Freezer storage

Freeze food immediately after preparing, packing, sealing, and labeling. Bacteria, or germs, grow rapidly in prepared foods.

Only the amount of food that can be frozen solid in 24 hours should be placed in the freezer. Placing too much food into the freezer raises the temperature of the freezer, and the food freezes more slowly. This causes the formation of large ice crystals, which affect the quality of the frozen product.

Place new packages of unfrozen food in the coldest spot of the freezer, as close to the freezer wall as possible. After the new packages are frozen, pack them toward the back of the freezer, and bring older frozen packages closer to the front so they will be used first. For a chest type freezer, move newer packages to the bottom and leave older packages on top.

Frozen food should be stored at 0°F for the best results. Fluctuations in freezer temperature contribute to the formation of large ice crystals on top of the food and freezer burn. For example, when the freezer temperature becomes slightly warmer due to an open door, the surface of the frozen food begins to thaw, and moisture is drawn out of the food. When the freezer temperature becomes colder again, this moisture refreezes on the surface of the food. Thus, freezer burn, or the loss of moisture from a food, affects the texture and flavor of the food.


Packaging Material
Packaging Materials
Suitable For:
Refrigerator
Freezer
Comments
Bags:
Reclosable Plastic Bags
X
Use only freezer-weight plastic

Squeeze out excess air and seal tightly to prevent freezer burn.
No need to allow for headspace because plastic expands slightly aas food freezes.

Containers:
Tins
X
X

Allow room for food expansion (headspace).
Cover with heavy duty aluminum foil and seal with freezer tape.
Cannot defrost in microwave.

Rigid Plastic Containers (freezer reommended)
X
X

Allow room for food expansion (headspace).
Easy to see contents.
Good for runny foods.
Some foods may stain plastic.
Do not use nicked, cracked, or deformed containers.

Wraps:
Aluminum Foil
X
Use only heavy duty aluminum foil

Tears.
Do not put directly on top of acid foods (tomato, citrus) for long storage; the acid eats through the foil, forming holes. Wrpa food in plastic first, then overwrap in aluminum foil.

Plastic Wrap
X
Use only freezer-weight plastic

Does not cling well to all surfaces. Seal with freezer tape.

Freezer Paper (plastic coated)
X
X

Plastic coated side goes toward the food. Seal with freezer tape.

For a printer-friendly version of this chart, click on the icon to download.
Note: Must have Acrobat Reader.

 

Packaging not recommended for the freezer (do not use)
Packaging materials Comments
Bags
Sandwich bag
Produce bag
Bread sack
Not moisture vapor resistant.
Wraps
Waxed paper
Butcher paper
Not moisture vapor resistant.
Containers
Margarine tubs, or other plastic not recommended for freezing Not moisture vapor resistant
Glass jars not recommended for freezing (mayonnaise, peanut butter jars, etc.) Breakage possible during freezing and from mishandling.

For a printer-friendly version of this chart, click on the icon to download.
Note: Must have Acrobat Reader.

Back to top

 

©Copyright (2002) Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 47907. All Rights Reserved.