I'm Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Development Report.
Freezing can keep food fresh and safe to eat. Freezing lowers the food temperature below zero degrees Celsius. That is the point where water turns to ice.
To start the freezing process, it is important to lower the temperature to between minus fifteen and minus twenty degrees Celsius as quickly as possible. The faster the freezing process, the fresher the taste of the food.
Fruits and vegetables can be spread out inside the freezer. Once the food is frozen, it should be placed in containers and then stored at a temperature of about minus twenty degrees Celsius.
Fruits are usually not cooked before they are frozen. This allows them to keep their fresh taste. The simplest way to prepare fruits is to cut them up and place them in a container inside the freezer. In some cases it is better to permit the fruit to freeze before putting it in the container. This will keep it from sticking to the container. This is called the "dry pack" method.
The second way is the "wet pack" method. The fruit is prepared along with some of its liquid or juice. You can add some sugar to fruits that are naturally juicy. The sugar sweetens the fruit and brings out its natural juices.
Vegetables are either cooked or blanched before freezing. Blanching means placing the vegetables in boiling water for a few minutes and then quickly placing them into very cold water. Blanching slows down the natural chemical aging process. All extra water should be removed before placing the vegetables into containers and freezing. Most foods can be stored frozen for up to one year.
Most freezers operate on electricity, although some work with kerosene and even solar energy as power sources. One problem is how to protect frozen food if the power suddenly stops. Generally, frozen food can be left unfrozen for twenty-four hours before it must either be eaten or thrown away. In hot climates, the amount of time may be only a few hours.
Once foods have been unfrozen, they should not be frozen again. There is a danger of food poisoning if food is frozen more than once.
You can get more information about freezing food from Volunteers in Technical Assistance. VITA is on the Internet at v-i-t-a dot o-r-g. (www.vita.org.) Next week, learn about canning food.
This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Gary Garriott. I'm Gwen Outen.