Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Myth: When freezing fresh produce, it is not necessary to monitor freezer temperature as long as the food remains frozen.

frozen vegetablesAnswer: Busted!

The temperature of the freezer is critical. To maintain top quality, frozen fruits and vegetables should be stored at 0 degrees F or lower. This temperature is attainable in separate freezer units and in some combination refrigerator-freezers. A freezer thermometer can help you determine the actual temperature of your freezer. Storing frozen foods at temperatures higher than 0 degrees F increases the rate at which spoilage can take place. Raising the freezer temperature just 10 degrees will cut storage time in half. For example, the same loss of quality in frozen beans stored at 0 degrees F for one year will occur in three months at 10 degrees F, in three weeks at 20 degrees F and in five days at 30 degrees F! Do not attempt to save energy in your home by raising the temperature of frozen food storage above 0 degrees F.

For more information on safe home food preservation, visit Missouri Families or the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Contributor: Damaris Karanja, MA, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, St. Louis County, University of Missouri Extension,

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