Q.: Why do I always get a lot of ice crystals in the bag when I freeze peppers or broccoli? I freeze the veggies on a cookie sheet first and then bag, but I still get the ice.
— N.J., Doylestown
A.: According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia, there are three main causes for frost or ice crystals appearing on the surface of frozen vegetables: inadequate draining of vegetables before freezing, slow freezing and fluctuation of storage temperatures above 0 degrees Fahrenheit while frozen.
To combat this, make sure your veggies are very dry before freezing. Freeze items as quickly as possible. Avoid opening the freezer, causing the temperature to increase, until the veggies are frozen solid, which should take about two hours.
Then, follow mom’s old advice and quit leaving the freezer door hanging open. Those temperature fluctuations can cause veggies to soften and firm up again, which pretty much guarantees ice crystals.
Remember, for food safety, the temperature in your freezer should be set to 0 degrees or lower, while the refrigerator should be below 40 degrees.
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