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How to tell if the food in your freezer has gone bad

How to tell if the food in your freezer has gone bad
From Global News - August 6, 2017

If youre chiefly in charge of food preparation in your house, the freezer can be a lifesaver. Whether it saves you the time of going to the supermarket to pick up ingredients or saves you from having to do anything other than defrost and serve, its one of lifes greatest kitchen commodities.

You can freeze almost anything, says Zahraa Qassim, a dietitian with Eat Right Ontario. Usually, frozen foods are safe indefinitely, but after a while, they wont taste as good once you thaw and cook them.

The ideal conditions for freezing food, whether its raw or cooked, is 0 C, although Qassim says raw food lasts longer in a frozen state. But proper storage is just as important as the temperature.

READ MORE: 5 things a Canadian food safety expert will never eat

Make sure the food is stored in freezer bags, and let any excess air out of the bag before sealing, she says.

Despite all of your best efforts, however, sometimes even food thats been frozen at the right time using the right techniques wont be as flavourful after a certain amount of time. While Qassim says the food will be safe to eat, the flavour quality will be compromised.

Look for the following signs in your frozen foods to determine if theyre still good.

Its freezer burnt

We all know freezer burn can be a food killerhow many tubs of ice cream have succumbed to it? But aside from its telltale crystalline peaks, it can look different on meat.

Freezer burnt beef has dry spots on it that look greyish or brown, Qassim says. Its caused by air coming in contact with the surface of the meat. Its still safe to eat, but the quality and taste wont be great.

Proteins that are discoloured, including pork, fish and chicken, will be dry and lacking in flavour after cooking.

Theres a change in texture

If your vegetables, which were once vibrant and crisp-looking, now appear dull and slimy, they wont taste great, although theyll be safe for consumption. If, however, youve defrosted chicken and find a similar texture, discard it.

It smells weird

In addition to preventing freezer burn and moisture loss, proper storage in an air-tight bag or container will also prevent the passage of smells from one type of food to another. But if youve defrosted something and it smells off, its probably not worth cooking.

You cant remember when you froze it

Its sitting in a frozen puddle

The packaging is ripped

How to safely thaw food

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