Refrigerator keeps food fresh for a long time by keeping food in low temperature that decays the growth of different bacteria in the food items. It is important to maintain proper temperature inside the refrigerator. If food is stored in refrigerator improperly or for an extended period of time, then the food items will experience freezer burn.
What is Freezer Burn
A condition where food gets damaged due to dehydration inside the freezer or refrigerator is called freezer burn. It occurs when outer air comes in contact of the food item and sucks its moisture out of the surface and dries it. Due to low temperature inside the freezer cabin, the air remains dry. The moisture of air chills into ice and deposits on the wall of the freezer. So, due to low humidity of the air, the moisture of the food surface gets evaporated and consumed by the air. As a result, the food inside the refrigerator experience freezer burn.
Freezer burn will not make food contaminated. It is still edible and safe but will definitely taste and look bad. Freezer burn is a common phenomenon in direct cool refrigerators. Direct cool refrigerators chills through natural convection. It chills the inside of the refrigerator and food items inside the freezer and refrigerator instantly. So for most of the direct cool model, it is tough to maintain suitable moisture for food items inside the cabin. As a result, freezer burn occurs more often in this model.
Frost free refrigerators are able to maintain a more stable temperature inside the cabin. Freezer burn is less common in frost free models compared to that of direct cool models.
How to Prevent Freezer Burn
Following some simple rules when freezing food item will reduce freezer burn tremendously.
As the main reason behind freezer burn is direct exposure to air in chilling temperature, use sealed container for storing cooked foods and leftovers inside the refrigerator. It is also recommended for raw items. It helps to decay evaporation from items and also prevents contamination as harmful bacteria can not transfer to the cooked items from raw foods. It also helps you keep the refrigerator free from bad odor.
You can also put raw items like meat or fish in a plastic bag, or wrap them with aluminum foil before storing in the freezer. It will help prevent freezer burn.
If your refrigerator comes with a moisture locked vegetable drawer, then it will keep vegetable items and fruits away from freezer burn. But if the drawer is not moisture locked, then you can use separate bags to keep different vegetable items. It will also keep items separate from each other and accessibility will be easier.
Keeping food in the refrigerator for a very long period of time will create freezer burn even if you use above mentioned tricks. So do not keep same item frozen for long. Use FIFO (First in first out) rule in using frozen food. The item that was stored inside the refrigerator or freezer first should be used first. In this way you can avoid freezer burn.