Freeze and store foods at 0°F or less.
Foods can be refrozen if at least one ot these two conditions are met: 1) Foods have only partially thawed and still have ice crystals in the package; 2) The freezer temperature has remained at 40°F or below. Before using, check to see that color and odor of the food are good. Quality of the food will be lower.
It is dehydration or drying that occurs on the surface of a frozen product if it is improperly wrapped. The food is safe to eat but poorer quality. To prevent freezer burn, the package must be free of air and sealed airtight.
No, meat and poultry should never be thawed in the conventional oven or at room temperature. There is greater danger of bacterial growth and food spoilage for food thawed at room temperature. Thaw meat and poultry in the refrigerator in the original wrappings. To speed thawing, loosen the wrapping. To keep other foods safe, put the thawing meat and poultry in a pan on the bottom shelf. For a quicker method, immerse meat or poultry in a watertight bag into cold water. Thaw until it is pliable. Meat and poultry can also be thawed quickly and safely in the microwave oven, followed by immediate cooking, either in the microwave oven or by some other method. Because microwave ovens vary, check your manufacturer's instructions for information on how to safely thaw in your microwave oven. Frozen meat and poultry can also be cooked without thawing.
For most vegetables, no. You get a fresher tasting product if it has not been thawed. Exceptions are corn-on-the cob and leafy greens which cook more evenly if partially thawed first.
Inadequate draining of vegetables before freezing, slow freezing or fluctuation of storage temperatures above 0°F may cause undesirable formation of large and excessive ice crystals. This can affect the texture as well as appearance of frozen vegetables.
Yes. Blanching slows or stops the action of enzymes which cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins. Blanching also wilts or softens vegetables and makes them easier to pack.
If fruits are frozen slowly large ice crystals form and rupture cell walls causing a soft mushy product. For best results, quick freeze at -10°F and serve just as ice crystals are disappearing.
There are several ways to prevent darkening of fruit; use pure ascorbic acid or ascorbic acid mixtures. Citric acid or lemon juice may sometimes be used but are not as effective as ascorbic acid. Some fruits which are to be cooked before serving may also be steamed to prevent browning.