Debunking freezer myths to help reduce food waste
Opening the fridge door after the festive period many of us will be confronted with some fantastic food that we haven’t quite managed to get through. It seems a complete waste to throw it away, but what else can be done?
Charging to the rescue is Festive Freeze, a new initiative launched by start-up charity Hubbub and supported by Marks and Spencer which aims to help consumers reduce food waste by informing and inspiring them to make the most of their festive leftovers. Independent research has shown that we could all cut food waste by half and save ourselves £250 a year by freezing food that would otherwise end up in the bin. A simple step that is great for the pocket and planet.
In talking to the public, we discovered that many people are reluctant to freeze food because of concerns about safety, nutrition and the cost of running a freezer. To help sort fact from fiction, Festive Freeze has created a five step myth buster to help persuade us to fall in love with our freezers:
1. Myth: Frozen foods are less nutritious
Not true. Frozen fruit and veg tend to be picked and frozen at the time of their peak nutritional levels. These levels do inevitably decrease over many months, but overall frozen food gives fresh produce a run for its money.
2. Myth: Freezers are expensive to run
Well, not as expensive as fridges! Together they contribute 11% of your yearly electricity consumption, with 7% of that taken up by the fridge. Running costs depend upon how full the freezer is kept, its location, energy efficiency,frost levels and how often the door is opened. The difference in yearly running costs between an A++ grade freezer and a C grade freezer is around £200.
3. Myth: Freezing food reduces its quality
Not if you do it right. Air coupled with moisture is the enemy of frozen food; ice crystals are the tale-telling sign of freezer burn.Extracting air from packs, using sealed containers and reducing exposed surface areas will see your goods through their hibernation.
4. Myth: There are lots of things you can’t freeze
Most things are easily frozen, bar strong liquor. There area few others to avoid: fine vegetables practically disintegrate, whilst frozen creams are prone to curdle whilst thawing. Canned foods, fizzy drinks and eggs in their shells tend to explode and coffee absorbs freezer smells. As for the rest? Full freeze ahead!
5. Myth: You can't refreeze frozen food
Refreezing food isn’t dangerous. The danger is that food can spoil before it’s refrozen. Freezing food does not kill bacteria, it just‘freezes’ their action. So once thawed, bacteria continue to multiply at the same rate they were multiplying before being frozen. As well has making it easier to freeze food, Festive Freeze has rounded up some of the nation’s favourite celebrity chefs to provide tasty recipes ideas using food most likely to be found in the fridge after Christmas.
The more adventurous might be intrigued to try Turkey Cigars created by Mark Hix, whilst Turkey Pilaf and Cranberry Turkey Pasties provide equally tasty but slightly more traditional options. As for that Christmas Pudding, we would definitely recommend trying Christmas Pudding ice cream provided by the team at Love Food Hate Waste.
For a full list of recipes and more information visit the Hubbub website https://www.hubbub.org.uk/freezer-top-tips