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A freezer is a kitchen appliance that is used by many on a daily basis. The freezer maintains a temperature of 0°F (-18°C) to be able to freeze food within 24 hours in order to preserve food. Freezers can be as small as 2 cubic feet or take up more space like 40 cubic feet.
Most freezers have dividers or baskets in order for you to better organize your frozen goods. Meat and larger food items are stored at the bottom of the freezer and food packs or frozen vegetables are at the top for easy retrieval. While you can freeze your precooked meals in the freezer, you can also:
- Save seeds for another season
- Increase the burning time of a candle
- “Clean” jeans and save them from fading
- Stretch shoes that are too tight for you
The main use of a freezer is to store food at a cool temperature and preserve its taste, texture, and freshness. This way, favorite meals and desserts can be consumed at later dates. However, a freezer can also be used to preserve the quality of your jeans or stretch shoes that are a little too tight for you. Here are other use cases for the freezer that may surprise you.
The freezer can be used to prolong the life of candles. By hardening the wax of candles, it will melt at a slower rate and can last longer. Thin and tapered candles can be frozen in the freezer in an hour while thick candles can be frozen for 6 to 8 hours.
Flavored Ice Cube Maker
A second way to use the freezer is to make flavored or herb ice cubes. Depending on what dishes you tend to gravitate to, choose your most used fresh herbs to freeze instead and use them another day. While boiling water, pack your herbs into an ice cube tray until each mold is ¾ full. Then, fill the ice cube tray with boiling water. Blanching cleanses the vegetables but also helps retain texture, flavor, and color by stopping enzyme action.
More freezer uses include preserving your makeup like lipstick or eyeliner for better application. The cold temperature is the best way to keep lipstick fresh. As for eyeliner, putting it in the freezer for 15 minutes to 20 minutes before you sharpen it will make sure that when you do sharpen it, it will be pointy. With this really pointed tip, eyeliner will be more precise when applied.
An alternative way to use a freezer is by placing your shoes inside to kill bacteria. By freezing your shoes, you are effectively killing odor-producing bacteria. This is an inexpensive way to deodorize your shoes. Place your shoes in a freezer-safe bag to prevent contaminating food in the freezer and leave them there overnight. You can take them out the next day and thaw them before wearing them.
A freezer can be used to effectively open up your main envelopes. If you need to add something else into an envelope, place it in a freezer-safe bag and freeze it for an hour or two. You’ll be able to open it with a letter opener and once at room temperature, add some moisture to the seal to activate the adhesive and reseal the envelope.
Make Batteries Last Longer
The freezer can also be used to extend the lifespan of batteries by placing them in the appliance. Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and nickel-cadmium batteries that are used in electronics can be placed in the freezer so that you extend their lifespan by approximately 90%. On the other hand, freezing alkaline batteries is possible but their lifespan will only be extended to 5%.
Make Smoothie Packs
A freezer can be used to freeze pre-packed smoothie ingredients to save preparation time in the morning. Wash and slice up your ingredients and portion them into freezer-safe bags. This way, you can just take out a pack add your milk of choice or water in the blender with the fruits and vegetables and enjoy a smoothie.
Make Your Own Broth
Also, you can use the freezer to preserve vegetable scraps which is an eco-friendly and inexpensive way to make your own broth for dishes. Instead of throwing away garlic, onion, potato, or celery scraps, place them in a plastic bag and freeze them. Take them out and simmer the vegetable scraps with 7 to 10 cups of water, salt, and pepper. Your homemade vegetable broth can also be frozen for up to 1 month.
Additional use of a freezer is to preserve seeds by providing a consistent temperature. Before freezing seeds, clean and dry them thoroughly. Place the seeds in an airtight container to prevent them from exposure to moisture which will cause them to crack or split. When you are ready to plant the seeds, take them out of your freezer to thaw for 24 hours and then plant them.
Protect Items from Dust Mites
One more use of a freezer is to protect your carpets, curtains, and clothing from dust mites by placing these items inside. By prolonging the dustmites’ exposure to the cold temperature, they will die off. Place your items in a freezer-safe bag and leave them in the freezer overnight. You can take out your items the next day, wash them, and use them.
Protect Your Jeans
An added use to the freezer is to protect the quality of your jeans. Washing jeans often can cause them to fade or shrink which is why rolling them up, putting them in a bag, and freezing them is a better alternative. Leave the jeans in the freezer overnight to eliminate odor-causing bacteria and help jeans maintain their color.
Use the freezer to easily remove gum from the soles of your shoes. If you ever find a piece of gum stuck, simply put a piece of paper over it then place your shoes in a freezer-safe bag. You can leave the shoes in the freezer for 1 hour or 2 hours and then peel off the paper with the gum on it.
Save Aloe Vera
Using the freezer to cool and freeze aloe vera is a great way to preserve the plant for future use. You can simply take aloe leaves and put them into a freezer-safe bag, and use them within 8 months. When you’re ready to use the plant, let it defrost for 6 to 8 hours before use.
You can also put aloe vera gel into ice cube molds and freeze it. This way, you can have aloe vera cubes on hand for sunburns.
The freezer can also be used to stretch your shoes to fit better if they are too tight. You will need to put water into plastic bags and put them inside your shoes. Then, place your shoes into a freezer-safe bag to avoid contaminating other items in the freezer. Leave your shoes overnight so that the water in the bags have time to freeze and expand which stretches your shoes. The shoes should not be as tight the next morning.
What are the common mistakes for the usage of a freezer?
Learning how to use a freezer may seem straight forward but you may not be using this kitchen appliance efficiently. To make the most of your freezer, avoid the following mistakes:
- Defrosting food at the wrong temperature. After using the freezer, when you thaw food on the countertop at room temperature it may become a breeding ground for foodborne pathogens that are harmful. Take your food out of the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator, chilled water, or in the microwave.
