Freezing is a great way to preserve food. You can keep it for months, or even years, without worrying about spoilage or contamination. But if you've never frozen food before, or if you're not sure your freezer is working properly, then you might be asking yourself "How cold should it be?" The answer depends on what kind of food you're freezing and how long you plan to keep it in the freezer (or how much room there is).
Freezing food preserves it, but it can also help prevent foodborne illness by killing harmful diseases such cause illnesses such as E. Coli or Listeria in meat, poultry, or seafood products. The key here is temperature control because there are different levels of bacteria found in different types of foods: some foods can be stored at 0 degrees Fahrenheit while others should be kept below 40. Freezing food will kill almost all forms of life including parasites like tapeworms.
If you're not sure about whether a specific food should go to the freezer or the fridge, check the label or Google for storing instructions. Other than meats, vegetables, and dairy goods, many items must be kept cold.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture(FDA), food in the freezer should be stored at 0° F (-18° C) or below to prevent bacterial growth. The FDA specifies that meats be stored at 0° F (-18° C) or below, seafood at -1° F (-18° C), and poultry at -2° F (-19° C). Meanwhile, set the refrigerator temperature at or below 40° F (4° C) to keep the vegetable and fruit fresh. You should also store eggs in the refrigerator section of your fridge, where they can last up to five weeks past their expiration date. Also, you should regularly check the temperature with appliance thermometers to determine these temperatures. Or you could just buy a TCL Multi-Doors Refrigerator P470CD which has an electronic control panel that can control the temperature of the fridge and freezer independently and more accurately.
If your freezer has been set too high in recent months and you've noticed funky smells emanating from its depths, there may have been some serious microbial growth going on inside that could lead to illness if consumed later on down the road.
While the temperature is important for keeping food fresh, it's also important to keep food for no longer than necessary. Food stored in a freezer for too long can develop a bad taste and texture.
If you keep your freezer at 0°F all the time, you might even end up with ice crystals in your food when it thaws out after being stored there too long!
Typically, food should be kept in the freezer for no more than 2-3 months. If you're not sure how long you've had some of your food in your freezer, go ahead and throw it out—better safe than sorry!
If you're looking to cut down on the amount of food you waste, it's important to remember that not all food goes bad at the same rate. Some foods are more susceptible to freezer burn or other damage from being frozen than others. For example, meat tends to freeze better than fruits and vegetables. You should also be aware of the difference between freezer burn and food that is just approaching its expiration date. Freezer burn is caused by air getting into your food after it has been frozen, while just-about-to-expire food has been thawed out and then refrozen at some point. The best way to avoid freezer burn is to wrap your food tightly in plastic or foil and store it in an airtight container. You should also keep the temperature of your freezer as low as possible, which slows down the rate at which moisture leaves your food.
If you want to learn more about specific standard storage times, they are listed in the chart below provided by FDA and are general estimates. Actual storage times will vary depending on factors like the temperature of your freezer and refrigerator. Check each package’s label for specific storage instructions.
The USDA recommends that you allow at least 24 hours of defrosting time for a whole chicken, ground beef or lamb, pork chops or roasts and veal. The safest way to do this is in the refrigerator; however, if you need to speed up the process a bit, place your frozen food in cold water for 15 minutes per pound of meat. If you need to defrost food quickly, place it in the microwave on high power for a few minutes at a time or use an oven set at 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
The key to keeping your food safe is to understand the temperature of your freezer and know how long it’s safe to leave food in there. And of course, having a reliable refrigerator/freezer. Just remember: when in doubt about whether something has spoiled, throw it out!