Preservation of food is an essential part of our everyday life. After the frosting camera was invented, extending the lifespan of what we eat became way simpler, however, it didn’t free us from all the issues connected with this necessary need.
It seems that most people know very little about what happens to the foodstuff placed in their freezing camera, which means food spoilage after defrosting is not such a rare thing.
Is it what bothers you, too? Then we will be glad to share the basics of freezing and tell everyone what foodstuff undergoes in a frosting camera and how to preserve raw goodies and veggies correctly.
Freeze Like a Pro. Quick Guide About Freezing Science Basics
Preservation of berries and vegs is the optimal way to have them edible longer. Home-frozen, they will keep the maximum of the nutritious value if the procedure was right.
How to complete this mission correctly? Consider such facts as the chemical and physical reactions that happen during the freezing process, the way frost affects the tissues of veggies, and of course, food microbiology.
How chemical changes influence freezing foods?
Raw fruits, berries, and vegs keep on undergoing inner transformations even after we pick them up. This continuous process often leads to spoilage, that is why freezing is recommended to be done as soon after harvesting as possible while the raw food is still at the peak of crispness.
Keep enzymes under control!
Raw fruits and veggies contain compounds called enzymes. They cause the loss of taste, texture degradation, and nutrients loss when we expose the goodies to frost. That is why it is crucial to deactivate enzymes before frosting to prevent unwanted reactions.
This can be achieved in three different ways:
Most vegetables, especially those that are not too watery (for instance, asparagus via Beezzly) need to be blanched before we toss them to the frosting camera. This procedure, which consists of exposing vegs to steam or rolling water for a brief period of time, deactivates enzymes protecting the foodstuff from decay.
Further, an ice bath stops the boiling process, which allows preserving the foodstuff longer and saving the best quality.
In addition, this way of thermal processing is a good way to kill harmful bacteria, and sometimes it even helps to make the veggies more compact, for instance, spinach or broccoli.
Take care of fruits, too
Unlike veggies, fruits and berries can not be blanched since they are too delicate, however, they still tend to lose their vitamins and develop that brownishness of the skin and flesh when frosted.
Fortunately, it is still possible to keep the enzymes “on the leash”. For this purpose, special chemical compounds must be applied, for instance, ascorbic acid which is also known as vitamin C. It is OK to be utilized either in the pure state or in various combinations with sugar.
Alternative fruit-preserving methods
Except for ascorbic acid, other ways of enzymes bonding exist. One of those is the exposure of goodies to the dilute acetum solution, another one is to coat them with sugar mixed with lemon juice. Nevertheless, such preventive actions are way less effective compared to those provided above and might be considered as a last resort.
1. Mind the air exposure
Air is dangerous for the frost-exposed goodies since it leads to oxidation that usually ends up in the rancid smell. This is the reason why we always have to wrap the veggies to protect them. Ensure that the packaging is relatively thick to keep the air away, and squeeze out the most of it prior to tossing the packet to the frosting camera.
2. Texture changes to consider
Most veggies and other raw goodies consist of over ninety percent of water located inside the cell walls. This liquid provides the support texture to vegs and other plants. This is why frosting them is actually solidifying that water in their cells.
When being aware of this, you will not get surprised after noticing that defrosted fruits, berries, or veggies became like jellyfish and even mushy. It is an absolutely natural and normal process that happens because the liquid in the cells expands under the influence of frost making them break.
Because of that, it is not recommended to frost very watery veggies, for instance, lettuce, celery, etc. Also, this is the explanation of why frosted fruits and berries are better to be served partly frozen. Like that, the effect of frosting is way less noticeable.
Of course, on cooked goodies and high-starch vegs, this effect of frosting will be significantly less obvious.
3. Freeze quickly
When veggies are frosted fast, their cell walls are ruptured less than under the impact of the slow freezing. It will lead to decreasing the texture decay of the goodies so it is obviously worth trying.
4. Don’t load the frosting camera too much
When our frosting space is stuffed with unfrozen goodies, it leads to the slower and thus longer frosting which will eventually result in low quality and improperly frosted veggies and other goodies.
5. Ensure the temperature is stable
Any fluctuations will provoke the vapor to migrate from the foodstuff to the packet or tank walls surface.
6. Stock at 0 F
The score of 0 F or colder is the optimal level of frost that will give us perfectly solidified vegs. To be sure that they reached the needed level, attach a frost-resistant thermometer inside of the camera.
The warmer surrounding will result in quickly decaying and spoiling foodstuff, so we would not recommend doing that.
7. Microbes are still there!
Unlike the widespread belief, frost doesn’t kill bacteria and microbes unless we blanch the foodstuff first. That is why if the frosting camera turned off (or anything else happened) and the content was defrosted, it is always better to double-check the goodies. When frosted raw, vegs and other plants still have microbes on their surface which can get activated by the temperature fluctuation.