Are Leftovers And Frozen Foods Safer In A Frost-Free Freezer?

food in a frost free freezer
food in a frost free freezer - Lyulka/Getty Images

You might notice that the freezer in your refrigerator keeps food frozen with no icy layer inside, while if you have a deep-freezer it's likely to build up a layer of frost. The reason for that lack of ice is a simple technique built into home refrigerators that prevents frost from accumulating inside. Some manufacturers use a frost-free system that actually warms the freezer up by a few degrees, and any moisture that has accumulated will drain out to a tray to dry out. Others use a fan system to blow moisture out of the freezer (aka anti-frost system), meaning there's no frost from the get-go. You might wonder if there's any food safety issue with these different freezer types, and the answer is no. As long as food is kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, the style of the freezer does not matter.

Your freezer keeps food safe because bacteria, yeast and molds that cause spoilage can't grow at low temperatures. The type of frost prevention that your freezer uses may not matter for food safety, but the texture and quality of your frozen foods can vary based on how you store them. We've got some key tips to share to make the most of your freezer, no matter which type you have.

Read more: 30 Popular Frozen Pizzas, Ranked Worst To Best

Don't Freeze And Forget

date labeled frozen food
date labeled frozen food - Vgajic/Getty Images

To ensure your freezer is staying cold enough, we recommend placing a small thermometer inside to double-check. If you see some ice crystals on your frozen food, it's still safe, but a sign that your food is losing moisture and the quality might suffer. To prevent frosty food, be sure leftovers are well chilled before you freeze them. Freezing warm food can cause large ice crystals to form inside the food, ruining the texture. Also, wrap your food well to prevent moisture in the food from evaporating.

All freezers can build up an off smell from stale air and food particles, frost-free and anti-frost freezers included. Again, this is not a safety issue, but it can ruin the taste and quality of your frozen foods. A periodic wipe-down of the freezer compartment can prevent smells from occurring. And, although frozen food stays safe for a very long time, the quality can suffer after too long, so keep an eye on your leftovers and be sure to label the containers with the date so you'll know how long they've been there.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.