There’s nothing quite as annoying as bulk buying meat or batch cooking dinners and then storing it in the freezer, only to find a few months down the line that it has become freezer burnt. So, how do you get rid of the freezer burn taste? Or is all lost?
How Do You Get Rid of Freezer Burn Taste?
Unfortunately, you’ll never be able to eradicate the taste of freezer burn on foods. However, you can cut away any excessively freezer-burnt portions and you can use freezer-burnt foods with strong flavours to mask it.
The bad news is that once any food is freezer burnt, there’s unlikely to be anything you can do to completely remove the taste from your food. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to remove some of the taste:
1) Cut Away Freezer Burn
The first step you can take is to cut away any obvious signs of freezer burn. If a particular corner of a steak is heavily freezer-burnt or if a couple of cubes of diced chicken thigh are covered in ice crystals then simply discard them or cut them off.
Although it can be disheartening to throw out, what was, perfectly good food. It’s far better to save the majority of your food than ruin your entire meal.
2) Pair With Strong Flavours
Garlic, chilli, spices and herbs are the things you’ll want to pair freezer-burnt food with. Freezer-burnt can become bland. It doesn’t have a particularly unpleasant flavour but it can just make your ingredients a bit dull.
This means you need to spend time adding flavour and masking the fact that it has been freezer burnt. Try a dry spice rub (such as this all-purpose option) or a quick herby marinade, or cook it in a rich tomato-based sauce.
3) Mince, Shred, Grind or Blend
The texture is one element that will be near-impossible to rectify on freezer-burnt foods. Freezer burn removes the moisture from your food which leaves it dry, fibrous and chewy. This is particularly prominent in meats.
To fix this, you’ll want to break the impacted food down by mincing, shredding, grinding or blending it; depending on the ingredient, of course!
Freezer-burnt vegetables can be used in soups and smoothies. Freezer-burnt chicken can be cooked, shredded and then added to pies and stews. Freezer-burnt beef should be minced and turned into koftas or burgers.
What is Freezer Burn?
Freezer burn is caused when a substance goes from being a solid to a gas without becoming a liquid during the transformation. This chemical process is called sublimation.
In layman’s terms, the ice turns into a gas without melting. The result is that the food dries out and causes pockets of dryness within the food thanks to oxidation. This is why it’s vital that food is kept airtight in the freezer.
What Does Freezer Burn Look Like?
The obvious signs of freezer burn are white patches or ice crystals that has formed on the surface of your food. Imagine what your car windscreen looks like on frosty morning – if your food has the same appearance on its surface then it has been freezer burnt.
Some foods, especially meat and fish, can also lose their colour, becoming dull. They will often have dry patches too.
What Does Freezer Burn Taste Like?
Although some people find that freezer burn has a bitter or sour note, generally speaking, freezer burn doesn’t actually taste of anything.
As freezer burn removes moisture (and therefore flavour) from foods, it can make ingredients bland and flavourless. But, ultimately, freezer burn itself doesn’t have a taste that you can distinguish.
How Do You Prevent Freezer Burn?
Fortunately, you can take several steps to prevent freezer burn from happening in the first place. Of course, this doesn’t help you now if your food is freezer burnt but will help you in future:
- Keep the Freezer Door Shut – Frozen food needs to be kept at a constant temperature so it remains stable. If you’re constantly opening and closing the freezer door or if you leave it open for extended periods of time then you’ll change the temperature and, with that, the moisture levels.
- Freeze Foods When Cooled – If you put hot food directly into the freezer, the food will experience such an extreme temperature change that this can immediately lead to freezer burn. The other issue to consider is that putting hot food into the freezer can impact the temperature of the freezer and, therefore, all your other food.
- Use Airtight Containers or Good-Quality Freezer Bags – It’s vital that food is kept airtight when in the freezer. If air can get it, then the surface of your food will dry out resulting in freezer burn. Either use containers with tight-fitting lids or good-quality freezer bags. Do not use generic, sandwich bags which will let air seep in.
- Wrap Food Tightly – As an additional measure for keeping food airtight, wrap each item in a sheet of cling film or aluminium foil to further prevent air from getting in. This works particularly well for freezing food you cannot get into a container such as a whole lasagne or meat pie.
- Avoid Storing Food for Extended Periods – Most food can be stored in the freezer for around 6 months (some less, some more but you can search on FreezeIt to find out which). Beyond this, you increase the chances of your food becoming freezer burnt.
Still got queries about freezer burn and how to get rid of it in different foods? Then these additional FAQs might help you out:
You can cut away any severely freezer-burnt pieces from your chicken. If the freezer burn is excessive then you’ll struggle to remove the freezer burn taste from chicken. Instead, try cooking the meat with strong herbs, spices and marinades to mask the flavour.
As vegetables tend to be quite small, the first thing to do is to remove any individual pieces that are freezer burnt. If the freezer burn is widespread then try using the vegetables in soups, stews and stocks instead.
No, freezer burn is safe to eat and will not make you sick. However, it will make food taste odd, give it a peculiar texture and alter the colour which is why you may decide to avoid eating it.
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