1What is ‘freezer burn’?

Freezer burn occurs when foods are frozen for an extended period of time or not properly wrapped and sealed. Freezer burn does not make food  unsafe, merely dry in spots. Even though these foods do not pose any  health risks, the freezer-burned areas will be dried out and tasteless.  It appears as grayish-brown leathery spots and is caused by air reaching the surface of the food.

2Food simple facts

Perishable foods can be left out at room temperature for only two hours at the maximum.

3 When shopping for frozen food

Pick up frozen commercial foods just before going to the checkout counter. Only purchase frozen-foods that are solid. Place in a home freezer as soon as possible.

4Freezer tips

For best freezer storage of foods, the temperature should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Maximum temperature should be 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

If no thermometer is available, use this rule of thumb; If the freezer can't keep an ice cream brick frozen, the temperature is above the recommended level; do not store food for more than one week in a freezer where the temperature is above the recommended level.

Date food packages with an expiration date according to maximum storage time recommended. Longer storage is not dangerous, but flavours and textures may begin to deteriorate.

5 How to deal with freezer burn?

For best results, cut away freezer-burned portions either before or after cooking the food. Heavily freezer-burned foods may have to be discarded for quality reasons.

When wrapping foods for freezing, use heavy-duty foil, moisture and vapour-proof plastic bags and wraps, freezer wrap, freezer containers or vacuum-packing in FoodSaver® bags. When folded, foil may develop pinholes, resulting in freezer burn. Do get as much air out as possible so moisture cannot get in, and foods can be frozen longer without freezer burn.

Use moisture and vapour-resistant packaging that can be tightly sealed.

6How to cook evenly and avoid bacteria by using microwave

If you use a microwave oven to cook, ensure that the food is evenly cooked. Otherwise bacteria may survive and cause food poisoning.

Watch out for 'cold spots' in the food. Stir the food midway while cooking to ensure that the whole dish is evenly cooked.

Use a covered dish. Arrange the food uniformly and add a little water. Under a cover, the steam formed will help kill bacteria and ensure even cooking.

7 Avoid cross-contamination

Cross-contamination occurs in food when raw food comes into contact with cooked food, for example when the juices of raw meat, poultry or seafood come into contact with ready-to-eat food.

Do not mix raw food with food that has already been cooked.

Store raw meat, poultry and seafood at the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so that their juices do not drip onto other foods. Ensure that they are tightly wrapped in plastic or are placed individually on separate plates.

Use different cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked food. If you only have one cutting board, always wash thoroughly with soap and hot water between uses.

After cutting raw meat, seafood and poultry, wash the knives thoroughly before cutting other food.

8How to thaw food safely

Do not thaw food at room temperature. It is safer to thaw food by defrosting overnight in the refrigerator, or by using the microwave oven.

In microwave oven: 
Remove food from store wrapping (foam trays or plastic wrap) that may release chemicals into foods.

Allow 6 to 8 minutes per pound of food when thawing in microwave on low heat. Once food is defrosted, reheat on high heat.