The best way to know if your freezer is too cold is to use a thermometer and check the temperature regularly. The ideal temperature for a freezer is 0°F or -18°C, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) . If your freezer is colder than this, you may be wasting energy and risking freezer burn on your food. In this article, we will explain how to adjust your freezer temperature, how to prevent freezer burn, and how to store your food safely in the freezer.
How to adjust your freezer temperature
Most freezers have a dial or a digital control panel that allows you to adjust the temperature. The dial may have numbers from 1 to 5 or 7, or it may have words like “cold”, “coldest”, or “off”. The digital panel may show the actual temperature or a range of temperatures. To find out what the dial or the panel means, you should consult your freezer manual or the manufacturer’s website.
If you don’t have a manual or a website, you can use a thermometer to check the temperature. You can buy a freezer thermometer at a grocery store, a hardware store, or online. Place the thermometer in the center of the freezer and wait for at least 24 hours before reading it. If the temperature is below 0°F or -18°C, you can turn the dial or the panel to a warmer setting. If the temperature is above 0°F or -18°C, you can turn the dial or the panel to a colder setting. Repeat this process until you reach the ideal temperature.
How to prevent freezer burn
Freezer burn is a condition that occurs when frozen food is exposed to air and loses moisture. This can result in dry, tough, and discolored patches on the food. Freezer burn does not make the food unsafe to eat, but it can affect the taste and texture. To prevent freezer burn, you should follow these tips:
- Wrap your food tightly in freezer-safe bags, containers, or foil. Make sure there are no air gaps or leaks.
- Label your food with the date and the contents. Use the oldest food first and rotate your stock.
- Do not overfill your freezer. Leave some space for air circulation and avoid opening the door too often.
- Do not refreeze food that has thawed. This can cause more moisture loss and increase the risk of freezer burn.
How to store your food safely in the freezer
Freezing food can slow down the growth of bacteria and extend the shelf life of your food. However, freezing does not kill bacteria or prevent spoilage indefinitely. You should still follow some basic guidelines to store your food safely in the freezer:
- Check the expiration dates of your food before freezing. Do not freeze food that is past its prime or has signs of spoilage.
- Freeze food as soon as possible after buying or cooking. Do not leave food at room temperature for more than two hours.
- Divide large portions of food into smaller, manageable sizes. This will help the food freeze faster and thaw more evenly.
- Thaw food in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Do not thaw food on the counter or in hot water. This can create a temperature difference that can allow bacteria to grow.
- Cook food thoroughly after thawing. Do not eat frozen food that is raw or undercooked.
Knowing how to set your freezer temperature, prevent freezer burn, and store your food safely can help you save money, reduce waste, and enjoy your frozen food. The key is to use a thermometer and check the temperature regularly. The ideal temperature for a freezer is 0°F or -18°C. If your freezer is too cold, you can adjust the dial or the panel to a warmer setting. If your freezer is too warm, you can adjust the dial or the panel to a colder setting. By following these simple steps, you can keep your freezer and your food in optimal condition.