During a pandemic many of us depending on the country are still a long time indoors working from home and in some cases experiencing lockdowns.

In most cases when we go to supermarkets we try to buy a good amount of food so that we don’t have to buy them again for a certain period of time. Here are some tips on how to preserve some foods for longer!

If the process is correct, frozen foods lose little nutrients compared to fresh ones. On the other hand, they last much longer than if left in the refrigerator: at an approximate temperature of -18º, the activity of the microorganisms is reduced, as well as the deterioration .

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Red fruits, such as cherries, strawberries and raspberries, adapt well to the freezing process and can be consumed fresh when leaving the freezer. But the ones with a lot of water, like watermelon and melon are soft when they are defrosted. Others darken, such as pear and banana. In these cases, the indication of use is for the preparation of juices, jellies and syrups.

Vegetable preparation

To freeze vegetables, they must go through the bleaching technique, which is scalding in boiling water and then cooling in a bowl with water and ice. On average, it takes 35 seconds for more consistent vegetables, such as carrots, and 15 seconds for the most tender and delicate vegetables, such as green beans, zucchini, spinach, kale or cabbage. Before going to the freezer, it is necessary to remove the water as much as possible, so as not to form crystals that will compromise the quality of the vegetables.

The package

Vacuum sealing is ideal because the food does not come into contact with the cold, dry air in the freezer. But it also works to use hermetically sealed bags, free of Bisphenol A (BPA). Just remove as much air before closing the package – you can do this by sucking on a clean straw positioned in the corner of the bag. Glass containers are also good options. The size must be adequate to the amount of food, to avoid excess air inside and also the possibility of accumulation of liquids, which generate larger ice crystals.

Ready meals

Dishes already prepared such as beans and soups should be spiced slightly before going to the freezer, because freezing accentuates the seasonings. It is also worth reducing cooking, so that when they are heated they are at the right point. There is no point in freezing already fried foods: the humidity ends the crunchiness of the food. Cooked noodles also soften when defrosting.

Defrost only in the refrigerator

In the refrigerator, the attack of the bacteria is slower, as the gentle defrosting process helps to maintain the color, flavor and texture of the food. Leaving food over the sink to defrost faster is always a risk, due to the proliferation of bacteria at room temperature.

Not to defrost and refreeze

You took it out of the freezer and didn’t prepare it, what do you do? Freezing again should not be an option, because it increases the amount of bacteria in the food, which can cause poisoning. Thawed, the food is again the target of bacteria, so it will be refrozen with more microorganisms. To make matters worse, by defrosting again, it will further increase the proliferation of bacteria.

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Individual servings

Ideally, food should be frozen in small portions, suitable for the number of people in the house, so that they can be eaten in a meal. Re-freezing leftovers, as explained above, is not indicated.

Take it easy with the freezer

Use a maximum of ¾ of the maximum freezer capacity. When the freezer is too full, not all of the food is close to the walls of the freezer. Heaped, they receive less cold air, take longer to freeze and, for this reason, their validity is compromised.

They must be away from the freezer

Some foods are not good after thawing: mayonnaise, raw vegetables, jellies, egg whites, creamy puddings based on cornstarch and potatoes. The root only works in the freezer if it is in a preparation, with other ingredients. For example, a mashed potato mashed potato can be frozen.

It doesn’t last a lifetime

The frozen ones also have expiration dates, which must be respected – to help the organization, identify the containers with name, freezing date and expiration date. Some examples:

Raw beef: up to 12 months.

Sausage and bacon: 2 months.

Hamburgers and chicken: 9 months.

Lean fish: 6 months.

Ready meals: from 15 to 30 days.

Fruits and vegetables: from 1 to 3 months.

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It is common to associate fresh food with quality food. So far, nothing more. The problem is that vegetables are poorer in nutrients from the moment they are harvested, because they are influenced by climatic factors, transport, storage and distribution conditions. And the simple act of preparing them for the meal also contributes to vitamins and and mineral salts retreat. Freezing stops this process, because it slows down the speed of many of the enzymatic reactions that oxidize the food, changing the color, flavor, texture and nutrients.

Having ingredients or dishes ready for consumption in your freezer can save you from hours in the kitchen or from consuming something that is not so healthy.

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