By Magela Mallada
Habits and customs at home regarding food selection have changed dramatically in recent decades: currently, preparing or processing what is eaten is increasingly complicated due to the pace of life that is led. Faced with this reality, frozen food gained an important place in families.
The main reasons why these preparations are chosen are: economic and time savings, despite the fact that they are perceived as a lower quality option compared to fresh products. And this is due to the fact that freezing implies the loss of some of the organoleptic qualities of food - taste, texture, color and smell-; however, if the process is carried out properly, losses will be minimized.
In addition, it should be taken into account that frozen products can deteriorate when the freezer is not suitable or in the case of bad handling.
At present, the deep-freezing technique is used to guarantee the nutritional content: the process is carried out as quickly as possible at temperatures that reach -40 ºC. In this way, the nutritional properties and also the organoleptic qualities are preserved. Although the loss of nutrients is almost imperceptible, it must be remembered that there is always a risk of altering some of its qualities.
Likewise, to avoid changes in texture and flavor, it must be frozen at the optimum moment of the food: this step must be carried out shortly after it is harvested or elaborated when it meets its best nutritional qualities.
Therefore, the freezing technique is essential for the final result and even more so when it is done at home. Although the freezer is a really practical invention, you should know that not all food can defrost:
- Dairy: some of these lose their texture when frozen. However, certain tips are helpful: keep milk only in its original container; freeze only cheeses that have at least 40% fat and divide them; and never freeze spreadable cheeses or yogurts because they lose their original texture.
- Potatoes: the only preparations with this ingredient that can be frozen are fried, mashed or tortilla, and for a period of four to six months. Never freeze them peeled and cut because they will turn black.
- Eggs: there is a risk that the shell will break, and also that the consistency will be lost. Ideally, leave them in the refrigerator.
- Leafy vegetables and other vegetables: Those with high water content - such as lettuce, cucumber, radishes or other leafy vegetables - do not belong to the second compartment of your refrigerator. When thawed, they will surely lose consistency. If you still want to freeze these foods, it is suggested to do so once cooked, in soups or other preparations.
- Unpackaged foods: freezing can cause burns - stains - if they are not properly packed in an airtight container.
- Hot foods: before storing any leftovers, it is essential to let them cool. Freezing hot will cause a rise in temperature in the freezer and this can lead to bacteria growth.
- Foods that have already been frozen: re-freezing them increases the bacterial content. During the thawing process, certain microorganisms develop that do not die at low temperatures; As a result, if they are refrozen and thawed, then the number of bacteria will be much higher than it was originally during the first freeze.