6 important factors affecting freezing food

6 important factors affecting freezing food

There are 6 important factors affecting freezing food you should know about. You want to freeze food safely without sacrificing the quality. You want to keep the food last longer in the freezer. You’ll learn important factors affecting freezing food.

6 important factors affecting freezing food

First and foremost, the most important factor affecting freezing food is the condition of the food at the time of freezing. It will determine the final quality of frozen food. Frozen food can be no better than the food was before it was frozen. Freezing does not sterilize foods as canning does. It simply sets back the growth of microorganisms and slows down chemical changes that affect freezing food quality or cause food spoilage. It’s one of the steps for creating a zero waste kitchen.

6 important factors affecting freezing food

Freezer Temperature

Maintain a temperature of 0 degrees F or less to keep frozen foods at top quality. The storage life of foods is shortened as the temperature rises. For example, the same loss of quality in frozen beans stored at 0 F for one year will occur in three months at 10 F, in three weeks at 20 F, and in five days at 30 F.

Fluctuating temperatures result in growth in the size of ice crystals, further damaging cells and creating a mushier product. Changes in temperature can also cause water to migrate from the product. It’s one of the most important factors affecting freezing food quality.


Freezing, heating and chemical compounds can control enzyme actions. Freezing slows enzyme activity. Hence, you can maintain the quality of foods you’re about to freeze. Enzymes in fruits, causing browning and loss of vitamin C, are controlled by antioxidants.

Most vegetables that freeze well are low in acid. If you freeze vegetables, you must cook them partially (“blanching”) prior to freezing. Blanching is to boil the vegetables briefly and chill them rapidly. Enzymes in vegetables are inactivated by heat.

Ice Crystals

The formation of small ice crystals during freezing is desirable. Fast freezing is the most practical way to form small ice crystals. Large ice crystals associated with slow freezing tend to rupture the cells, causing an undesirable texture change.


Microorganisms don’t grow at freezer temperature. But they will multiply once they are thawed and allowed to stand at room temperature.


Oxygen in the air may cause flavor and color changes if the food is improperly packaged.

Evaporation of Moisture

Improperly protected food will lose moisture, color, flavor, and texture. Ice crystal evaporation from an area at the surface results in freezer burn, which is a dry, grainy, brownish area that becomes tough. Freezer burn does not render the food unsafe, only less desirable.

More Resources
The science of freezing foods
NC State University: Freezing

Conclusion: This is the very basic of freezing you must know. Remember, water and air are the enemy for freezing. More details will come up continuously so that you can freeze food properly and safely. 

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