The pros and cons of food preservation by freezing are significant and varied, requiring those who wish to engage in food preservation to consider the resources they have for properly freezing food. While freezing food is generally a good way to keep food in good condition and safe from bacterial contamination, it is an inappropriate storage technique in areas that experience frequent power shortages or where residents do not have access to freezers. In addition, this process requires special handling and packaging of food prior to placing it in the freezer if the food is to retain its quality. On the other hand, these preparations are usually less complex than those required for some other types of food preservation, such as dehydrating, smoking or canning.
Many people engage in food preservation by freezing as a way of keeping food fresh without adding additional liquids or preservatives that can change the flavor and texture of a fresh food. In addition, most kitchens in industrialized countries contain a freezer making it a convenient form of food storage that does not acquire special equipment in most cases. Providing that a freezer can maintain a temperature of less than 0 degrees Fahrenheit (17.8 degrees Celsius), many types of food can be safely stored for months.
The problems of food preservation by freezing depend on several factors. The most obvious problem is that it depends on having access to a container that can store food at a consistently low temperature. Even if freezers are available, there remains the issue of ensuring an adequate power supply to the freezer. In communities where utility service is poor, it may be better to use other methods of food preservation.
Another problem with food preservation by freezing is that freezing can alter the texture and flavor of food. In order to reduce the chances of this happening, an individual must take steps to prepare food ahead of time for the freezing process. For example, vegetables will usually be of better quality if they are blanched prior to freezing. It is also important to wrap food carefully, if the frozen food is exposed to air while in its wrappings, as it can dry out and develop what is known as “freezer burn.” This has a negative effect on both the flavor and texture of the food, although it does not make the food dangerous to eat.