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Frozen food safety- misconceptions

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
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thriftlady_2thriftlady_2 Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
It seems like not a day goes by on the OS board without this question being asked in some form-

How long can I keep food in the freezer before it goes off?

The answer is forever. Food cannot go bad in the freezer if it is working correctly.

Freezing keeps food safe because it is too cold for the bugs which cause food to spoil to grow. Once you defrost food any bugs that may have been present before freezing will start to grow again. I'm no expert, but this is how it works in simple terms, expert views welcome please;)

It is possible to freeze any food (provided it isn't in a tin).

Although it is possible to freeze anything it is not always desirable because some foods don't hold their texture once defrosted. This is why food packaging sometimes advises not to freeze. Foods that don't hold up well in the freezer include mayonnaise, raw shell eggs, strawberries and lettuce. Some foods are a matter of personal preference -I think cooked pasta goes mushy in the freezer, cooked chunks of potato have a weird texture after being frozen, and some people (not me :p:D ) think previously frozen bread is a no-no.

The other important safety rule when freezing is that you must only freeze things once. Don't defrost things and then refreeze. You can however, defrost raw fish or meat, cook it and then freeze it in its cooked state. For example you can buy some raw mince and freeze it. You can later defrost it and make it into bolognese sauce. It is perfectly safe to freeze the sauce, defrost it and serve it for tea. However see what the USDA has to say about refreezing.

I hope this is of some help to those unsure of using their freezers. I am curious to know where the idea that food goes off in the freezer is coming from as it seems so widespread. Is it from schools, TV, where?
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  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    Great post, Thriftlady.

    I've always frozen all sorts of things, such as raw meat, veg (blanched), mashed potatoes, bread, cooked meals such as chilli/bol sauce etc, but it's only since I've been a member on here that I've frozen butter if I've seen it reduced in a supermarket.

    I've always put reduced cheese that I've bought in the freezer but had never frozen parmesan, until I went to my local Somerfield and they had lots of wedges of Parmigiano Reggiano with 75% off.

    I did a quick check on here, then went back (on the bus using my weekly mega-rider ticket so very MS :D ) to buy lots of it.
  • CharisCharis Forumite
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    Thriftlady wrote: »
    I am curious to know where the idea that food goes off in the freezer is coming from as it seems so widespread. Is it from schools, TV, where?

    Possibly from the freezer manufacturers themselves. I have owned freezers where there is a little picture telling you that meat and fish keep for a year, fruit and veg for so many months, ice cream far less time. Is the advice actually that the food goes off, or that it develops 'off' flavours after a prolonged period of storage? Curries and spicy foods do taste different (stronger?) after being frozen. Knocking about for nine months in the bottom of the freezer might damage the packaging and cause freezer burn. Sometimes food does seem to pick up strange odours, even when apparently well wrapped.

    From a moneysaving point of view, what we really need to remember is how long do we need to store the food, given that all the time it is stored we are using, and paying for, electricity to keep it in that state. If it's home grown fruit and veg that won't be in season for months, it may be worth storing just for variety in the diet. If it's home cooked food that will be available on days when we might otherwise have resorted to a take away, we're still being thrifty. Likewise BOGOFs. If it's something we could pick up at much the same price next time we're in town, why freeze it at all? I wonder who has the oldest food item knocking about in the bottom of their freezer?:rotfl:
  • nodwahnodwah Forumite
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    Stuff from Captain Scott's expedition that had been frozen in the Antarctic for 90 odd years was found to be perfectly good, even tinned things!!!
    Just call me Nodwah the thread killer
  • Linda32Linda32 Forumite
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    Thriftlady wrote: »
    I am curious to know where the idea that food goes off in the freezer is coming from as it seems so widespread. Is it from schools, TV, where?

    In certain cases, the packaging, for instance today I bought two packs of turkey steaks which gave 6 steaks, so I portioned them up into two steak packs for the freezer. Pack says to "freeze on day of purchase and use within one month of freezing". The picture on the inside of my freezer says raw turkey/chicken can stored for 2-3 months :confused: I don't beleive either of them btw. The meat will still be frozen at -18 at 3 months and 2 days :D
  • OddjobKIAOddjobKIA Forumite
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    Linda32 wrote: »
    In certain cases, the packaging, for instance today I bought two packs of turkey steaks which gave 6 steaks, so I portioned them up into two steak packs for the freezer. Pack says to "freeze on day of purchase and use within one month of freezing". The picture on the inside of my freezer says raw turkey/chicken can stored for 2-3 months :confused: I don't beleive either of them btw. The meat will still be frozen at -18 at 3 months and 2 days :D


    this is the crux of the matter.....

    its the same with things like shampoo..massage rinse REPEAT..

    I have writen to the maker of one well known brand and suggested they might like to re-design theur shampoo as they are admiting that one wash will not get your hair clean and you will need to do it many times.....never heard from them wonder what they did with the email..
    THE SHABBY SHABBY FOUNDER
  • thriftlady_2thriftlady_2 Forumite
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    Linda and Charis I suspect you are right about the advice on the packaging. It is such a pity it doesn't say 'best used within 2 months (or whatever) after which time there may be some loss of quality'. They never state why things should be used within a specific time, so people assume the worst.
  • starflower_2starflower_2 Forumite
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    Hope this is the right thread to post this on, i am completely new to the forum so feel free to tell me off if i've come to the wrong place :o

    Has anyone successfully frozen a HM cheese sauce? I am spending the weekend batch cooking and freezing to make life a bit easier, I'd like to make a big pot of cheese sauce (made the traditional way, butter, cornflour, milk & cheese) and freeze into portions for macaroni cheese, cauliflower cheese, fish pie etc, will it freeze ok do you think?

    thanks

    September Grocery Challenge £181.51/£270.00
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  • Penelope_PenguinPenelope_Penguin Forumite
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    Starflower wrote: »
    Hope this is the right thread to post this on, i am completely new to the forum so feel free to tell me off if i've come to the wrong place :o

    Has anyone successfully frozen a HM cheese sauce? I am spending the weekend batch cooking and freezing to make life a bit easier, I'd like to make a big pot of cheese sauce (made the traditional way, butter, cornflour, milk & cheese) and freeze into portions for macaroni cheese, cauliflower cheese, fish pie etc, will it freeze ok do you think?

    thanks

    It'll freeze fine, but as a cheese sauce takes only minutes to cook, I'd prefer to use my freezer space for other things :D

    This question will be better in the Freezing Quick Questions thread, so I'll move it there later.

    Penny. x
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  • easyeasy Forumite
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    My sister raises her own cattle and sheep for meat.

    We are currently eating beef which was frozen 18 months ago, which she recently gave us, as they are slaughtering another cow, and need more freezer room, this simply remained unsold last year.

    This meat is absolutely fine, and this is a very good MS way to eat good fillet steak !!!
    I try not to get too stressed out on the forum. I won't argue, i'll just leave a thread if you don't like what I say. :)
  • Linda32Linda32 Forumite
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    Thriftlady wrote: »
    Linda and Charis I suspect you are right about the advice on the packaging. It is such a pity it doesn't say 'best used within 2 months (or whatever) after which time there may be some loss of quality'. They never state why things should be used within a specific time, so people assume the worst.

    That exactly it, they do, and I used too. :o but can see the obvious as I said above the meat stays frozen, nothing strange can possibly happen.

    I guess its because these so much ready made that you are almost trained to that way of thinking. This forum is the best education I've ever had :T
    previously, I'd never have bought so much meat as we would never have used it in time and freezing seemed everso complicated and just not worth assuming the worst ;)
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