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Once defrosted, why we should not refreeze food?

Freezing will prevent bacteria from multiplying but it does not destroy them. Once frozen food has been thawed, the bacteria may multiply with renewed energy. If food is frozen and thawed repeatedly, bacteria could reach dangerous levels.

You can refreeze food safely if it has been cooked after thawing. However, freezing also results in some loss of moisture and if food is repeatedly frozen and thawed, it will become unpleasantly dry. Fibrous food like meat also loses its texture as it thaws, and will become flabby if it is refrozen and thawed again, say in a casserole.

11:27:48 on 11/23/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

How should fruits be frozen?

Fruits for freezing must be just ripe, and of prime quality. Wash them only if necessary and dry well. Do not freeze fruit in contact with all metal, including foil.

Soft fruit such as blackberries, black and redcurrant, gooseberries and raspberries are best frozen separately on trays lined with baking paper as they will keep better and defrost easily. When solid, pack them into freezer bags or boxes. Berries can also be packed with sugar before freezing so that, as it thaws, the fruit and sugar combine to become a syrup. Sprinkle 125 g (1/2 cup) of sugar over each 500 g of fruit before freezing.

Apples, peaches, pears and apricots tend to turn brown as they thaw, so freeze them in an acidulated syrup made from 1 liter of water, 500 g (2 cups) of sugar, and the juice of 1 lemon. Allow 300 ml of sugar syrup for each 700 g of fruit.

Whole bananas will turn brown in the freezer; mash them with lemon juice before freezing and defrost to use in cooking.

09:38:50 on 11/23/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What to do when the freezer breaks down, or when there is a power outage?

Check first to see if the plug has been pulled out, a fuse has blown or the thermostat has been misset before calling for maintenance. And keep the freezer door closed while you check. If there has been a power cut, food remains solid and safe for about 16-24 hours, providing the door has not been opened.

If you have advance notice of a cut in power, pack out any gaps in the freezer with crumpled newspaper and do not open the door during the cut, or for 2 hours afterwards. Food that is still solid with ice crystals is safe to eat. Foods that have defrosted may be cooked and eaten, but ice cream or foods that contain cream are best thrown away, as are commercially packaged meals near their expiry date.

If your freezer does break down and some of the contents deteriorate, leaving an unpleasant smell, wipe out the inside of the freezer with warm water to which you have added a little bicarbonate of soda or some vinegar or vanilla essence. In addition, a small dish of bicarbonate of soda placed in the refrigerator will help to absorb the smell of strong foods.

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07:13:35 on 11/23/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -

What containers and wrappings are best for freezing food?

Heavyweight plastic or polythene bags are the cheapest and most effective wrappers because they take various shapes of food without creating too many air pockets.

The freezer atmosphere is very drying and direct contact with the icy air may cause 'freezer burn' (dry discoloured patches), so most foods need to be carefully wrapped before freezing. Whatever airtight container you use. It must be robust enough to withstand some rough handling in the freezer.

Pour liquids into plastic freezer bags set in rectangular containers to freeze. Leave 2.5 cm between the top of the liquid and the container to allow for expansion. Once solid, lift the freezer bags out of the containers (which allows the containers to be used elsewhere). The frozen bags of liquid can then be stacked neatly to save space.

Label frozen foods immediately with the contents and the date. Keep a record of what is in the freezer so that you remember what is there and can plan to use the food systematically in date order.

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06:36:52 on 11/23/06 by Webmaster - Questions and Answers -