It is safe to freeze meat or poultry in its supermarket wrapping, but this type of wrap is permeable to air, which causes freezer burn. For a higher quality product, over wrap these packages using airtight, heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap, freezer paper or freezer-weight plastic bags. Use these materials or airtight freezer containers to re-package family packs into smaller amounts or to freeze foods from opened packages. It is not necessary to rinse meat or poultry before freezing.
Freshness and quality at the time of freezing affect the condition of frozen foods. Inferior foods still will be inferior when they emerge from the freezer. Peak quality foods still will be peak quality, when they are used. Produce is best if frozen shortly after harvest.
Proper packaging helps maintain quality and prevent freezer burn. Freezer burn does not make food unsafe, but it causes drying in spots. The longer a food is in the freezer, the more likely it is to burn. Trim away the freezer burn spots or disguise them by using the food in dishes such as soups or stews.
To maintain quality, freeze foods as quickly as possible. Rapid freezing prevents undesirable large ice crystals from forming throughout the product. Slow freezing creates large, disruptive ice crystals. Ideally, a food two inches thick should freeze completely in about two hours.
If your home freezer has a quick-freeze shelf, use it. Never stack packages to be frozen. Instead, spread them out in one layer on various shelves. After food is frozen solid, stacking is acceptable.
How much freezer space will you need?
One cubic foot of freezer space will hold approximately 30 lbs. to 32 lbs. of beef.

Saturday, October 04, 2008 12:42 PM