Today’s topic: the Freezer.
It’s always best to eat fresh but that’s just not always practical and of course GREAT savings can be had when buying in bulk so, … everyone knows that in order to ‘prolong’ the shelf life of meat, fish and poultry it’s a necessary ‘evil’ to put it in the freezer.
We’ve ALL put a bottle of something in the freezer to give it a ‘quick’ chill, only to forget about it until it’s too late. The resulting mess of broken glass and frozen liquid demonstrates exactly what happens to meat at a cellular level when it freezes.
Fresh meat can contain up to as much as 75 % NATURALLY occurring water. When water in the cells of meat freezes, it crystallizes and expands, rupturing the cell walls (just like the forgotten bottle). When thawed, the water from the ruptured cells melts (ever notice how watery thawed meat seems to be?) This is ONE of the reasons it’s NOT a good idea to re-freeze the same piece of raw meat. With each freezing cycle the quality of the original fresh cut is compromised.
The second problem with freezing is; it doesn’t necessarily kill potentially harmful bacteria that ‘may’ be present … just puts them to sleep. I personally believe it’s best to thaw items in the fridge, you just have to allow a much longer ‘thawing time’ so plan ahead. If you have to use a speedier method I recommend a COLD water bath in the sink.
The reason it’s NOT a great idea to thaw meat at room temperature is it takes a number of hours to completely do so and, while this is happening the food is being exposed to dangerous temperature fluctuations. The exterior is at, or in the “Danger Zone” (for maximum bacterial growth) and the centre is still partially frozen. Proper cooking (internal temp of 170) will kill harmful bacteria BUT … you and I know not many of us like things well done. Be careful people, … you DON’T want to invite Sam n’ Ella over for dinner 🙂 Food poisoning is no joke.
The third problem with freezers is: Freezer burn. Even though your freezer has ice (cubes) in it, it is STILL a very DRY environment. Ever notice that cubes will eventually disappear? Frost free freezers do that because they are constantly pulling moisture OUT of the air inside the freezer and consequently, anything that’s improperly wrapped. The ‘technical’ term for this process is “Sublimation” and basically refers to the moisture being pulled out of the frozen product WITHOUT FIRST going through a liquid state. The only REAL defense you have against freezer burn is, removing oxygen from the packaging BEFORE you place it in the freezer.
The VERY BEST kitchen toy I own is my home vacuum storage machine. The one I have cost $160.00 and, it’s SERIOUSLY worth the investment. One final thought. Freezer burn does NOT present a ‘health’ risk … it’s simply renders the meat undesirable looking and dry … cut the burned portion off.
Now, go out and invest in a Vac-pack machine. You’ll be glad you did !!
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Until next time Carnivores, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential