Top Five Common Myths About Commercial Freezers
Using the best commercial freezer in the market is only half the job: maintaining optimal food storage is mostly about proper use and long-term storage. The biggest cause of a commercial freezer’s decline is misuse—these common errors in food handling and storage stem from myths about commercial freezers.
What are some of the most outrageous or bizarre things you’ve heard about commercial freezers? Or perhaps you weren’t aware they were myths and subscribe to them. Find out about them here, and learn how to maximize the function of your refurbished commercial freezer for optimal food storage:
Myth #1: Bacteria doesn’t survive inside commercial freezers
Many people think that food storage in commercial freezers automatically keeps their food safe and clean, but that’s not true at all. While cold storage is ideal and prevents spoilage often caused by leaving food out in warm temperatures, commercial freezers are not bacteria-free.
Many kinds of bacteria thrive in cold temperatures, like those inside the freezer. Bacterial growth can increase tremendously in cold storage — a problem made worse by cross-contamination. Preventing this starts with proper food storage: think of how you store items in your commercial freezer.
Keep different types of food separate, such as fruits, vegetables, seafood, eggs, and raw meat. To eliminate cross-contamination, make sure to clean up any spills immediately using hot water and soap, effectively preventing them from spreading across different food items.
Myth #2: Freezing food destroys bacteria inside commercial freezers
Like how many people believe that bacteria won’t survive in commercial freezers, they also think that freezing food automatically destroys any bacteria that may have clung to it. And just like the first myth, this is just as false.
While it’s true that freezing food for storage in a commercial freezer does make bacteria inactive, potentially inhibiting its growth, it doesn’t kill bacteria completely. If the food is contaminated before freezing, the bacteria will usually remain there.
To avoid spoilage and foodborne illnesses, make sure to cook frozen food thoroughly. Check the temperature while cooking, and only stop once the desired temperature has been reached. As well, before freezing any food, make sure these are thoroughly cleaned to prevent contamination. Even better, don’t leave food out for extended periods to prevent spoilage and bacterial growth — no amount of freezing can save food that has already gone bad.
Myth #3: Frozen food is less nutritious
Many people shy away from the frozen foods aisle or don’t like freezing dishes for food prep, despite their convenience. Their reason? They believe that frozen food loses its freshness and nutrients, making for a lot less appetizing and satisfying bite. But that’s not entirely true.
While frozen food can sometimes lose some of its nutritional value, the longer it stays in a used commercial freezer, it’s still nutritious. It can even be healthier than raw foods in the produce section. That’s because fresh fruits and vegetables, in particular, are often harvested before they’ve fully ripened; during their time in shipping, they lose a lot of their nutritional value.
In contrast, frozen foods are typically stored at their ripest or freshest, then stored in commercial freezers to seal in their fresh taste and quality, packing in as many nutrients as possible. If you’re anxious about losing nutritional value, it’s better to look at how you’re cooking or preparing frozen foods — methods like steaming retain more nutrients than boiling.
Myth #4: You can freeze any type of food for storage in commercial freezers
On the other side of the nutrient debate are people who believe in keeping foods frozen in the freezer for long periods. While it’s true that most foods can be frozen and retain their original flavour and texture, optimal quality is only guaranteed within a certain period. A lot of other foods don’t keep well when frozen, eventually losing their flavour and freshness.
For instance, cream-based sauces tend to separate when frozen, and produce with high water content, like lettuce, are simply not safe to freeze because they will still rot. Similarly, eggs and canned produce cannot be frozen unless first extracted from their shells and cans, then resealed in freezer-safe containers.
And while being able to freeze food is the main reason we attempt food prep for busy days, remember to let any cooked food cool down and pack them in moisture-proof containers before storing them in a commercial freezer.
The key to storing food safely in commercial freezers is time: learn how long different types of food can stay frozen to retain their taste and quality. Here’s a quick guide to freezing the most common dietary staples:
- Raw meat: 4 to 12 months
- Cooked meat: 2 to 4 months
- Casseroles, soups, and stews: 2 to 3 months
- Fruits and vegetables: 8 to 12 months.
Myth #5: Refurbished commercial freezers need to be transported horizontally
How do you transport a commercial freezer? There’s a lot of debate about this: some people argue that freezers should be transported horizontally or “lying down,” while others say that the best way to do so is vertical; keeping the freezer standing upright. Further complicating these myths are claims about when it’s safe to turn on the freezer. When transported horizontally, it’s often thought that you need to wait a few hours before turning on your commercial freezer.
To set the record straight, here’s how you should transport a commercial freezer: in an upright position to reduce vibrations that occur when the compressor runs and keep the spring suspension in good condition. Transporting your freezer horizontally results in vibrations that increase the lateral load on the suspension, which causes damage.
As for turning on the freezer after transport, make sure to do so only after letting it sit for about six hours. This will allow the refrigerant and oil found in the compressor to settle and reduce the risk of system damage from starting it too soon.
To learn more about commercial freezers and how to maximize their function, call Ancaster Food Equipment at 866-711-5486, or contact us here.