Today, we are going to share some food safety tips. When you decide to start saving time and money by creating freezer meals for your family you have to remember these basic Freezer Meal Food Safety Tips to ensure you are providing not only the best tasting but the safest food for your family. Saving time in the long run doesn’t mean scrimping on proper safety practices during prep time.
Freezer Meal Food Safety Tips
- HANDLE RAW MEAT SAFELY: The idea with freezer meals is to have something that can go straight from freezer to oven or freezer to refrigerator to microwave and save time you would normally be standing over a stove. This means that you will often be cooking meats ahead of time in large quantities. As you would any other time, making sure to wash your hands before and after handling raw meat, not cross contaminating foods, containers, appliances or utensils and always bringing meats to the appropriate temperature during initial cooking as well as reheating are mandatory.
- DON’T TAKE UNSAFE SHORTCUTS WHEN THAWING FOODS: If the meal or meat you are taking from the freezer requires thawing, don’t set it on the counter or leave it out at room temperature to thaw. Practice safety by leaving it in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours to thaw (depending on item/size) or using appropriate settings on your microwave. Remember foil baking pans do not go in the microwave.
- COOL FOODS SAFELY PRIOR TO FREEZING: Hot soups, stews and meats should be properly cooled prior to freezing. If you place piping hot food in the freezer not only does it take longer to freeze and creates condensation that results in freezer burn, but you also run the risk of the heat from the food dropping your freezer temperature to an unsafe level in the interim. Always cool by placing food in a container in a sink of cold water and ice until it reaches a safe temperature or by placing in the refrigerator for a few hours prior to putting in the freezer.
- BE AWARE OF SAFE USE BY DATES: Permanent markers are too inexpensive to go without one while preparing your freezer meals. Make sure to always properly date what you are storing with the food/meal name and the date it was prepared. This is especially important when it comes to meat products. Check the food safety guidelines provided by the FDA to make sure you are following the safest practices for your family.
Saving time and money by preparing meals in advance and freezing them is a great way to help your family but if you don’t follow the simple practices above you are defeating the purpose all together. Make sure to always be aware of what you are handling, how it has been prepared and the best practices for the individual food items. Freezer meal food safety is simple to accomplish if you just take a little time to educate yourself on proper technique.