The freezer is an essential kitchen appliance and an important part of modern long-term food preservation and storage.
It’s useful in so many applications such as freezing leftovers, bulk food prep, buying food in bulk at bargain prices, storing extra produce from your garden, and simple convenience like having a supply of frozen pizza bases handy.
Most foods can be frozen for a long time. For instance, fresh meat for up to a year, fish for up to 8 months, and leftovers for up to 3 months.
However, there are times when the freezer may start to add a bad flavor to the food stored in it.
So, if you are wondering, why does my freezer make my food taste bad? We have the information that you need!
Why Does My Freezer Make My Food Taste Bad?
1. Food Storage Method
First of all, you should check out what packaging you’ve stored your frozen food in. If it has been wrapped and packaged properly in airtight containers or packaging, the freezer smells and flavors will not be able to get to the food.
The right packaging will prevent flavor and odor transfer between the packages too. For instance, your bread won’t end up tasting like fish if they are both wrapped correctly! Correct wrapping and packaging will also prevent freezer burn.
2. Freezer Burn
Freezer burn is another reason behind bad flavor in food when it’s taken out of the freezer. “Freezer burn” is what we call it when moisture gets lost from the food during freezing. This is a particular problem with meat and poultry.
It begins to appear shriveled and takes on a greyish or brownish color. There may be ice crystals on the surface from the lost moisture. Once freezer-burned foods are defrosted, they have a tough, grainy, rough texture and bland, unpleasant taste.
Freezer burn can be prevented by tightly wrapping food that’s going to be frozen in something like cling film or foil. Squeeze as much air out as possible. Then, store it in an airtight Ziploc bag or plastic container before freezing.
This is to prevent the air from being in constant contact with the food, which causes it to dry out rapidly.
There’s more chance of food getting freezer-burned the longer it’s left in the freezer, so be sure to use the food within the recommended time.
3. Clean Up
If you haven’t cleaned the freezer for a long time, it will have a higher chance of creating a foul smell in the unit.
This is because the freezer often has some food particles or meat juices lying on the freezer’s surface that have gone bad and will add a foul smell to the food.
For this reason, you need to ensure regular cleaning of the freezer. (Regular defrosting and cleaning will also save on electricity bills because your freezer will work more optimally.)
- Turn the appliance off and unplug it.
- Remove all the food and put it in a cooler or the fridge. Discard any that is past the expiry/storage date. Also, discard any that has freezer burn or looks/smells bad.
- Remove any loose shelves and wash them with hot water and washing detergent. Allow them to drip dry.
- When the ice has all melted, mop the water up with old towels. Next, wipe down the inside of the freezer with hot soapy water. Rinse with clean water. To remove odors and sanitize the freezer, give it a final wipedown with a bleach solution. (15 ml of bleach to 4 liters of water.) Dry the inside properly with a clean, dry towel. Some freezers have a drain that should be unplugged and emptied.
- Replace the shelves and baskets.
- Turn the freezer back on and allow it to come to below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Return the food to the freezer and enjoy your clean, neat, odor-free freezer!
Repeat the process about once every six months to a year.
4. Old Food
If you have stored some food items for too long in the freezer, they could become a reason behind the bad flavor. This is because the food items have a specific shelf life even when you freeze the food.
So, if the food has been left in the freezer for too long, it will go off and develop a bad smell and taste. (It will also become unsafe to eat.)
The right approach is to label the food before you store it – specify what’s in the package and the date it was frozen. It’s helpful to give a “use by” date too.
5. Water Filter
Many combination fridges/freezers are designed with a water filter which is responsible for removing contaminants from the water on tap for consumption.
If the water filter is clogged and you have been using it for too long, it can add a bad odor to the food, and it will start smelling bad. Check in the manufacturer’s manual how often the filter should be changed and how to do it.
How To Clean Up Bad Smells In Your Freezer
Now that we have shared the most common reasons behind the bad smell in your freezer, let’s check out some easy fixes that will help prevent the bad taste and smell in food.
• You can put an open container of baking soda into the freezer as it’s great at absorbing the bad smells. Alternatively, when you defrost the freezer, wipe it down with a baking soda solution.
• If you are a pet owner, you can also use clean kitty litter and spread it in trays on the bottom of your freezer. It will absorb any bad odors that may be present.
• Use cookie sheets and sprinkle them with fresh coffee grounds because it does a great job at absorbing bad flavors and odors.