- Food is frozen for too long. Yes, freezing food can preserve it but to a certain extent. Go through your freezer and toss out what is past its before use date which you can tell if the food looks dull, there’s a large amount of freezer burn or strong odors.
- Food is not compact, tightly wrapped, or in airtight containers. If you’re wrapping your food in aluminum foil or plastic wrap you are leaving your food susceptible to freezer burn. This can change the texture and color of food so use airtight containers and freezer-safe bags instead.
- Freezing certain foods together. Food like fruit, burger patties, and pastries are frozen together and placed in the freezer can result in a big frozen lump that will be difficult to pull apart when you are going to use these foods for consumption. Place these foods on a baking tray slightly apart and freeze for 2 hours to 3 hours. You can take them out of the freezer and pack them before putting them back in the freezer. Pre-freezing food will prevent them from sticking together.
- Freezing too late. Freezing food is meant to preserve it but this does not mean that using the freezer will restore how fresh food is. You freeze food at the freshness that it is at so freeze food at their peak freshness so freeze meat as soon as you can and pastries after cooling down from baking.
- Opening the freezer when you should not. When the power goes out, do not open your freezer. The best way to preserve the food in the freezer during a time like this is to keep the freezer closed. You can check what is still fully frozen after the power comes back on.
- The freezer is too empty or too full. This is how to ineffectively utilise your freezer. When a freezer is too empty and you open the freezer door, the temperature will rise much quicker and your freezer will have to work twice as hard. On the other hand, when a freezer is filled to the brim, the cold air will not be able to circulate well. A freezer should be 70% to 85% full to retain its cold temperature well.
- The temperature is too high. Set your freezer’s temperature to 32° or lower to effectively preserve food or be used for the cases above.
- You put food into the freezer while it is too hot. This will compromise the texture of your food but also raise the temperature in the freezer. If you put hot food in the freezer and the temperature becomes 40°F (4.4°C) to 140°F (60°C), bacteria will multiply rapidly and make your food no longer safe to eat.
These common mistakes can be avoided in order to properly use your freezer. The next time you are going to put food into the freezer or take it out, keep these in mind.
What is the history of usage of a freezer?
What is a freezer and where did it come from? Today’s cooling box-like kitchen appliance originated from the icebox in the 19th and 20th centuries. This wooden crate would be lined with zinc, cork, or tin and then insulated by straw or cotton where an iceman would sell blocks of ice on a weekly basis.
William Cullen, a Scotsman, showed the public that there was an evaporation cooling process in 1749. However, the first gas freezer was invented in 1857 and would cool air using ammonia and sulphur dioxide. This produced small amounts of ice but the liquid ammonia was identified as a deadly substance. This led to the use of a low-toxic alternative, Freon. This alternative was used by General Electic when they released a refrigeration system to cool food items for mass production in 1927. Freon was slowly discontinued despite wide use in fridges and freezers because of its negative effect on the ozone layer.
Freezers today make use of 1,1,1,2-Tetrafluoroethane as a coolant because it does not contribute towards the ozone layer’s depletion and is non-toxic. This safer coolant enables freezers to store and cool food to 0°F (-18°C) to preserve food items for future consumption. Freezers are also attached to a refrigerator or are single units that are designed like chests. Also, freezers have also been designed for industrial use instead of purely domestic.
Do the uses cases of a freezer change based on type?
Yes, the different types of freezers have different use cases. The difference between the types of freezers on the market today is their size, accessibility, and storage style. Freezers that are used commercially, or chest freezers, are known for being spacious and allow you to simply reach in and retrieve your food items. Upright freezers will allow you to store items on shelves whereas drawer freezers allow you to organize food items more distinctly. Then, display freezers will let you have a clear view of what is inside. There are also ice cream freezers that are designed to maintain the ideal temperature for ice cream.
Which freezer is best for ice cream?
An ice cream freezer is the best freezer for ice cream and other frozen treats like sorbet or gelato. This type of commercial freezer keeps ice cream at a temperature of -10°F (-23.3°C) to -20°F (-28.9°C) that ice cream is frozen thoroughly and hard to the touch. This will enable the ice cream to maintain its taste and texture and a freezer makes the ice cream last longer.
Does a deep freezer have more use cases than a freezer?
No, a deep freezer does not have more use cases than a freezer. When looking at both appliances, freezer vs. deep freezer, they can both be used for the use cases above. However, a deep freezer will expose food items to a temperature between -22°F (-30°C) to -58°F (-50°F) which will bring the temperature of food and other items to 0°F (-18°C), much quicker than a freezer. However, a freezer is more energy-efficient, affordable, and better at preventing freezer burn from occurring compared to deep freezers.
What are the other kitchen tools with various use cases similar to the freezer?
Other kitchen tools with different use cases similar to the freezer are the:
- Blast Chiller: A blast chiller will rapidly freeze food items for food to retain freshness, texture, and taste. By flash-freezing food items to 41°F (5°C) or less in 90 minutes or so, there is a lower chance of moisture loss and shrinkage.
- Deep Freezer: A deep freezer will keep large quantities of food items frozen long-term. This type of freezer will cool food items’ core temperature to 0°F (-18°C) within an hour.
- Refrigerator: A refrigerator will keep food items and beverages at a certain temperature by vaporizing a coolant that circulates inside the fridge. Some refrigerators can be 1.7 cubic feet while others are 30 cubic feet.
These appliances can be used to cool down food items to specific temperatures and you can learn more about the 5 uses of these 3 kitchen tools here.