Woman by refrigerator

Refrigerators began making their way into American homes in the late 1920s but it wasn't until the mid-1940s when the appliance became common in most kitchens.

Recently in the article “Is Canning for You?” we addressed preserving foods with the process of canning by packing fruits or vegetables into glass jars and heating the jars to create a seal on the vacuum. This should kill organisms that create spoilage of the product in the jars.

Canning can be a time-labored process. After all the work and keeping our fingers crossed that the vacuum seal lids hold so the ingredients do not spoil. This brings us to what is believed to be a much faster and safer way to go — “freezing.”

Before this method is achieved, we need to look into refrigeration along with the home freezer. The first refrigeration unit was built in the mid-1830s. It was in 1913 that refrigeration was introduced for home use.

In 1923 Frigidaire introduced the first self-contained refrigerator and freezer (all in one unit). Since the 1940s separate freezer units — larger than just for making and holding ice cubes — were introduced.

For many years, the freezer was found on the top of the refrigerator. As development progressed there are side-by-side units. Advancement introduced automatic defrosting, chilling water and ice from door dispensers.

The freezer unit became commonplace in the home. We take for granted it is there whenever needed — and it is!

Freezing in the domestic/home kitchen is fast and with less preparation. But there are rules that are important to follow. Take note if the item has a “use by the label” — it needs to be frozen by then. The easy way to remember is to freeze the same day you purchase the item.

Freezing fresh fruits and vegetables can be processed without losing any vitamins and quality as if you ate them fresh.

I mention all the time that you should research when you are starting or want to learn more about a project. But it does help you understand the why and way it needs to be done.

When freezing vegetables or plant items blanching is an important step to take. Blanching is done in unsalted boiling water or steam for a short time. Followed by quick cooling in cold or ice water. This helps stop enzyme actions that could cause loss of flavor, texture and/or color.

You can almost freeze anything. But it is good to know what you are doing. Yes, you can even freeze lettuce. You won’t be able to make a salad with it – because of the change in its structure. It can be used in soups and other cooked dishes.

Items can be frozen for short periods, several months up to a year. Food spoilage is low as bacteria and other microorganisms are killed or do not grow very fast in the freezing process.

Just as important as the freezing process is the defrosting. It can take a considerable time to defrost in the refrigerator, especially with meat. It is dangerous to defrost at room temperature. The outside may defrost but the inside can still be frozen. The best ways are in the refrigerator, in the microwave, wrapped in plastic, placed in cold water or under cold running water.

I found a great chart of how long and where you can keep fresh fruits and vegetables. Over the next several weeks check out under TIPS: here at the end of each week’s article and I will share this information with you.

TIPS: Keeps fresh in the refrigerator — blueberries 1 to 2 weeks; strawberries 3 to 7 days; raspberries 2 to 3 days; apples 4 to 6 weeks; citrus 3 to 4 weeks.

STAY SAFE AS THE CORONAVIRUS SEEMS TO BE ON THE RISE AGAIN. GET VACCINATED. CONTINUE TO WEAR YOUR FACE MASK AS WELL AS SOCIAL DISTANCING WHEN NECESSARY.

Contact columnist Bette Banjack at banjack303.verizon.net. Search YouTube — with BetteBanjack as well as phoenixvillenews.com (search bar Banjack). She can also be found on Facebook.

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