I Hate Freezer Burn! {Here is How to Prevent it}

I love freezer meal cooking! Here are the best ways to avoid freezer burn - great ideas!

Freezer burn is no fun and can make your food taste, well, not so great. Basically, freezer burn is caused when water is pulled to the surface of food, which causes the rest of the food to become dehydrated. This often causes the flavor to change as well and can make food smell. Ew!

As you know, freezer meals are one of my favorite ways to save time at dinner. They’re great if you’re on the go–you can avoid drive-thrus and still have a great meal for your family.

Here are some tips to help prevent freezer burn for your freezer meals:

  • Avoid putting hot food in the freezer. If you cook some of your freezer meal ahead of time, put it in the refrigerator to cool off completely before you stick in the freezer.
  • Keep temperatures below freezing. Freezer burn only occurs if the temperatures fluctuate above 0 degrees F. If you’re not sure what your freezer’s temperature is, get a freezer thermometer to keep track.
  • Don’t leave the door to the freezer open. Along the same lines, you don’t want to stand in front of the freezer with the door open for long lengths of time. This will cause the temperature in the freezer to rise, making it likely to rise above freezing.
  • Package your food tightly. Use whatever you can to package your frozen meals in a tight container to prevent food from being exposed to air. There are different methods for this.
    • For soups, put in a plastic container with a little room on top (since liquids will expand). Put some plastic wrap or foil over the surface of the soup, and then add the lid.
    • For freezer meals in large casserole containers, you could add plastic wrap, foil or wax paper on top and then cover with aluminum foil or a lid.
    • Use thick freezer bags or vacuum-sealed bags to store food. With freezer bags, remove as much air as possible such as pushing out air before you seal the bag or using a straw to suck out the air before sealing. For extra protection (i.e. if you’re planning to freeze something for extended period of time), wrap the bag in aluminum foil. You can sometimes find vacuum sealers and bags at yard sales for cheap!
    • For baked goods and meat, wrap the item in foil and then place in a freezer bag. 
  • Don’t put too much in your freezer at once. To prevent the temperature in the freezer from fluctuating too much, avoid putting too much food in the freezer at one time that is not already frozen. You’ll want to keep it to about 2 to 3 lbs of non-frozen food for every cubic foot that your freezer can hold.
  • Fill your freezer to about 75% or more. Having your lots of frozen food in your freezer can actually help your freezer from having to work as hard and can help keep the temperature steady.

I hope these tips help. What do you do to prevent freezer burn for your freezer meals?

Interested in freezer meals? Here is my post on how to make 50 freezer meals in a day.

—> See ALL of my Freezer Meals recipes here.

Oh and make sure and subscribe to my email e-newsletter so you can read when I post new freezer meals along with all kinds of great money saving deals each day.32 Comments

I Hate Freezer Burn! {Here is How to Prevent it} was last modified: May 17th, 2015 by Karrie

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Comments

  1. When I buy bread from the store, on sale, I will put old bread wrappers over the original (I try to use the same kind as the original). Usually I have 3 layers of plastic bags-the open end of one stuck in the closed end of the one on top. This allows the bread to freeze without as much freezer burn. I have had some loaves for 6 months or more in the freezer that come out as good as the day I put it in.

  2. I love your site!!! Thank you! Marie

  3. My grandmother did this to keep her meat from getting freezer burn – it always worked. She cleaned and saved the waxed cardboard milk cartons they used to have, and then opened it all the way so the opening was square. She put her chicken or other meat in it, filled it almost to the top with water, sealed the top and stuck it in the freezer! I’m not sure what you could use now a days.

  4. Rinse the ice crystals off before defrosting and there is no freezer burn taste.

  5. Fab tips – didn’t know the one about keeping to 75% full or less – makes sense though!

  6. Brittany Bentley says:

    I have a little chest freezer that is used for the “overflow” items, so it isn’t full all the time. I like to stick a few bags of block ice in the bottom and it helps control the freezer burn. 🙂 You have awesome tips, thanks!!!

    • Oh great idea with the ice blocks! It would also help retain the frozen foods if there was a power outage.

      • I have three or four (reused from distilled water) jugs filled with tap water that stay in my chest freezer all the time. They do help with freezer burn. I use one of them in my cooler on shopping day. Also, I fill empty rubbing alcohol containers two thirds with water and let them freeze flat for ice packs for my smaller coolers. They fit nicely since they are less full and flatter. Another added benefit is, if I need tap water I can let one of them thaw out! I came across your site yesterday and I am already finding some of my favorites. I appreciate your hard work and your willingness to share it with us.

    • Valerie says:

      We also have a small chest freezer. I never thought we would use it as much as we do. I love this thing!

      We store our large bags of flour in the bottom. This keeps the flour bug free (we had a problem in the past with weevils that completely took over our pantry — ick). When we buy bulk pancake mixes etc. they also go straight into the freezer. No more bugs ’round here.

