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Thread: why is freezer burn bad?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Phoenix, AZ
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    why is freezer burn bad?

    I've read all the threads about how to avoid freezer burn, but since I can't afford a Foodsaver (I wish I wish!), I still have to squeeze the heck out of my Ziplocks...I just can't avoid the burn.

    I just took inventory of my freezer, and I've got quite a bit of meat in there that could be used. There are some pork chops that are a few months old and covered with ice crystals...can I still use them? I know they're already freezer burned, but what exactly does that mean?

    I wouldn't serve them plain, rather I want to slice them and use them in Pad Thai and soup.

    Any words of wisdom? Why do we throw away freezer-burned meat?
    -Rebecca


    Endurance comes from exhaustion. Keep running!
    --DH, aka "Coach"

  2. #2
    This is from my Food Lover's Tiptionary:

    Clues to whether or not frozen food has begun to deteriorate:
    1. Freezer Burn-- a dry-looking surface, sometimes with pale grey spots, caused by air getting into the package.
    2. Color change-- indicating that the food has been frozen too long, particularly prevalent in vegetables.
    3. Frost-- an indicator that the food froze too slowly, or that it has been partially thawed and refrozen.
    4. Textural change-- meat begins to toughen, vegetables lose their crispness, sauces separate and turn lumpy, etc.
    ---

    Have you ever tasted something which has freezer burn? First off, it smells godawful when you cook it, secondly, though I consider myself too refined to spit out food, in this case I make an exception.

    Bleah.

    ---

    Another tidbit from the same book:

    It's important to get as much air as possible out of plastic bags containing food to be frozen. To do so, place the food in a zip-closure bag and seal all but about 1/2 inch of the bag. Insert a straw into the opening and suck out as much air as possible; remove the straw and quickly zip up the bag.
    ---

    Interesting. I'll have to check that out sometime. (Though I usually freeze stuff either in butcher paper (for new meats), original packaging, or in Tupperware.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
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    Have you tried the new Ziplock bags are a bag within a bag? One layer clings to the meat and the other layer is like a regular ziplock. They work pretty well IMHO.
    "It covers your bread like a stinkyfishy tarp
    I know it isn't butter
    But I can't believe it's carp!"

    Kenny Blankenship and Vic Romano, Most Extreme Elimination Challenge

  4. #4
    Originally posted by Gail
    Have you ever tasted something which has freezer burn? First off, it smells godawful when you cook it, secondly, though I consider myself too refined to spit out food, in this case I make an exception.

    Bleah.
    I agree. The taste of freezer burn is N-A-S-T-Y. Yuck.

    Jen, I'll have to look into those ziplock bags... they sound very cool.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    Originally posted by gertdog


    I agree. The taste of freezer burn is N-A-S-T-Y. Yuck.

    Jen, I'll have to look into those ziplock bags... they sound very cool.

    Here's a link:



    http://www.ziploc.com/ziploc_doubleguardfreezerbags.htm
    "Feelin' Guilty
    For finding a Cheerio in my bra and then going ahead and eating it." Dooce

  6. #6
    Freezer burns basically break down the cells of whatever is burned. like getting frost bite. one way to prevent freezer burn is to store the meat in an ice chest (non-frost free). it's the cycling of a frost-free freezer that enhances freezer burns.

  7. #7
    i never knew freezer burn was so bad.

    i have used meat many times that has had tons of ice crystals before and never noticed it tasting or smelling bad.

    perhaps meat covered in ice crystals is not the same thing as freezer burn? i always thought that was what freezer burn meant.

    bread, meat & veggies in my freezer get quite a bit of frost/ice crystals, even after a short amount of time. i started using ALDI brand (generic) freezer bags and have not had a problem since. they are pretty thick and protect the food well.

  8. #8
    Originally posted by sunberst
    perhaps meat covered in ice crystals is not the same thing as freezer burn? i always thought that was what freezer burn meant.
    No expert here, but I think you CAN get ice crystals without also having freezer burn, though I would imagine that the presence of ice crystals could accelerate freezer burn. Freezer burn actually begins to effect the appearance and texture of the meat itself. From my own experience, freezer burn is evident when the meat begins to look whitish and dried out. It does give things a very stale flavor/smell.

    I've used items with ice crystals with no problem. It's the meat that has begun to deteriorate in color and texture that I wouldn't use.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Missouri
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    Freezer burn is NOT the same as food having ice crystals on it. Freezer burn has been pretty well described by the previous posts, but I wanted to add that I have had good luck wrapping food tightly in saran wrap, then putting it into a ziplock bag and sqeezing the air out before sealing. I have also been known to put plastic wrapped loaves of bread into a Wal-mart sack, squeeze out the air and tie it tightly shut. (I do this when the loaves are too big to fit in my ziplocks.) I think the reason this works is because there is more than one layer protecting the food. That is my two cents worth!
    kathyb


    Less rhetoric, more cowbell!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    St Louis
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    You guys have me wondering now. A few weeks ago, I made Black Bean Lasanga. I portioned out about half the pan (after eating off of it for a week), wrapped the pieces in foil, and put them all together in a plastic grocery bag, tied the ends, and stuck it in the freezer. The first piece was okay, the second was kind of grainy (I think this is because of the sour cream in the cheese portion...right? This should happen? I also think that happned because quite a few days went by before I ate it.)

    I just took out piece three to defrost and plan to eat it for lunch, by heating it in the oven. What I want to know is if this was a good way to store the lasanga, and if it will last...should I do anything different to the last three pieces to preven freezer burn? I did unwrap the piece I'm going to eat...it looks a little dry, but that's it, not too many ice crystals or anything like that.
    Erin

    "Eating peanut butter is a sacred act, not to be defiled by pork or its substitutes."

    -generic


    New favorite bumper sticker: "Go Green. Recycle Yourself. Become an Organ and Tissue Donor."

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