Freezer burn is the bane of your frozen foods. It feels like you put a package of frozen peas in the freezer and when you turn back around, it’s covered in gross, crystallized ice. But freezer burn isn’t just regular ice, it’s so much more disgusting than that. Freezer burn occurs when water is pulled to the surface of food, which causes the rest of the food to become dehydrated.
This often causes the flavor of your food to change (not for the better) and it makes your food smell…well, not so great. But when frozen foods and frozen meals are such a weeknight staple, how do you avoid this nasty crystallization? Good news, freezer burn is avoidable! All you have to do is follow these seven easy tips to enjoy burn-free frozen goods.
1. Don’t Freeze Too Much
Not all at once, at least. Obviously, to get frozen meals, you have to freeze your cooked food. But making a million fresh meals to freeze all at once? That’s a big no.
Putting in too many meals to freeze will make the temperature of the freezer fluctuate, and it’s that rising and falling temperature that causes freezer burn to happen. To keep the freezer at a nice, even temp, you’ll want to keep it to about 2 to 3 lbs of non-frozen food for every cubic foot that your freezer can hold.
2. Keep Your Fridge Full
It sounds like it’s contradicting the last point, but we swear it’s not! While you don’t want to put too many warm foods in to freeze, you want as many frozen foods in your freezer as possible. If your food is surrounded by other frozen foods, it will stay cold and burn-free for longer!
Experts suggest keeping your freezer at least 75% full.
3. Wait For Food to Cool
Another rule with temperature: don’t put hot food right in the freezer. When food goes from fresh-out-of-the-oven to below freezing, that rapid change in temperature is almost guaranteed to cause freezer burn.
Wait for fresh food to cool down to at least room temperature before packaging and freezing it.
4. Use Freezer Bags
A surefire way to keep freezer burn off your food is to package it tightly. A great way to do that? Freezer bags! These airtight bags fit to the exact shape of your food, keeping your food neutral to any changes in temperatures or air flow.
5. Keep Your Freezer Cold
We probably don’t have to tell you this, but the cooler your freezer, the better. This goes especially for frozen foods that you don’t want to burn. Like we mentioned above, fluctuating temperatures can cause freezer burn, so it’s best to keep your freezer at an even temperature.
If possible, the coldest you can get your freezer (at least below 0) is best for frozen foods, and as a rule of thumb, don’t leave the freezer open for long periods of time.
6. Use The Right Containers
Not all foods freeze the same. You don’t want to try and freeze a soup or sauce in an ill-fitted container – that is a one-way ticket to freezer burn. Happy Money Saver gives us a quick guide of how certain foods should be frozen:
- For soups, put in a plastic container with a little room on top (since liquids will expand).
- For freezer meals in large casserole containers, you could add plastic wrap, foil or wax paper on top and then cover with aluminum foil or a lid (we’ll get to that in a second).
- Use thick freezer bags or vacuum-sealed bags to store food. With freezer bags, remove as much air as possible such as pushing out air before you seal the bag or using a straw to suck out the air before sealing.
7. Add Aluminum Foil
If you really need some airtight packaging but you don’t have great containers or freezer bags, there is a hack using something you probably have in the pantry right now: aluminum foil. Wrap your foods tightly in aluminum foil for extra protection from freezer burn – even if your food is already packaged well, a layer of foil never hurt anyone!
With these guidelines, you should never have to look at another freezer burnt meal again! Do you ward off freezer burn in a different way? Share your advice in the comments section below.