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Freezing: Some Common Questions

by: Val Hillers, Ph.D. , Extension Food Specialist


Which method of food preservation will retain the most nutrients-freezing or canning?
Freezing probably offers a better method than canning for retaining nutrients if food is properly packaged, stored below 0°F (-18°C) and used within a reasonable length of time.

Which is more energy efficient-freezing or canning?
Freezing requires less time and human energy, but more fuel energy than canning to preserve foods.

Which type of freezer usually uses more electricity to maintain a freezer at 0°F?
An upright freezer usually uses more electricity to maintain 0°F (-18°C) than does a chest type freezer.

I really don't want to blanch my vegetables.  Will they be safe to eat?
Yes, but their quality will deteriorate rapidly.

What causes freezer burn?  How should foods be packaged to prevent freezer burn?
Freezer burn is caused by improper packaging.  Foods should be packaged in moisture/vapor proof or moisture/vapor resistant materials that suit the kind, shape, size, and consistency of the food.  Proper packaging is especially important in frost-free freezers that have a fan blowing over the food, drawing the moisture from the packages.

How can I remove the odors from a freezer or refrigerator?

  1. First wash the interior with a mild dishwashing detergent and rinse with a solution of baking soda and water.

  2. If the odor remains, wash the interior with one of the following:

    • 1 cup vinegar in 1 gallon of water

    • - or -

    • 1 cup ammonia in 1 gallon of water,

    • Caution: Do not combine vinegar and ammonia in one solution.

  3. If the odor remains, turn off the freezer or refrigerator and put a pan of activated charcoal in it for several days to absorb the odor.

Sometimes odors cannot be removed by any of these methods.  In that case, the manufacturer may be able to provide assistance.



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