In this brief guide, we’ll address the query: “What is a freezing temperature?” Also, we’ll address why a freezing temperature differs between substances, what an acceptable freezing temperature for home refrigeration units is, and what the effects of freezing temperatures are on food and beverages.
What is a freezing temperature?
A freezing temperature is the degree at which point, liquids transition into solid phases. This temperature varies between substances, and the most commonly used reference is that of water.
The celsius scale uses 0°C as a baseline, as this is the temperature at which water turns to ice, whereas the 100°C mark is when water turns to steam, at sea level.
Using the Fahrenheit scale, water freezes at 32°F, and boils at 212°F.
As water is the most commonly found substance throughout the world, the Celcius scale is often used as a reference, and as a result, many temperatures such as those used in freezing and processing foods are noted in Celcius degrees.
Why does a freezing temperature differ between substances?
Freezing temperature differs between substances due to the nature of the compounds that make them up and their bonds.
Organic substances such as proteins, fat, and carbohydrates can freeze over, but they don’t melt, and due to the complexity of their molecules, they can denature, which means that they can break down into smaller molecules when exposed to higher temperatures.
Many foods tend to have a water content which allows them to be stored at subzero temperatures, and as a result, they can freeze solid.
What is an acceptable freezing temperature for home refrigeration units?
Home refrigeration units fluctuate between -5°C to -23°C. In actuality, many units allow folks to select a freezing temperature at which they’ll store their food.
Depending on the size of the unit and its freezing capacity, more sophisticated units can reach lower temperatures, as they’re designed to store larger volumes of food and other goods, and absorb more heat from the items stores.
Lower temperatures are feasible, especially by methods such as using liquid nitrogen and dry ice, though these temperatures may be dangerously low if they come into contact with bare skin, and only a few select items can be stored in them.
To summarize, refrigerating a steak at -17°C is no different than preserving a steak at -80°C (ultra freeze temperatures), if anything it would only prolong the time it would take to thaw it out.
What are the effects of freezing temperatures on foods and beverages?
Freezing temperatures can preserve and alter the consistency of some foods and beverages. For example, freezing removes the water content from the cells that make up our food, such as meats and vegetables.
Therefore, when freezing and then thawing out foods and vegetables, our readers may experience a loss of moisture and on occasions, palatability.
However, freezing is a useful storage alternative, as it effectively controls the growth of pathogens and microbes that cause spoilage. Many foods can greatly extend their shelf life if stored at subzero temperatures.
However, freezing may not be indicated for all food types, especially those that can separate into phases. These foods include dairy products that are low in fat, mayonnaise, alcoholic beverages with aromatic substances such as Absinthe, vegetables that can suffer frost damage, and other types.
If in doubt, we encourage our readers to research if the type of food they wish to store in a freezer is suitable for subzero storage.
Many cooked dishes can be stored, such as stews, roasts, baked goods, and even ingredients such as eggs, meats, vegetables, flour, grains, salads (that aren’t made with leafy greens), and many more.
In some cases, some beverages may not be indicated to be frozen, as they’ll likely suffer a breakdown of their components and won’t be as delectable to consume when thawed.
It’s also important to note that while freezing can curb the growth of some microbes, cooking and reheating may still be necessary for some foods, especially meats, as freezing does not destroy some microbes that can cause illness, but it can slow their growth, and once thawed out, they may still cause disease.
Ideally, thawing out foods can be accomplished by leaving them overnight in refrigeration, though in some instances, readers may thaw out more innocuous food types at room temperatures, such as baked goods and pastries.
Meats, both cooked and raw, should always be defrosted in refrigeration because high temperatures can trigger the exponential growth of microbes that can cause food poisoning. While cooking may destroy these microbes, it may not break down toxins they secrete, which can also lead to food poisoning.
To summarize, freezing is handy as a storage alternative, though it may not be indicated for all food types. Our readers should consult with available resources to discern what storage method best suits their needs.
In this brief guide, weve addressed the query: “What is a freezing temperature?” Also, we’ve addressed why a freezing temperature differs between substances, what an acceptable freezing temperature for home refrigeration units is, and what the effects of freezing temperatures are on food and beverages.