      • I keep my cake flour in the freezer but for the rest of my flour, sugar, pasta, etc. I add bay leaves on top. Apparently bugs are not fond of bay leaves. They leave no taste on the food and – no bugs…

  7. Hi,

    First time member here. my hubby and I got one of those food saver vacuum systems, it works great. We got 25lbs of hamburger and divided it up in hamburger patties two per bag, 10lbs of hamburger for meatballs, and 9lbs for meat sauce. I usually wait till London broil goes on sale, like by one get one or a new thing our local store started 50% off all roasts and London broil. Then we usually go nutso on the roasts and get like 12 London broil. We packed the roasts in the bigger freezer bags and had to cut the London broil in half to fit them into the gallon size bags Then we got 40lbs of chicken thighs and boneless breast. We divided up the thighs to 4/bag and the breast to 2/bag. Then came the pork chops and pork roasts. the pork chops were buy one get one so u can imagine I went crazy on them. The pork roasts we aren’t too keen on so we only got 2 of them.
    The only thing I had a problem with was freezing the celery, fresh carrots, and fresh mushrooms. they all got mushy. I called Food Saver and I was told that I should NOT freeze the mushrooms together with other veggies because the fresh mushrooms give off a gas and it’s not good and to pare cook them before freezing them. I love using fresh veggies in my soups and I want to freeze a lot of veggies so it’ll save time when making my soups. How would I cook off onions to freeze, boil them or what, how about the mushrooms and celery boil them, too??

    • Hello Cindy – the only way I usually freeze celery is in my beef barley stew – so it’s mixed in with the tomato sauce. Seems to protect it somewhat. I wouldnt advise just freezing it alone and expecting it to be great tasting. As for carrots you have to blanche them first or they won’t turn out great. In fact most of the time I prefer to add in my carrots fresh to my recipes so I avoid adding them to recipes. Good luck!

      • Alysa Fleisher says:

        I have never had a problem with this. I cut up tons and tons of veggies and put them in freezer baggies in my freezer in the door which gets a lot more ‘air action’. I cook with them all the time and never have had any issues at all. But I only do this with things really that I am cutting up small. I essentially make mirapoix but I do lots of other veggies also. This way I can add extra veggies into all sorts of dishes quickly and easily. For instance my son is sure he hates zucchini. I make zucchini muffins and the spaghetti sauce always gets zucchini. The bigger veggies like broccoli and cauliflower my husband complains if I have ever tried to freeze it. If I am making the cauliflower into rice he doesn’t complain though.

        Take care,

        Alysa

        • I freeze veggies (sliced or diced bell pepper, diced onions, whole green beans, whole snow peas and sliced mushrooms) raw with no problem. The trick is to cut up everything you want to freeze and place it in the portion you would use in one recipe (I use 1 cup portions in sandwich bags). Then place all your sandwich bags inside of a gallon freezer bag. The veggies are great for cooking but not good for using raw in salads after they have been frozen. Use them right from the freezer into your soup/ casserole/ stir fry or if you need them thawed out place a folded up paper towel in the sandwich bag and place in the refrigerator to thaw. For the mushrooms- do not clean them under running water because it will ruin them. Same thing about blanching them, they take on water and turn to mush. Just slice the mushrooms and try to get out all the air like Karrie says 🙂

    • I blanch my potatoes, carrots and celery before freezing them. They turned out just fine for soups and such! Hope this helps 🙂

  8. Marsha Copple says:

    I caught your site out of the corner of my eye and thought….wow I have to go see what this site is all about and I am so glad I did. I love your site. I sit for hours looking through people’s sites…at ALL of their beautiful pictures, knowledge, recipes, quick fixes, DIY’s and Quotes. It doesn’t matter if you are from North, South, East,West, or the other side of the World, I just like looking….kind of like window shopping when you are broke. I love the Knowledge people have about anything and everything. I have learned a few things since I have stopped by, so Thank You Very Much for Sharing your knowledge, Beauty, and Friendship. I’ll be back, I signed up for your newsletter. And see you soon!!!

  9. jennifer says:

    for casserole type of meals like chill you mention can you place it in the freezer in a glass casserole dish or is there the problem with the glass cracking when the food expands?

    • Happy.MoneySaver says:

      You can use glass dishes in the freezer but make sure it is completely cool before you freeze it and then let it thaw before you cook it! 🙂

  10. A tip I learned from my mom: to keep your freezer full at all times, freeze water in milk jugs to fill the empty space. Your freezer will run less and keep a more constant temp.

  11. Thanks for the website.

    Your second bullet above doesn’t make sense to me, at least not completely. You say “Keep temperatures below freezing. Freezer burn only occurs if the temperatures fluctuate above 0 degrees F.” Do you mean “temperatures fluctuate above 0 degree C”, perhaps? 0 degrees F is still well below freezing…

    • Stephen says:

      0 F is only well below freezing for water. Remember that the water in meat is not pure water, it has a lot of stuff dissolved and suspended in it. In most, if not all, cases, dissolving something into water raises its boiling point and lowers its freezing point. That’s why water in the ocean can be well below 32 F and still be liquid. 0 F is a pretty good estimate of the freezing point of most meats, so 0 C is actually way too warm to freeze them.

  12. Vicki H. says:

    I absolutely love your site. You have terrific ideas and recipes. Keep it coming for those of us out here who benefit from your experience and efforts. Thank you!!

  13. Marcelo says:

    I use freezer bags. Not ziplock. With a handheld vacuum. I suck the air out. Holding tight at bag top. I have an extra clean vacuum long tip for that. When bag clings food, while V. still on, I twists several turns the food part to seal the bag. Now hold that bag neck. Take from V. continue twisting and give a not. Long freezer bags are better. Vacuumed at cheap.

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