National Frozen Food Month
Celebrate Frozen Food Month and Frozen Food Day.
Did you know that March is National Frozen Food Month? In addition, March 6 is annually Frozen Food Day.
This year, celebrate frozen foods by learning about and appreciating them. Clarence Birdseye is known as the inventor of frozen foods. He was a pioneer in food preservation and invented a “Quick Freeze Machine.” He had been working in the Arctic and saw how natives were able to keep fish fresh by freezing quickly in the elements. He thought about how that process could help preserve other foods like vegetables and fruit, and experimented with that process. Birdseye found how to best freeze foods and introduced frozen foods to the public in 1930. His invention of the “Quick Freeze Machine” has led to the billion dollar industry frozen foods are today.
Frozen foods have definitely made our lives easier, from frozen meals to freezing home grown vegetables and fresh fish. Freezing keeps our foods safe and fresh tasting. There is a wide array of products we can now purchase frozen, from appetizers to desserts.
We can also freeze many things ourselves, and not just summer produce. Think about leftovers – do you throw them out? Much money can be saved if we use those foods as, or in, other meals. When you have leftovers from a casserole or meal, freeze them in individual sized containers, label and date. Just like that, you now have lunches for work or quick meals. If vegetables are left, put them in a container to freeze and add to it until it’s full. You now have soup vegetables ready for your next batch. Even leftover French toast or pancakes can be frozen for a quick breakfast for you or your family.
Although freezing food is convenient and allows the re-use of leftovers, there are some food safety concerns to take into account:
- Keeping your freezer at or below 0 degree will keep food safe.
- Check your freezer thermometer at least weekly to be sure it is cold enough. Always use the oldest foods before newer ones to avoid freezer burn and to keep the quality of your foods high. First in should be first out. Label containers so you know how long they have been frozen. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a storage chart you can use that shows how long safe storage is for most foods.
Many people are very successful freezing home grown foods and meals. Michigan State University Extension recommends using research based materials to help your foods stay safe with high quality. If you would like more information about freezing and food safety, contact your local MSU Extension office, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).