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Old 12-15-2021, 11:34 AM   #1
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Does frozen food grow stale?

or i could have asked if frozen food spoils. Sometimes I have frozen food in the frig for many months. Is there a time limit?

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Old 12-15-2021, 11:54 AM   #2
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Food doesn't spoil in the freezer as it would in the refrigerator or out on the counter. It won't rot or mold.

However, its quality can deteriorate. Freezer burn is often the culprit. Freezer burn occurs on poorly wrapped packages where the wrapping leaves air pockets next to the food's surface. The freeze/thaw cycles that occur in a typical frost-free freezer with slowly draw moisture out of the food leaving a dessicated spot that looks, feels and tastes bad.

This can be avoided by wrapping all food items t lightly with a flexible wrapping that can conform to the food's surfaces living no air pockets. Double wrapping helps here too. For example, wrap in plastic wrap then into a plastic freezer bag.

If you use a Food Saver type vacuum packing system, it will extend food quality in the freezer significantly as it remove almost all the air in the package.
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Old 12-15-2021, 12:24 PM   #3
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I don't know if it is actually true, but I have read that the herbs and spices added to foods can lose their potency when the dish is frozen.
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Old 12-15-2021, 07:26 PM   #4
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Obviously, frozen foods keep much longer than not, but it does not last forever, and the best thing you can do if you freeze a lot, is to invest in a Foodsaver, or other type vacuum sealer. Not only the fact that almost all of the air is removed from contact with the food, but the type of plastic used allows less to enter or escape the food. The first test I did when I got a Foodsaver was to seal some minced garlic and onion in a small bag, and let it rot, STS, and yet the smell did not permeate the plastic! Not only aromas, but oxygen, also permeate most plastics; foil is good, but easily broken, and we can't really get all of the air out, and seal it. Even thick Ziplocs are permeable, and those strong aromas can come through, and things like butter, that many people freeze when it's cheap, picks up odors through the ziplocs, or can go rancid - this took a long time, but I discovered it in my Mom's freezer, when I cleaned it out. Also discovered a pork roast that had lost so much moisture that it was only a little more than a pound, from 5+ lbs. And this was not a frost free freezer, but a chest, that needed defrosting! BTW, I had a frost-free upright over 30 years, and never saw any degrading of the foods, and the new one I'm on now, also shows no problems this was.

Another thing you can do with a Foodsaver is to vacuum seal mason jars. I do this with many things at room temp, that I don't use as often as others, but also a few frozen items on the door, like a jar of saffron, and I just refill a small jar from that occasionally, and re-seal the pint jar, and it goes back to the freezer.

Many whole spices I vacuum seal in large amounts, and keep at room temperature (to refill small jars), but some ground spices, like cinnamon and ginger, I store vacuum sealed in the freezer, for refilling the smaller jars. I haven't had it degrade, but probably because the oxygen and light are not there to degrade it, when vacuum sealed, and properly stored.

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Old 12-15-2021, 07:50 PM   #5
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When the water in food freezes, the ice crystals break the cell walls in the food, which softens the texture. This can be used to advantage, to sort of pre-cook ingredients. Serious Eats had an article on this recently: https://www.seriouseats.com/freezer-...g-tool-5212337
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Old 12-16-2021, 04:29 AM   #6
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The food in the freezer section of my old frost-free refrigerator does deteriorate quickly.

I try to use the freezing compartment for short-term storage of leftovers and supermarket specials.

I'm not a gardener or hunter so there is no advantage to keeping a large supply of frozen food on hand.

IMO the cost of storing the food and the potential waste from freezer-burned or spoiled food quickly offsets any savings.
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Old 12-16-2021, 10:07 AM   #7
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Not, perhaps, a direct answer to your question, but Id consider starting a labelling system for your frozen foods, so that you ensure you use up whats in the freezer after certain length of time - 3 months, maybe? That way you can avoid the problem of stale or "spoilt" food altogether.
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Old 12-16-2021, 10:41 AM   #8
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The only thing that comes to mind is the loss of quality. I find this especially true with frozen store bought vegetables. However some brands seem to hold longer that others.
I have thrown away many of the vegetable products over the years. Sometimes the bag feels more like crushed ice than vegetables.
The ones that seem to do the very best frozen are the Steam Fresh frozen vegetables that are in a what seem a vacuum package for microwave. They come in a small box.
But many brands that are just in a bag seem to have a much shorter shelf life in the freezer.
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Old 12-16-2021, 11:24 AM   #9
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There is a definite variation in the quality of store bought frozen veggies. The better ones are flash frozen, and nitrogen packed, so they keep very well, but many of the cheap types are just packed normally, and are frosted up when you get them.

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