Frozen and Chilled foods? Nutrient loss?
First of all, we need to know what is freezing originally?
Freezing is one of the oldest and most widely used methods of food preservation, which allows preservation of taste, texture, and nutritional value in foods better than any other method. The freezing process is a combination of the beneficial effects of low temperatures at which microorganisms cannot grow, chemical reactions are reduced, and cellular metabolic reactions are delayed (Delgado and Sun, 2000).
Generally, frozen foods and chilled food retain their vitamins and minerals and there is no change to the carbohydrate, protein or fat content. In some cases, frozen foods have more vitamins and minerals compared to fresh because fresh foods lose vitamins and minerals over time while freezing preserves nutrients.
Frozen foods can be a convenient and affordable way to incorporate healthful foods from every food group, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy. In addition to a time-saving convenience, frozen foods can be a benefit for individuals with limited kitchen space or utensils. Not only can frozen foods be more affordable in price, but they also can aid in reducing
What can you freeze?
You can freeze almost any food. Some exceptions are canned food or eggs in shells. However, once the food (such as a ham) is out of the can, you may freeze it.
Being able to freeze food and being pleased with the quality after defrosting are two different things. Some foods simply don't freeze well. Examples are mayonnaise, cream sauce and lettuce. Raw meat and poultry maintain their quality longer than their cooked counterparts because moisture is lost during cooking.
Is Frozen Food Safe?
Yes. Of course! Food stored constantly at 0 degree celcius will always be safe. Only the quality suffers with lengthy freezer storage. Freezing keeps food safe by slowing the movement of molecules, causing microbes to enter a dormant stage. Freezing preserves food for extended periods because it prevents the growth of microorganisms that cause both food spoilage and foodborne illness.
How to follow right away to thaw?
Never thaw foods in a garage, basement, car, dishwasher or plastic garbage bag; out on the kitchen counter, outdoors or on the porch. These methods can leave your foods unsafe to eat.
There are three safe ways to thaw food:
- in the refrigerator,
- in cold water, or
- in the microwave
Bacteria can grow in the "danger zone," the range of temperatures usually between (5° and 60° C).
It's best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. Small items may defrost overnight; most foods require a day or two. And large items like turkeys may take longer, approximately one day for each 5 pounds of weight.
For faster thawing, place food in a leak proof plastic bag and immerse it in cold water. (If the bag leaks, bacteria from the air or surrounding environment could be introduced into the food. Tissues can also absorb water like a sponge, resulting in a watery product.) Check the water frequently to be sure it stays cold. Change the water every 30 minutes. After thawing, cook immediately.
When microwave-defrosting food, plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving.
Client: Can I chilled foods?
Dietitian: Yes you may chilled your foods if you do not want to eat right away! Because…
At room temperature, harmful bacteria can grow rapidly in food. The more bacteria there are, the greater your chances of becoming sick. Cold temperatures keep most harmful bacteria from multiplying, so keep perishable foods (foods that can spoil or become contaminated by bacteria) in the refrigerator. Here I share with you the rules you may follow if you want to chill your food and reheat it !
- Your refrigerator should register at 4° C or below and the freezer unit at 18° C. Place a refrigerator thermometer in the refrigerator, and check the temperature periodically.
- Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food, and leftovers within two hours of eating or preparation.
- Use ready-to-eat, perishable foods, such as dairy, meat, poultry, seafood, and produce, as soon as possible.
- Hot food won't harm your refrigerator, so it's okay to place hot food inside. Be sure to divide large amounts of leftovers into shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.
- Marinate foods in the refrigerator - not at room temperature.
Client : How about I want to reheat previously cooked and cooled potentially hazardous food
Dietitian: If you reheat previously cooked and cooled potentially hazardous food, you must reheat it rapidly to 60°C or hotter. Ideally, you should aim to reheat food to 60°C within a maximum of two hours to minimise the amount of time that food is at temperatures that favour the growth of bacteria or formation of toxins.
This requirement applies only to potentially hazardous food that you want to hold hot, for example, on your stove or in a food display unit. It does not apply to food you reheat and then immediately serve to customers for consumption, for example, in a restaurant or a take away shop.
In conclusion, it's safe for you to freeze and chilled foods! But make sure to follow food safety rule steps to thaw and reheat your food in order to avoid from bacteria contamination.
- U.S Food and Drug Administartion
- Food Standard Quality Malaysia website
- Chilled food Association (CFA)
- Food Standard Quality Australia