Food and lifestyle expert Daphne Oz is joining TODAY to share her go-to tips, helpful info and delicious recipes to spring clean the freezer. She shows us how to make roasted jerk chicken, risotto with peas and ice cream French toast.
What is freezer burn and is it safe to eat?
Freezer burn is moisture escaping from your food. Proper packaging will delay this process, but it generally happens over time and can result in dehydrated, tough and sometimes discolored meat. Although potentially unappetizing, freezer burn on its own is not dangerous.
What's the best way to thaw frozen food?
The USDA recommends thawing in the refrigerator to ensure food always stays at a safe temperature. The other best practice is to place frozen food in a waterproof container (like a plastic bag) and place it in a bowl of cold water, replacing the water every 30 minutes. Technically, allowing something to thaw on the kitchen counter/at room temperature invites bacteria growth, though this continues to be a common practice among home cooks.
What's the best way to cook freezer-burned chicken?
The most important thing to remember when you prepare food that has freezer burn is to find ways to add back moisture and flavor and to work the texture to your advantage. If there are extra tough, leathery spots, you can simply trim those away.
How long can chicken last in the freezer?
FoodSafety.gov has a whole table with recommended storage times, but the typical rule for fresh poultry when stored properly is 9-12 months.
Great, authentic jerk chicken is all about letting the herbs and spices work their magic on fresh meat, then expertly smoking and grilling it to tender, juicy perfection. This version is much more forgiving. It borrows the powerfully delicious flavor of jerk and adds it to a luscious bath of coconut milk to revive our bird after a long, cold winter in the freezer with some much-needed moisture, flavor and a little island heat.
I love that this dish uses a puree of thawed frozen peas to infuse their flavor throughout the rice. By pureeing, we lose the risk of any textural issues from freezing and thawing, and the topping of fresh pea shoots will make everyone think they're eating a perfect, "fresh" spring pea dish!
There's no reason to let any ice cream go to waste ever again! Sweet, melted, milky ice cream is perfect for making French toast. Plus, kids think this is an absurdly excellent breakfast.
If you like those freezer-friendly recipes, you should also try these: