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  • It’s Monday night, and you just got home.

  • Youre too exhausted to actually cook a decent meal, so you reach into the freezer

  • and pull out a frozen dinner from the back.

  • Your stomach rumbles.

  • You open the box and pull out your lasagna and. Noooo!

  • Freezer burn.

  • Everything’s covered in a thick layer of stale-smelling ice crystals, and you know

  • your dinner is ruined.

  • It’s a common thing. Any food you leave in the freezer too long is eventually going

  • to end up about as appealing as a dead Tauntaun.

  • Why, you ask?

  • Because it’s drying up.

  • See, there are frozen water molecules in your steak, or ice cream, or bag of corn.

  • And over time, in the dry air of your freezer, some of those molecules tend to sublimate

  • -- in other words, they go directly from solid ice to water vapor.

  • You may have noticed this happening to ice cubes, too -- it’s why they slowly shrink

  • in their trays when you couldve sworn you filled them up all the way.

  • The molecules will often then re-freeze somewhere else, like on the package or as part of the

  • gigantic frost wall that’s threatening to slowly take over your entire freezer.

  • But either way, your food isn’t getting its moisture back -- it ends up dehydrated

  • and discolored, not to mention puckered and gray and generally unappetizing.

  • You can help delay freezer burn by double-wrapping foods and sealing them in air-tight containers

  • to reduce their exposure to air, but if you leave your food in the freezer long enough, eventually

  • sublimation is going to ruin your dinner plans.

  • The good news -- if you can call it that -- is that frozen foods don’t decay, so while freezer-burned

  • food might look and smell terrible, it's probably still safe to eat, technically.

  • Thanks for asking, and thanks especially to all of our patrons on Patreon who keep these

  • answers coming. If you’d like to submit questions to be answered, or get some videos

  • a few days early, go to patreon.com/scishow. And don’t forget to go to youtube.com/scishow

  • and subscribe!

It’s Monday night, and you just got home.

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Why Is Freezer Burn Ruining My Food?

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    Angela Hsu posted on 2016/07/04
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