According to experts, the only temperature you should set your freezer to is

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I have a small freezer with extra pints of ice cream and frozen leftovers in the garage. Compared to the main freezer in my kitchen, the food I pull out of the garage is always frozen rock hard. Should I be concerned that my kitchen freezer is not cold enough? This question made me curious about what temperature I should set the freezer to and if there is anything I can do to preserve my food. Here's what I found out.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, The best temperature for your freezer is 0°F (-18°C) or lower.. Setting and tracking the temperature is easy if your freezer has a built-in thermometer.

To make sure your freezer is actually at the temperature you set it to be, you can buy an inexpensive appliance thermometer to monitor it.

Here's another great trick: “If you want to know if your freezer will work without a thermometer, you can put a cup (eight ounces) of water (in the freezer) and see if it stays warm for an hour. I completely freeze,” says Kumar Mallikarjanan, professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, and a member of the Institute of Food Technologists' Refrigerator and Frozen Foods Division. “If it doesn't, your freezer is not maintaining its temperature.” Now is the time to get it checked by an appliance specialist.

Some freezers only have numbers, not temperatures, such as zero to five. In that case, you should use the coldest setting, which is five, says Mallikarjanan.

Why it's Better to Keep Your Freezer at 0°F or Colder

If your freezer is at or below 0°F, you don't have to worry about the food in it being unsafe to eat.

“Freezing to 0°F (-18°C) does not kill bacteria. However, it does help prevent it from growing,” says Tracy Funk, director of scientific programs and science and policy initiatives at the Institute of Food Technologists. “It helps inactivate microbes, including polymers such as molds, yeasts, and fungi in food.”

As long as the temperature in the food doesn't rise above 39.2°F (4°C), there's no concern about microbial growth, says microbiologist Jason Tetro. The most amazing science show and author of Germ code And Germ files..

At 0°F or below, you can also avoid freezer burn. When food melts and freezes—called a freeze/thaw event in the scientific community—ice crystals form on it. “This crystallization is a form of freezer burn that reduces flavor quality,” Fink explains

“If the food isn't cold enough, the quality can drop as the water melts and reconstitutes,” Tetro adds. “At low temperatures, the crystals are small and have little effect on the product. As temperatures rise, ice crystals can grow and change the quality of products like meat and ice cream.

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Can the temperature be too low?

You can always err on the safe side and lower the temperature below 0°F — your freezer can never get too cold.

“Most recommendations are for a range of temperatures but in reality, there is no temperature that is too low for a freezer,” says Tetro. “Most freezers have a lower limit of -10°F (-23°C).”

Too cold can just mean that your ice cream takes longer to soften. “A freezer below 0 °F (-18 °C) won't make food unsafe to eat (or spoil your food), though it uses extra electricity,” Fink adds. can increase energy bills.”

How you store food in the freezer affects its temperature.

To help regulate the temperature in your freezer, make sure it is full but not packed. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends keeping ice packs in the freezer if not, but make sure there is enough room for cold air to keep food frozen.

Every time you open the freezer door, the temperature can fluctuate by several degrees, which can affect the food closest to the open door. This is why it is best to store foods most affected by temperature fluctuations away from the door.

“If you have more than one drawer/cupboard, it's best to keep meat and seafood at the bottom (or back) so they don't have to deal with the effects of temperature,” advises Mallikarjanan.

Funk especially emphasizes the importance of keeping ice cream away from possible temperature changes. “It is recommended that ice cream be stored at the coldest possible temperature,” she says. “We never want to give it a chance to melt,” ice crystals form, and the quality drops.

Just recipes / Ciara Kehoe


How to Avoid Freezer Burn

It's so frustrating when you open a carton of ice cream or a pouch of frozen chicken and see freezer burn crystals. It is safe to eat, but they can taste.

“Freezer burn occurs when food is exposed to dry air (low humidity),” says Mallikarjanan. “To avoid this, you should (pack food properly) to prevent moisture loss.” Wrap the food tightly with plastic wrap and/or foil or store it in an airtight container, such as a freezer bag, other freezer-safe plastic or glass container, or a sealed vacuum bag.

If possible, get as much air out of the container as possible. “For food quality, the best option is to minimize the amount of air in any sealed package such as a freezer bag,” Tetro suggests. “And minimize the amount of air that can get into packages like ice cream by making sure the seal is tight.”

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