There are many myths about food spiraling around the internet, and some of the biggest are in regard to frozen food. Is frozen food bad for you? Does food lose its nutrition when frozen?
Freezing food is not the end-all be all answer, but it can be a convenient storage option, especially for families. And we’re big fans of frozen meal delivery services. But before we get into that, we should explain what flash freezing is and why so many people–both home cooks and professional chefs alike–do it.
While the term may seem futuristic and scary, we are here to debunk all of the myths and misconceptions surrounding this incredibly handy (and healthy) food practice.
What is flash freezing?
You’ve probably tried to freeze meat, fruit, or maybe even leftovers before. While this sometimes goes well, other times your food falls victim to freezer burn. One way to prevent this is through flash freezing. This is basically what it sounds like, incredibly low temperatures are used to freeze food quickly. Because of the air circulation and the technique used, the food is frozen more efficiently, which we will discuss later in this article.
How is food flash frozen?
While flash freezing is often used in the food industry, you can also do it at home. Essentially, all it involves is freezing foods with cold air that circulates at very very low temperatures. Why is this important? Using this method ensures that the crystals of ice that form are small. This means that less ice will melt and the food will be exposed to less water when it comes time to thaw it out and eat it.
Because you likely do not have a flash freezing machine in your kitchen, you must make certain accommodations when trying this at home. You can freeze your foods separately, in small portions of serving sizes on a stray. You can then pack these portions into containers. These containers must be air tight. You can also use freezer bags that seal, and sometimes wrap such as foil or plastic depending on how tight you can wrap the food. You don’t want your food to freeze and fuse together during this process.
What can be flash frozen?
When it comes to flash freezing, the world is at your finger tips. When choosing which foods to try this on, thing specifically about foods that come in individual pieces (like fruit!). Because the portions need to be individual and small, think of foods that you can eat in small serving sizes. Also, think about foods that tend to do well in the freezer. Things like berries tend to do well, as well as uncooked single servings of meat such as a chicken breast, hot dog, or a burger. As long as each thing can be stored on it’s own, it is a good candidate for flash freezing.
Desserts such as scones, cookies, biscuits, and rolls are all great candidates for the flash freezing method.
What foods should you avoid flash freezing?
Certain foods are not suitable to be frozen at all, let alone flash frozen. Stay away from eggs and egg whites. Whether they are raw or cooked, they tend to lose their quality when frozen. Luckily, eggs are a cheap and easy meal to prepare, so buying fresh would likely make more sense than flash freezing anyways.
Cream-based foods and cheese are also not great candidates for flash freezing. Stay away from fried foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. There are easier ways to store these foods than flash freezing.
Because of the nature of flash freezing, you need foods that are able to sit on a baking sheet. This means no soups or stews, as they will not be able to hold up during the freezing process.
How long can you store flash frozen foods?
Generally, foods that are stored at the appropriate temperatures can last a long, long time. How does this work? Freezing the food essentially stops the aging process and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and organisms in the food. This keeps the food from rotting or changing. However, just because this food is still safe to eat, it may not be quite as appetizing by the time you get to it.
Consider things like flavor, texture and quality when it comes to your timeline with flash freezing. Items that are baked as well as cooked meats can usually last up to three months. Fruits like berries can last a whole year. The rule of thumb is generally three months, however with things like cheesecake don’t go over two weeks. When in doubt, do some research on the foods you are freezing before you decide to consume them.
How to thaw flash frozen food
Thawing out flash freezing needs to be done with either a refrigerator or a microwave. Thawing these foods out at room temperature is dangerous and can be bad for your health. If you are using a refrigerator, place the food in and keep an eye on it as it begins to thaw. If this process is too gradual for you, switch to your microwave. You should use your microwave at its lowest setting and continue to check on the food as it thaws.
Are flash frozen foods bad for you?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths around good and bad foods right now and it can be very hard to tell what is true and healthy. Luckily, because there are no chemicals involved, freezing your food is a safe and healthy way to preserve it. Flash freezing, like regular freezing, will not hurt your food in any way as long as you follow the proper protocol and pay close attention to the timeline of your food. Many foods retain much of their nutrients during the freezing process, and although fresh food is always preferred, freezing is not a bad alternative.
As of now, there are no obvious downsides to flash freezing food. Flash freezing is a safe and efficient way to keep food preserved for long periods of time. It presents no other challenges than regularly freezing food, and uses no additives or harmful chemical sin the freezing process.
What are the benefits of flash freezing?
Flash freezing is a more effective way to freeze your food and allows you to have more overall control of the temperatures that it is stored at. As we discussed before, freezing can help you stop stop bacterial growth and to keep your food good for months at a time.
Because of the nature of this process and the smaller ice crystals that are produced, flash freezing also maintains a higher quality and standard of your food as opposed to regular freezing. With regular frozen food, the thawing process can ruin the taste and texture of the food in question. Flash freezing climates this, and can help to keep your food enjoyable, not just edible.
Buying equipment for your home
While this technology is more commercialized, there are some flash freezing machines that can be used in your home. You also have the options of flash freezing with just your freezer, although using customized machines will likely be more efficient.
Overall, flash freezing is a great way to preserve your food, It not only protects the quality of your food and helps to stop the growth of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, but it also preserves the taste and quality of your food so that you can enjoy it again when it is time to unfreeze. If you are looking for a new way to keep your food better for longer, flash freezing is a great option to explore.