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  • FIRST POST
    • thriftlady
    • By thriftlady 31st Jan 09, 1:20 PM
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    thriftlady
    Frozen food safety- misconceptions
    • #1
    • 31st Jan 09, 1:20 PM
    Frozen food safety- misconceptions 31st Jan 09 at 1:20 PM
    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 ) 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?
Page 1
    • Pollycat
    • By Pollycat 31st Jan 09, 2:06 PM
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    Pollycat
    • #2
    • 31st Jan 09, 2:06 PM
    • #2
    • 31st Jan 09, 2:06 PM
    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 ) to buy lots of it.
    • Charis
    • By Charis 31st Jan 09, 2:23 PM
    • 1,293 Posts
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    Charis
    • #3
    • 31st Jan 09, 2:23 PM
    • #3
    • 31st Jan 09, 2:23 PM
    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?
    Originally posted by thriftlady
    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?
  • nodwah
    • #4
    • 31st Jan 09, 2:27 PM
    • #4
    • 31st Jan 09, 2:27 PM
    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
    • Linda32
    • By Linda32 31st Jan 09, 2:51 PM
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    Linda32
    • #5
    • 31st Jan 09, 2:51 PM
    • #5
    • 31st Jan 09, 2:51 PM
    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?
    Originally posted by thriftlady
    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
  • OddjobKIA
    • #6
    • 31st Jan 09, 2:59 PM
    • #6
    • 31st Jan 09, 2:59 PM
    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
    Originally posted by Linda32

    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
    • By thriftlady 31st Jan 09, 5:34 PM
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    thriftlady
    • #7
    • 31st Jan 09, 5:34 PM
    • #7
    • 31st Jan 09, 5:34 PM
    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
    • #8
    • 31st Jan 09, 5:47 PM
    Freezing Cheese Sauce??
    • #8
    • 31st Jan 09, 5:47 PM
    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

    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 Penguin
    • By Penelope Penguin 31st Jan 09, 5:51 PM
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    Penelope Penguin
    • #9
    • 31st Jan 09, 5:51 PM
    • #9
    • 31st Jan 09, 5:51 PM
    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

    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
    Originally posted by starflower
    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

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

    Penny. x
    Last edited by Penelope Penguin; 31-01-2009 at 5:56 PM.
    Sheep, pigs, hens and bees on our Teesdale smallholding
    • easy
    • By easy 31st Jan 09, 5:57 PM
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    easy
    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 !!!
    • Linda32
    • By Linda32 31st Jan 09, 6:34 PM
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    Linda32
    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.
    Originally posted by thriftlady
    That exactly it, they do, and I used too. 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
    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
    • thriftlady
    • By thriftlady 31st Jan 09, 6:46 PM
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    thriftlady
    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
    Originally posted by Linda32
    Well I don't know whether to be pleased or depressed It is fantastic that you're finding this forum so useful but I do feel depressed that so many of us have lost touch with their food because of a reliance on ready-made food
    • Linda32
    • By Linda32 31st Jan 09, 7:04 PM
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    Linda32
    Well I don't know whether to be pleased or depressed It is fantastic that you're finding this forum so useful but I do feel depressed that so many of us have lost touch with their food because of a reliance on ready-made food
    Originally posted by thriftlady

    Be pleased, I am, I'm saving money and lets face it, if I can say that "you are almost trained into that way of thinking" and can then see the way forward then thats a good thing.

    Just to let you know, I made two of the Spice Cakes from your famous thread, both at the the same time, (doubled the ingredients, made mixing easier) and cooked at the same time. Froze one and just got it out tonight for pack ups next week.

    * wonders off to look at foil parcels of chicken/herbs = ready meals etc.
    • Charis
    • By Charis 31st Jan 09, 7:09 PM
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    Charis
    I've just discovered that we can refreeze food that has been frozen before! Subject to certain conditions, of course. http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/tips/summer/home_food_freezing.html
    (Scroll down to 'refreezing')

    This website, compiled with the help of Birds Eye, states categorically that there is no time limit on the storage of food, provided it is kept stored at -18C
    http://www.netmums.com/food/Top_freezer_tips.1867/?utm_source=newsquest&utm_medium=feeds
    Last edited by Charis; 31-01-2009 at 7:15 PM.
    • purplepardalis
    • By purplepardalis 31st Jan 09, 8:25 PM
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    purplepardalis
    I think the question of how long you keep something frozen all depends on the type of freezer you have. Super 4 star freezers will chill down the food and freeze it a lot quicker, meaning fewer ice crystals form and the quality of the food is maintained.

    Whilst the less powerful freezers do freeze things it happens more slowly which can affect the quality.

    I may however be talking absolute nonsense.

    I'll go and do a bit of googling
    • purplepardalis
    • By purplepardalis 31st Jan 09, 8:37 PM
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    purplepardalis
    Fortunately some kind scientists on the internet have added credence to my theory!

    If you freeze [products] very slowly, there's time for the moisture to migrate,“ explains Jon Hocker, one of the research and development engineers at Frigoscandia Equipment. “When moisture can migrate and form larger crystals, those crystals don't have as moist of a amouthfeel' as when you freeze very quickly. If you leave time for the moisture to move around during freezing, the quality of the product changes.“

    Faster freezing times result in smaller ice crystals, which means less cellular damage to food products. This means products are juicier, have better texture and exhibit less drip loss when thawed.


    So everyone with a good quality high powered freezer will find their food can be kept frozen for as long as you want!
    • nesssie1702
    • By nesssie1702 1st Feb 09, 6:37 AM
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    nesssie1702
    Thanks for this Thread ThriftLady - it's a question I get asked a lot at work as well.....

    Guess I wasn't making it up that it's okay to refreeze food that's been frozen before All that will be affected is the quality of the product and that's for the reason specified in the couple of posts above mine - it's all to do with the ice crystal size in the food and whether the cells have burst.

    Interesting what Charis says about how long do we hold onto frozen food for? I think where you live can have a bearing on things too. I'm on an island and 10 miles from the town, so we have a chest freezer that gets used a lot for things I make in bulk as well as items that I might struggle to get if the ferry doesn't sail for a few days, yes and perhaps veg items that are on offer in the supermarket rather than pay full price.

    That's why food such as lettuce and strawbs don't freeze well either, they have a high water content which doesn't go well with a weak cell wall system. As the water in the strawbs or lettuce freezes, this bursts open the cells and hence the likelihood of mush.
    • blue_ashleigh
    • By blue_ashleigh 1st Feb 09, 9:47 AM
    • 424 Posts
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    blue_ashleigh
    Can you freeze milk?
  • sunflower76
    Can you freeze milk?
    Originally posted by blue_ashleigh
    Oh yes! You need to allow room for expansion in the top of the bottle though.
    • Ben84
    • By Ben84 1st Feb 09, 4:10 PM
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    Ben84
    Provided the freezer is working right then the temperature should be too low for bacteria to continue growing, so there shouldn't be any hazard. However, don't assume it means the stuff will be preserved in edible condition forever either. I've had a few forgotten freezer items that nobody would wish to eat. Things can and do change a lot. I've had frozen cauliflower from the shop (it was properly frozen) turn black when it got old. It had been in there about a year, and was nearing the use by date.

    Stocking up and freezing to save money could result in lots of bad food if you leave it a really long time, so I wouldn't buy huge amounts in the expectation it will last forever.
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