If we’re all going to tackle food waste, we’ll have to get a lot better at freezing food. So much excellent produce goes to waste because people look at it, think “That’ll never work frozen,” and toss it.
Freezing food actually has many benefits. It’s not just about tackling waste. It’s also a time saver and, contrary to what some might say, good for nutrition too!
The benefits of freezing food include:
- You’ll save a bit of money while throwing out less food. You can also buy in bulk and save the excess for when you need it.
- It’s a time-saver! You can spend one evening preparing a week’s meals in advance and store them away. No worrying about what to cook for dinner that night.
- The food will be better for you. Freezing slows down enzyme activity and microbial growth which cause food spoilage. You need to use the right freezing techniques (see the video below), but yes, freezing food is good for you.
- You can enjoy a wider range of flavours. You can freeze fruits and vegetables when they are in season and at their peak freshness and flavour. Then, in off-season months, you can still enjoy your favourite flavours.
Tips for effectively freezing food
Frozen food sometimes has a bad reputation, but that’s more because of the way it’s frozen than the act of freezing. To help you make the most of frozen food, nutritionist and all-round food expert, Cailie Ford, has created this super-helpful video with some key tips and tricks:
Precautions for freezing food
Freezing food is safe and healthy, but there are a couple of precautions you should take in the preparation and defrosting process. This will allow you to enjoy the food to its max:
- Do not refreeze thawed food. Defrosting and re-freezing can promote bacterial growth and, in extreme cases, make you ill. Only defrost the food you need and make sure you consume it all in one go.
- Take particular care with meats. Wrap meat tightly in plastic wrap or freezer paper before placing it in a freezer-safe container or bag. This helps to prevent cross-contamination while keeping the meat fresh and delicious.
- Use safe thawing methods: Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave, using safe methods that prevent bacterial growth. Avoid thawing food at room temperature.
- Check for freezer burn: Check frozen food regularly for freezer burn, which occurs when food is exposed to air and loses moisture. Freezer burn can affect the quality and flavour of food. It’s not a health risk, but if the food isn’t enjoyable, what’s the point? This can be solved by simply cutting away just the affected areas before eating.
- Discard spoiled food: Finally, frozen food can still spoil. Discard anything that looks risky - check for off odours, colours, or flavours - and when in doubt, err on the side of caution and don’t eat it.
These are just some simple tips to make the most of your freezer and stretch that food budget! Have you got any ideas of your own? Let us know!