How does frozen food not go bad

Fast freezing is ideal

If the heat is quickly withdrawn from the food and the area in which ice crystals form is quickly passed through:

  • An even formation of ice crystals sets in in the cells and between the cells.
  • Fine-grain ice crystals are formed, evenly distributed in the food tissue.
  • the diffusion of water from the cells into the intercellular spaces is almost irrelevant.

Slow freezing is harmful to the food

If the heat is withdrawn slowly from the food:

  • Due to the differences in concentration, more fluid is diffused from the cells into the spaces between the cells
  • Larger and coarser ice crystals form, especially between the cells, as the water runs over the existing ice crystals and solidifies on them
  • the cell spaces expand
  • the cells shrink as a result of the loss of water and change their shape
  • the increasing concentration in the cells prevents the formation of ice crystals
  • The large ice crystals that form can cause mechanical destruction of the cell membrane
  • the cells can burst

Source: Deutsches Tiefkühlinstitut e.V., Cologne, information sheet "Das Tiefgefrieren", 1998; Processing by HEA (Association for Efficient Energy Use e.V.)


When slowly thawing food that has frozen through quickly, almost all of the leaked liquid can be absorbed by the cells. As a result, the loss of juice is minimal and the consistency of the food is largely retained.

When thawing slowly frozen food, on the other hand, the loss of juice is greater, as only part of the liquid can be absorbed by the cells due to cell changes or destruction. The consistency and taste of the food change.

Our tips

  • It is best to defrost your frozen food in the refrigerator and make absolutely sure that the food is dry during defrosting. Basically, a sieve server does a good job because the frozen food does not come into contact with the defrosted liquid
  • Food should be processed within 24 hours of thawing
  • If possible, frozen vegetables should be cooked in the frozen state without thawing beforehand
  • Blanching the vegetables before freezing them will shorten the cooking time

In principle, only fresh, good quality food should be used for the freezing process. If you heed the above information, you will largely reduce nutrient losses and preserve the taste of the food. We wish a good appetite!


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This information is passed to the best of my knowledge and belief. They are intended exclusively for those interested and for further training and are in no way to be understood as diagnostic or therapeutic instructions. We do not assume any liability for damages of any kind that arise directly or indirectly from the use of the information. If you suspect illness, please consult your doctor or alternative practitioner

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