to Princess Elsa even our little children appreciate stuff that’s “frozen”. So, whether it is a frozen treat like Popsicles or frozen meats, fruits/vegetables or even bakery products, all contribute to us enjoying a better life. In fact, there are few food products that can’t benefit from the longevity provided by freezing.
It’s not surprising that for decades, the demand for refrigeration and freezing space, both commercial and residential, has increased annually. Grocery stores and restaurants require more and more dedicated space for frozen goods; and home use, especially, demands more dedicated freezer space than ever before. The obvious value of freezing food is to keep it fresh, but frozen foods provide other residual benefits that are significant. Benefits like the convenience of having food readily available, or the ability to buy in bulk and save money, or the ability to portion foods better and avoid waste, and of course, the ability to save leftovers which can save both time and money.
To get the most out of using frozen foods we need to follow the “best practices” for freezing and storing. According to the US Department of Agriculture, foods stored continually below 0 degrees Fahrenheit will insure no bacteria growth and will always be safe to eat. Although not necessarily a food safety issue, “freezer burn” is a common complaint associated with freezer storage. Quality freezer bags are the most effective, economical, and convenient way to store frozen foods, and the best way to combat freezer burn. They effectively prevent the loss of moisture and the transfer of odors to and from other foods. When using freezer bags there are 4 key things to remember that will help you avoid freezer burn as you package your products:
- Leave as little air as possible in the container. A bag that fits well to the food without a lot of excess room is best. Pushing the air out and sealing the bag well is essential.
- For meats and baked goods, wrap them in foil before putting them in the freezer bag.
- Freeze your food as quickly as possible. The quicker the food freezes, the less moisture is lost. Holding in moisture is essential to retaining the nutrition, and keeping the right appearance, texture and flavor of frozen foods. (Note: With the exception of baked goods, it’s also important to avoid thawing frozen food at room temperature. It’s best to thaw in the refrigerator or microwave to hold in the moisture and prevent spoilage.)
- Time consumption right. Most frozen foods should be consumed within 2-4 months before flavors and textures begin to deteriorate. There are some foods that store frozen optimally for shorter or longer periods, but it’s most important to note that going beyond a foods best storage date is not a safety concern, if stored below 0 Fahrenheit.
Most freezer bags are made from LDPE (low density poly ethylene) material. LDPE provides good flexibility, and won’t crack or break at low temperatures. It is a strong, durable material that has good moisture barrier properties, it seals well and is not prone to leakage. It is known as a good food grade material that is inexpensive and great for storing.
Some commercial freezer packaging may consist of LDPE and a laminated layer of another barrier material such as nylon, which provides added strength and improved oxygen barrier properties. Heavy duty poly bags that can be heat sealed and Stand Up Zipper Pouches are other great options for retail freezer packaging.