Freeze Treating

NOTE: This section is not intended to address freezing high-moisture perishable foods.  They are outside the scope of this work and are much more capably addressed in the Ball Blue Book or Putting Food By.  Information on these books may be found in the Resources Section.

Freeze treating, like vacuum sealing, is also a simple concept, but it must be done right.  The major reason for freezing dry foodstuffs is to kill off any potentially lurking hidden insect infestations.  Freezing will accomplish this task if you follow the steps I outline below.

#1 – The foods you want to preventatively treat against insect infestations should be at room temperature or even slightly warm and should have been at that temperature for at least several days.  This prevents any insects that might be present from becoming acclimated to cold temperatures which would make them more resistant to being killed than they otherwise would be.

#2 – The bigger the package you want to treat, the longer it will take for its contents to fall to the desired temperature all the way through.  Freezing the goods in small amounts of five to ten pounds at a time will give a quicker, more certain result than attempting to freeze a five gallon bucket.

#3 – Put the product into your freezer and freeze it to 0º Fahrenheit (-18º Celsius) all the way through the package and keep it there for three days. If there is enough air humidity in your house to cause condensation on the outside of a glass of ice water it is a good idea to put the product in a moisture proof container before freezing, otherwise you can leave it the way it came from the store.

#4 – Once the time is up, you can repackage the product into your storage packaging if you have not already done so.  Whatever you use needs to be insect proof.  Once the food comes back up to room temperature it is as susceptible to outside insect infestation as any other food.  Promptly sealing it into your storage packaging will prevent any after-the-fact insects from being able to get into your chow.

There are some other foods that are quite low in moisture, but would benefit from remaining frozen at 0º Fahrenheit or less.  Among these are yeast, cultures for yogurt, kefir, tempeh, and herbs and spices amongst others.  It is vital they remain quite dry if you are going to store them this way.