I noticed a chill in the air when I stepped outside on a recent morning to admire my flowering plants. I went back inside to grab a light jacket. As I zipped my jacket, I could sense the approach of autumn in the crisp morning air. I m not ready for autumn just yet.
Soon we will be covering our outdoor plants with blankets to preserve them for a while before the ground freezes. Eventually a blanket of snow will cover our plants. I looked over my garden to see which vegetables I would be freezing before the outdoors becomes a walk-in freezer.
Freezing is an easy method to preserve foods. If you preserve your fruits, vegetables and other foods properly, you will be able to enjoy high-quality foods this winter. How much do you know about freezing food? Try this quiz. These are the answers to the quiz. 1.a.Your freezer should be kept at a temperature of 17.7 C (0 F) or lower. In fact, you may want to lower the thermostat in your freezer to -23.3 C (-10 F) for a couple of days prior to adding unfrozen foods.
2.True.Although micro-organisms, such as bacteria, do not grow at freezer temperature, they survive and can grow after thawing. That s why food should be thawed in the refrigerator.
3. Freezer burn can result from improperly packaged frozen foods. Although it is not harmful to eat freezer-burned food, you probably will not enjoy the flavour of the food.
4.a.About two or three pounds of food per cubic foot of storage space will allow food to freeze quickly. Overloading a freezer slows down the freezing rate and can lead to quality loss.
5.True.If your power goes out, keep the following information in mind: Food in a closed, fully loaded freezer will stay cold for two days, while food in a closed freezer that is less than half full will not stay cold longer than one day. Keep the freezer door closed. Use dry ice if available to keep foods cold. For a freezer that is half full, place dry ice on boards or heavy cardboard on top of packages, and open the freezer only when necessary. Do not handle dry ice with your bare hands.
6.Blanchingis the name given to the process in which vegetables are heated in boiling water or steam for a short time. This process slows or stops the action of enzymes that can lead to col-our or flavour changes in frozen foods. Be sure to follow the recommended blanching times. Overblanching can result in loss of vitamins and minerals, while underblanching can stimulate the action of enzymes leading to quality changes.
7.True.If you are harvesting from a garden or preserving food from a farmers market, be ready to freeze the food quickly so you maintain the nutritional value and quality.
How did you do on the quiz? If you freeze foods of any kind, remember to choose durable, moisture/vapor-proof packaging that is meant for freezing food. Your packaging materials should be easy to fill and seal. Be sure to label your containers with the contents and date.
For more information about food preservation, including freezing fruits, vegetables, meat and other foods, plus canning vegetables and making a wide variety of jellies and jams, visit http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/food.
Julie Garden-Robinson, PhD, R.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University
Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the
department of health, nutrition and exercise sciences.
1.At what temperature should your freezer be kept?
a. 17.7 C (0 F)
b. 0 C (32 F)
c. 6.6 C (20 F)
2.True or False: Bacteria are not destroyed at freezer temperature.
3.You discovered that your frozen meat has dry, brownish areas. What is that called?
4.About how much food should you place in a freezer per cubic foot of storage space?
a. Two or three pounds
b. Five or six pounds
c. Eight or nine pounds
False: You can refreeze foods if they still contain ice crystals or are still cold at a temperature of 4.4 C (40 F) or lower.
6.What is the name of the heating process recommended for most vegetables prior to freezing?
7.True or False: The nutrient content of fruits and vegetables is best retained when the foods are preserved as soon after harvest as possible.