Frozen food to preserve its quality and safety
Since the introduction of the food frozen in the 1930s, increasingly is found in supermarkets a greater variety of these products, from vegetables and herbs frozen until precociousness meals or fabulous ice cream. In this article Food Today analyzes the process of freezing, its role in the preservation of food, and the character, practical and varied of frozen products.
The use of cold to preserve foods dates back to prehistory; back then, snow and ice was used to preserve the hunted prey. It is said that Sir Francis Bacon contracted pneumonia, which would end his life after trying to freeze chickens by filling them in snow. However, had to wait until the 1930s to attend the first frozen food marketing, it was made possible by the discovery of a method of quick freezing.
Why the freezing preserves food and keeps them safe?
Freezing slows the deterioration of food and prolongs its security by avoiding that microorganisms are developed and slowing the enzyme activity that makes food throw to lose. When the water of food freezes, turns into ice crystals and ceases to be available to microbes need for their development. However, the majority of micro-organisms (with the exception of parasites) are still living during the freeze, therefore need to manipulate food with care both before and after it.
What effect does freezing in the nutritional content of foods?
The freeze has a minimum effect on the nutritional content of food. Some fruits and vegetables are boiled (introducing them in water boiling for a short period of time) before freezing to deactivate enzymes and yeasts that could continue causing damage, even in the freezer. This method may cause the loss of part of the vitamin C (from 15 to 20%). Despite this loss, the fruits and vegetables are frozen in excellent conditions shortly after being harvested and are usually best nutritive qualities than their equivalent “fresh”. Occasionally, harvested products take days to be selected, transported and distributed to retailers. During this time, the food may progressively lose vitamins and minerals. Berries and green vegetables can lose up to 15% of its content of vitamin C a day if they are stored at room temperature.
In the case of frozen poultry or beef and fish, are hardly lost vitamins or minerals because the freeze does not affect the proteins, or vitamins A and D, or minerals which they contain. During thawing, there is a loss of fluid containing vitamins and water-soluble mineral salts, which will be lost in cooking the product unless you take advantage of this fluid.
Is there any food that should not be frozen?
Freezing can damage some foods since the formation of ice crystals break cell membranes. This fact has no effects are negative in terms of security (in fact, also killed bacterial cells), however, the food was less crunchy or firm. Food that does not resist the freezing include salad vegetables, mushrooms and berries.
Foods with higher content of fat, such as cream and some sauces, tend to cut off when they freeze.
Commercial freezing is fast, which means that the ice crystals that form are smaller. In this way, reduces the damage to cell membranes and is preserved even more quality.
How long We can keep the food in the freezer?
Food can remain in a domestic freezer between 3 and 12 months safely and without that its quality is affected. The time varies depending on the food in question; It is advisable to follow the indications of the label of the product.
Tips for freezing
When freeze food, it is desirable to take into account a number of recommendations:
- Freezers should always be – 18 ° C or less.
- Unlike fridges, freezers work best when they are filled with and without much space between food.
- It is important to protect the food to avoid freezing Burns using special bags and plastic containers.
- Do not insert hot in the freezer foods that increase the temperature of the freezer adversely affecting other foods. Cool foods before freezing them.
- Make sure that the frozen foods have thawed completely before cooking them. Foods that have been frozen and thawed should never return to freeze.
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