How Often Should You Defrost the Freezer?
Many eco-enthusiastic green minded families are finding that manual frost freezers are the way to go, in terms of using less energy as well as the more consistent level of freezing they provide for the foods contained in them. The process of the frost free cycle can also dry out foods, making them unpalatable and basically no good. It’s time to take another look at the necessary process of manual defrosting, as it has almost become a forgotten or lost art.
More Reasons to Buy a Manual Frost Freezer
For one thing, frost free is more expensive, compared to the same unit in a frost free model. And when it comes to chest freezers, they are always designed to be manually defrosted. Frost free freezers dehydrate meats and other foods by the process that actually allows them to sustain the frost free environment.
How a Frost Free Refrigerator Manages to Stay Free of Frost
It’s not through air circulation, but rather due to the cyclic freeze and thaw method it uses continuously as it runs. The way this works, is the freezer actually spends a portion of its time during this cycle to go into thaw mode, which affects every item of food and anything else that is stored inside it. What happens is that the edges of the food partially thaw and then refreeze. This produces ice crystallization which ends up wicking away water from the edges of your food. Enough exposure to this cyclic activity and what you wind up with is a tough piece of leather. Manual defrost freezers never subject your foods to this kind of problem, seeing as how once the food is frozen, it is maintained in that state continuously. There is no water therefore, to recrystallize.
Some Distinctions between Frost Free Refrigerators and Manual Defrost Refrigerators
The manner in which you should pack food differs from frost free to manual defrost fridges, too. Food that is not completely vacuum packed actually keeps better and longer in a manual defrost refrigerator. Then, when it comes to storing foods in a frost free environment, the converse is true. The extra measure of vacuum sealing everything you intend to place for storage in a frost free unit will actually serve to minimize the volume of dehydration and recrystallized damage to the edges and outer surfaces of all your food items. It’s the air voids within the food packaging that allow for water (and flavor) to be drawn out from the food where it simply crystallizes.
The Most Energy Efficient Type of Home Freezing Technology
While it definitely does not offer the easiest access to all of the frozen contents, a deep freezer or more commonly a chest freezer is, by far, way ahead of all the others in terms of energy efficiency and consistently maintaining the most suitable frozen temps. When you open up a chest freezer, what you have are layers upon layers of frozen foods, and often you end up having to dig your way through many different packages in order to get to the one you are looking for. Good maintenance of a chest freezer not only means timely defrosting, but also some type of diagram that is kept current and shows the exact configuration of all contents. When you take out an item, you delete it or mark it off. When you add items, you add them to the diagram, in the exact spot where you locate them within the freezer.
Avoiding Freezer Burn
Generally, you should be able to rotate your frozen items in such a way as to store those which you will most likely use first in the freezer component of your kitchen refrigerator, with all foods which you plan on storing for longer periods (or items that are just too large for your refrigerator’s freezer compartment) in your manual defrost freezer. The way a frost free freezer is able to sustain the frost free environment is by warming the internal temperature from somewhere in the vicinity of zero degrees Fahrenheit to around thirty two degrees fahrenheit. And this happens anywhere from between one to four times every 24 hours. While it doesn’t remain at the higher temp for very long, it is enough time for ice crystals that were beginning to form to be forced to dissipate. The thinner and less sealed the wrapper or container, the more likely your foods placed into a frost free freezer will be to become victims of freezer burn. So, lots of layers and plenty of air-tight occlusion is what is needed here. And don’t forget to only store items you will use within a relatively short period of time in a frost free freezer.
When it’s Time to Defrost
Any frost free freezers do not need defrosting. They should, however, be cleaned out on a yearly basis, and more often if need be. Manual defrost freezers should be defrosted a minimum of once a year or if you see that there is more than a fourth of an inch of frost that has formed over a large area anywhere within the freezer’s surface. The accumulation of ice and frost within the freezer will significantly reduce the volume of available storage space. If you are able to, try to plan on reducing the number of items that you have stored in your freezer over a period of a few months prior to defrosting. And then, you may find that you have enough room in your kitchen fridge’s freezer space so that you can simply transfer the foods from your manual defrost freezer into the one in your kitchen. Many people will take advantage of the coldest days during winter to defrost their freezers, especially when the temps dip below freezing, as this enables them to just stack everything together in an unheated garage, outbuilding or on a patio table while you defrost the freezer. The entire process of defrosting your freezer should take around one to two hours, depending on just how much ice and frost has accumulated.
Always remember to disconnect your freezer from the power supply before beginning to defrost. And if you have no colder place for storing the contents, place them in coolers that are well insulated and sealed. Clean the freezer as quickly as possible and make sure it is cool again before restocking it. And most importantly, refer to the manufacturer’s directions for defrosting.