Freezer burn is simply the
dehydration of any food, be it meat, vegetable or fruit. Many people don’t realize
that ice evaporates in a freezer. Sometimes you find that the ice
cubes in the ice cube tray are about half the size they should be. The
tray was full when it went into the freezer. The ice cubes evaporated.
Today’s “frost free” freezers and refrigerators take
the moisture out of the air in the freezer, but they also take it out
of anything that isn’t tightly wrapped or sealed and this causes
The same evaporation process happens with meat
that isn’t sealed
in an air tight wrapping. The moisture in the meat evaporates;
leaving only desiccated reddish or white fibrous cell walls that weigh
a tiny fraction of the original piece of meat. Even if only the
surface of the meat freezer burned, the tainted taste of the remaining
meat makes it pretty much inedible.
In chatting with good friends over lunch recently,
I was surprised to learn that freezer burn is apparently a very common
friends mentioned that every few weeks they discover something in their
freezer that they’d forgotten about and now had to throw it out
because it was freezer burned. They had just thrown out two packages
of boneless chicken breast with freezer burn.
How long had it been in the freezer? Three, maybe four weeks,
they answered. How could that be, I wanted to know? “Oh,
you know, you think you’ll use it, you don’t, so you throw
it in the freezer.”
And how did you wrap it before “throwing it in the freezer?” It
was already wrapped, they told me.
You can’t do that. Basically they didn’t know anything
about freezing meat. It is possible to freeze meat the right way
and not have freezer burn.
Meats in the meat counter are minimally wrapped, intended to be used
while fresh, and are not intended to be frozen in those wrappings.
If you’re going to be freezing meat and avoiding freezer burn,
the meat must be fully and tightly sealed. I sometimes run across
steaks, homemade blocks of eggplant Parmesan, chuck roasts that I’ve
made into corned beef or pastrami, and sundry other foodstuffs, in the
freezer compartments of our refrigerators for 2 years and more, without
a trace of freezer burn, as fresh as the day they went into the freezer.
Click on freezer burn to proceed.