5 Food Safety Tips for your Next Freezer Meal
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5 Food Safety Tips for your Next Freezer Meal

Posted on Thursday, July 10th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Freezer meals are an excellent time saver!  Here are some food safety tips that will help you to keep your family healthy with freezer meals. Freezer meals are great! They give you a quick way to feed your family dinner when you don’t have a lot of time to cook. They are also healthier and less expensive than a pizza delivery or a trip to the nearest fast food place. Here is some food safety advice regarding freezer meals.

Is Frozen Food Safe?
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service says that food that has been constantly stored at 0 degrees F will always be safe. Freezing inactivates bacteria, yeasts, and molds that can be present in food. Once the food has been thawed, those microbes can become active again and begin to multiply.

Before you Freeze Hot Food
AllRecipes.com points out that before you freeze hot food it is very important to let it cool down. If you put hot food directly into the freezer it may not freeze uniformly. In other words, the outer edges of the food will freeze hard very quickly. At the same time, the inside of the food may not cool in time to prevent it from spoiling.

How to Freeze Hot Food Quickly
Put the pan, or dish, of hot food in a sink that has been filled with ice water. The water will cool down the pan and the food inside it quicker than if you let it cool at room temperature. If you are cooling a soup, stew, or sauce, it helps to stir it after putting the pot into a sink that has been filled with ice water. The stirring helps it to cool evenly.

Other Helpful Tips
Don’t put the entire cooled casserole into the freezer! Instead, divide it into several individual portions. Store each portion separately. Make sure to write the date that the food was frozen, and what it is, on the bag or container it now sits in. Don’t stack up the cooled individual portions in your freezer. Put them side by side, in a single layer, until they completely freeze.

Remove as much air as possible from freezer bags before sealing them closed. If you are freezing a liquid (like a soup or broth) leave a little extra room in the bag or container you are freezing it in. This is important because liquids can expand when frozen.

Best Ways to Thaw Frozen Foods
You can safely thaw frozen food by taking it out of the freezer and putting into your refrigerator. It is a slow method, but will work. For a faster method, place the frozen food in a leak-proof bag and put it in a large container of cold water. The fastest way to thaw food is to put the food in the microwave on the defrost setting. Make sure you cook the food immediately after that.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.