Freezing is a simple way to preserve summertime bounty. With protection, frozen foods retain the nutritional content, color, texture, and flavor they have when harvested.

Starting at 0° F, microbes become dormant, so microorganisms that cause foods to spoil stop growing. As a result, you can eat food that has been frozen for years. Their quality may change, but not their safety. (Generally, preserving is for items you don’t intend to eat raw.)

Air and moisture are the enemies of frozen food. Unless frozen food encounters them, it is safe to eat. Plastic and silicone bags made for freezers offer the best protection. Both containers and bags keep air and moisture from foods. However, you can squeeze the air out of bags but not containers. Frequent freezers should invest in a vacuum sealer for their bags.

Because items with high-water content, , become mushy when frozen, you should pack them as they will be needed. For example, you should peel, remove the stone, and slice the peaches used in pies.

When it’s time to use frozen foods, thaw carefully. Between 40° F and 140° F, bacteria and other harmful substances multiply rapidly. To keep your food safe to eat, thaw it in the refrigerator, cold water, or a microwave oven.

Click here to learn more about what you need to know before freezing food.

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