Photography, Ello, Unsplash.com
A well-used freezer can save you time and money in the kitchen.
Find out what temperature to keep your freezer at, how to safely thaw frozen food or what to do with frozen products in the event of a power cut with these nine helpful tips and tricks.
How do I safely thaw food?
Slow, gradual thawing in the refrigerator is the safest method. After checking that the container is still airtight, place it on the bottom shelf to prevent any liquids from leaking out and contaminating other foods.
Note: Defrosting a 5 lb (2.5 kg) piece of meat takes about 24 hours.
What’s the difference between deep-freezing and freezing?
Deep-freezing is an industrial process that enables food to be frozen rapidly at very low temperatures. With freezing, the temperature of the product is slowly lowered below freezing point.
Is it risky to eat food that’s been in the freezer for too long?
There’s no risk in eating food that’s been in the freezer for longer than the recommended storage time. However, its flavour and nutritional value may be altered.
Can I freeze something that’s been thawed?
- Food that’s partially thawed but still has a hard, frozen centre, can be refrozen (even if the surface is covered in frost).
- Raw food should be cooked immediately. It can be refrozen once cooked.
- Block hard cheeses, pasteurized fruit juices and fruit can be refrozen if the containers are intact.
How long will food stay frozen in case of a power cut?
A freezer in good condition will keep food frozen for about 48 hours, provided it’s full and tightly shut. If your freezer is half-full, it will keep food frozen for about 24 hours. A freezer next to a refrigerator will keep food frozen for even less time. Check the temperature of your food before eating it.
What’s the right temperature to keep my freezer at?
The freezer temperature must be maintained at 0°F (-18°C) or below.
Where’s the best place to have my freezer?
Place your freezer about 2 inches (5 cm) away from the wall and far from heaters.
When should I throw out thawed food?
Completely thawed perishable foods (meat, fish, dairy products, ready meals, etc.) with a core temperature above 39°F (4°C) should be discarded. Above this temperature, the cold chain is broken and micro-organisms tend to develop.
How, and how often, should I clean my freezer?
Every year, unplug the appliance and empty it of its contents.
- To clean, use a sponge or cloth soaked in a mild detergent diluted in warm water. You can also use a homemade cleaner made from 2 tbsp (30 ml) baking soda and 1 litre of lukewarm water.
- Clean the inside walls, door and removable parts, and check that the seal is watertight.
- Wipe the controls and electrical parts with a dry or slightly damp cloth.
- Wipe the inside of the freezer with a clean, dry cloth before placing the food back inside and reconnecting the appliance.
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