Should You Eat Food That's Freezer Burned?
By Sara Butler
We've all been there: You're digging through your refrigerator and freezer for something to eat and lo and behold! There's that piece of lasagna you put in there three months ago. But, it looks a little freezer burnt with ice crystals everywhere. Is it safe to eat? Here's what you need to know about freezer burn and if all that food in your freezer needs the old heave-ho or not.
Freezer Burn: What is it?
Freezer burn can show up in a few different ways. It can look like your food has been zapped by the hands of Queen Elsa, with ice crystals everywhere the eye can see. Or the color of the food may be altered, turning that chicken breast from a healthy peachy-pink to a grayish-brown that's, quite frankly, a little off-putting. What is happening here?
The truth is that freezer burn can strike any food, but it's more likely to be seen on food that has been living in your freezer for several months. If the food isn't properly stored, then it can get freezer burnt and ice crystals will form or it'll become discolored.
Is it Safe?
The USDA says that freezer burn simply makes the food dry. It's due to air coming into contact with your food. You can avoid this by storing your food in airtight containers that are specially designed for the freezer. These containers may be a bit more expensive, but they're worth it to save your food from freezer burn!
Freezer burnt food simply tastes bad and it's not harmful as long as you take precautions before you put it in the freezer. If you put hot food in the freezer, then it's more likely to form ice crystals to cause freezer burn and can warm up the freezer, putting all the other stored food in jeopardy.
Can You Still Use It?
If you go to grab your favorite food and notice that it's discolored, can you still use it? Sure! If the impacted area is small, then simply cut it away and enjoy the rest. But if the damage is pretty extensive and the food is inundated with ice crystals, throw it away. The food quality at that point won't be great.
Your freezer is a great tool for keeping food for long periods of time safe from spoilage, but there are other precautions that must be taken to ensure the food is still edible!
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