Released April 17, 2009
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - If home canning seems too complex, there’s an easy method of food preservation right in your kitchen: the freezer.
"Freezing is the easiest and least time-consuming way to preserve food," said Denise Brochetti, assistant professor-nutrition with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture. "Foods must be frozen at zero degrees Fahrenheit or below to retain nutrients, color, flavor, and texture, and to prevent the growth of microorganisms that cause it to spoil and lose quality."
As with any food venture, there are considerations: the cost of the freezer, cost of repair and maintenance and the cost of the electricity needed to operate the freezer at the correct temperature.
"You can save time and energy if you operate freezers properly," Brochetti said.
Consider the following to keep costs down.
- Chest freezers are less expensive to run, but upright freezers can be more convenient.
- Frost-free freezers cost as much or more to operate than conventional defrost freezers.
- Buy the size of freezer you need. Large freezers use more electricity.
- A full freezer uses less electricity per pound than a freezer that is half full.
- Do not place freezers in warm places, such as in the laundry room near heat-producing appliances, as freezers in warm places use more electricity.
- Keep the door closed as much as possible. Opening the door frequently uses more energy.
- Read the owner’s manual to make sure you are operating and cleaning your freezer correctly.
- When freezing food, be sure to use the proper packaging to protect its flavor, color, texture, and nutritional value.
- Containers should be moisture-vapor resistant, durable, leak proof, flexible, crack resistant at low temperatures and easy to seal and mark. Freezer bags and wraps are suitable for foods containing little or no liquid. Rigid plastic containers can be used for liquids.
For more information about food preservation and safety, visit http://www.uaex.edu or contact your county extension office.
Contact: Lamar James, (501) 671-2187, email@example.com