Friday, October 12, 2018

Hint: How to Prevent Freezer Burn

So-called "freezer burn" is the term used to designate the process that turns the outside layer of a frozen food product into a dry, unpalatable residue covered with frost. The cause of the food drying and the accumulation of surface frost is sublimation. Sublimation is when water molecules evaporate from ice in much the same way they evaporate from liquid water. This dehydrates the food, spoiling it. Some of the released water vapor then re-deposits on the surface in needle-like frost.

What can be done? Two techniques largely eliminate the problem. (1) Mist the food with a light layer of water using a trigger spray before wrapping. This added layer will act as "sacrificial water" that can be lost to sublimation without harming the food but too little to dilute flavor. (2) Eliminate as much of the air space between the food and the wrap as possible. This denies a space for the water molecules to enter. Use a thin plastic bag or plastic wrap that can be pulled tight as the first wrap layer. Place that package in a larger bag and force the air from it. This outer bag protects the inner bag from puncture or leaks and adds another layer of protection.