Freezer burn on meat that has not been vacuum sealed

What is freezer burn?

And what causes freezer burn

Freezer burn will occur to any food when stored in a freezer. It is more commonly associated with meat products but can also occur to vegetables or any food products in the freezer that have a percentage of water content. Freezer burn is the damage that occurs when the food is dehydrated by oxidation due to air reaching the surface of the food and drying it out. Water sublimates from the food into the surrounding air, from there it is deposited onto the outside of the food in crystal form. This process occurs because the food has not been securely wrapped in air tight packaging. Vacuum sealing your food will eliminate freezer burn completely.

How long does freezer burn take to occur?

The general rule is that it takes about 3 months for freezer burn to set in. There are certain conditions that will increase this such as fluctuating temperatures above -18°c, like excessively opening and closing the freezer door. If you vacuum pack your food you can freeze it for years without the risk of freezer burn. This is because vacuum sealing your food removes the air that causes freezer burn.

How do I prevent freezer burn?

Preparing your food: it is important to prepare food properly for long term storage. Allow food to cool properly before you place them in the freezer so they do not warm other food around them. All hot or warm food should be cooled quickly to prevent pathogens that cause illness. Cool food of by placing in an ice bath or open in the refrigerator. Also, dry food off before packaging, simply a wipe or pat down with a paper towel will do the job.

Package your food: The number 1 way to package food for the freezer to prevent freezer burn is to vacuum seal the food. This process will remove all the air from around the food so freezer burn can not occur. It is important to use a good quality vacuum sealer and good quality bags so that the food is at a certain vacuum and it remains vacuumed indefinitely. Use a vacuum sealer that will go to at least -70Kpa and has a minimum 3 mm single seal, double seal machines are better. Also use food grade bags that are embossed and have a good factory seal. The bags should be lamination manufactured and have a thickness of 80 micron on the smooth side.

Set your freezer to the proper temperature: Set your freezer temperature at around -18c and maintain it at this temperature. Limit opening the door of the freezer and do not allow food to thaw and then re-freeze by raising the temperature or putting warm food into it. Rotate food regularly so that the longer stored food is used first, good clear labelling will help with this.

What do I do if my meat does get freezer burn?

Once freezer burn sets into the meat it will discolor to a grey and dry out and go leathery. It becomes dry, tough and tasteless. It is best to cut those parts out and the rest is edible although once it does get to this stage the rest of the meat will be starting to breakdown as well and lose its nutrients, taste and tenderness. If you vacuum seal your meat then the meat does retain all its nutrients along with its taste and tenderness.

Final note from the Author.

So, my recommendation is to vacuum seal everything you can that is being stored in the freezer so you are always eating fresh healthy food. But if you are going to vacuum seal, please make sure you buy a good quality vacuum sealer or else you maybe rather disappointed. A $100 machine that pulls about -50Kpa and has a 2 mm seal is not going to do the job you are expecting. Take a look at our range here and if you have any questions, please contact us

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