Monday, March 6, 2017

Happy National Frozen Food Day!

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5157 to designate March 6th as Frozen Food Day.

Happy National Frozen Food Day!!!

In honor of this special day, I wanted to share some facts and tidbits about frozen food.  So grab a Popsicle, steam some frozen broccoli and pop a frozen pizza in the oven, because it is time to sit back and get educated.

-In the United States, the frozen food industry didn’t begin packaging frozen vegetables, fruits, or meats for resale until the early 1930s.
-The development of the frozen food industry brought convenience to American kitchens.
-The development of the frozen food industry also increased the year round availability of some seasonal foods.
-In 2016, Americans spent 53 billion dollars on frozen foods.

-Almost all foods can be safely frozen.*
-Safety is different than quality.  Although almost all foods can safely be frozen, not all frozen foods will taste great.
-Some frozen foods that will taste bad after freezing and defrosting:
Cream sauces
Sour Cream
Fried Foods
Imitation vanilla
Plain cooked rice

-It is best to freeze fresh food, not food that is near its expiration date.  The condition that a food is in before it is frozen will determine the quality of the food when it is thawed.

-Freezer burn does not make food unsafe!  It is just the result of air reaching the surface of a food.  Freezer burn can make food dry in spots and alter food color.  Cut off areas of freezer burn on food before or after cooking to improve overall quality.

-Freezing foods to zero degrees or lower keeps it safe.  Recommended storage times are purely for quality of food (not a safety issue).

*Canned foods and eggs with the shell should not be frozen.  Canned foods could explode, or expand just enough to break the air-tight seal that prevents bacterial growth.  What happens to eggs in a shell?  I did an experiment, or rather eggperiment...

As an egg freezes, the liquid inside expands causing the
egg to crack. This is bad, because icky gross bacteria
can get inside the egg.  
Pretend the egg didn't crack.  You can thaw it (in the shell) in your
refrigerator and then use it for cooking, but the results will not be
the same as a regular egg.  The syrupy egg yolk will not blend
well with other ingredients.  However, you can pull a frozen egg out
of you freezer and peel it (see above) for a fun experiment.
After one hour on a kitchen counter a peeled frozen egg
will look like this lumpy mess.
Two hours later your thawed egg will look like a regular
egg, and you will lose interest and be disappointed in
your egg experiment.

-Store foods at zero degrees (or lower) to retain vitamin content, color, flavor and texture.
-Freezing does not destroy the nutrients in foods. In fact, the frozen broccoli in your freezer that was frozen shortly after it was picked may have a higher level of nutrients than the “fresh” broccoli that has been in your refrigerator for a week.
-Frozen foods can safely be thawed in the refrigerator, microwave, or in cold water.
-Do not thaw frozen foods on the kitchen counter!  Leaving a food at room temperature for an extended period of time is a great way to let bacteria grow on your dinner before you cook it.
-If a frozen food is thawed in a refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze without cooking! Just be sure to refreeze within 3-4 days.
-Do not refreeze foods that have been out of the refrigerator for more than two hours.
-Frozen foods can be cooked without thawing.  It will take approximately one and a half times longer to cook a frozen food than a thawed food.

Can you imagine NOT having a freezer?  Keeping a freezer stocked with nutritious foods is a great way to guarantee that you always have something healthy to eat at home.  Sure, ice cream was the best selling frozen food item in 2016, but remember that frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as their unfrozen counterparts.  So go ahead, cook up some frozen green peas with dinner and whip out the pineapple chunks for a nice cold smoothie snack.  Today is a day to celebrate!

Enjoy Life!

Miss Nutralicious

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