Re supermarkets not being candid about what foods have been frzen
This is a rant about certain foods sold in the supermarket that are alleged to never have been frozen, but which in fact are almost always frozen. This annoys me for 2 reasons: first, it makes me wonder about what other lies I'm being told; and second, frozen-then-defrosted foods lose flavor.
One of these is poultry products--chicken in various forms, and turkey parts (wings, thighs, legs) that appear to be packaged by the original vendor.
I first discovered this when I inadvertently bought some defrosted swordfish: it was significantly lacking in flavor, compared to never-frozen swordfish.
If you ask the employees working the meat counter, they will tell you "oh, no, we don't freeze these items, tho we DO chill them down to 26 degrees."
I guess I must be living in some kind of parallel universe, because in my universe, "freezing" is 32 degrees F, so anything below that--for example, 26--means "freezing".
Sometimes, you can find one of these "never frozen" packages in the meat case, frozen solid. Show it to the meat counter person and you get puzzled looks.
It's very easy to determine whether your package of chicken or anything else has been frozen, then defrosted: it has liquid sloshing around in the package. This occurs because freezing any food product of any kind--vegetables, meat, chicken, etc--results in the release of water.
I've started looking around for stores--old-fashioned butcher shops--that have never "chilled" their products down to 26 deg.
Anyone else have any observations or complaints about this?
I can't tell with chicken to be honest, unless it has freezer burn or has been in the freezer for months. Other than that I think most food loses flavor when it's been frozen- beef, seafood, produce etc. Seafood in particular not only loses some of it's original flavor but it develops a distinct frozen flavor. Bread bothers me too- I hate when it's defrosting and ice crystals melt and pool and make my bread soggy.
The issue with frozen poultry is political. Customers will pay more for fresh poultry than for frozen. There was a big fight in the US Congress a few years back about how to label "chilled" chickens. The California delegation wanted them labeled as "frozen", but the Southern delegations wanted them labeled as "fresh"--all for economic reasons. Eventually, they reached a compromise. The "chilled" chickens can't be advertised as fresh, but they don't need to say that they have been frozen. Also, I believe they cannot be advertised as "Never frozen".
I've bought canteloupes at sprouts and the Mexican market a few times and they were very very very cold. I'm not sure if they were frozen. They may be shipped that way, though.
I thought most fish is frozen on the boat? I guess there is not a universal definition of frozen in the supermarket world (like organic has stringent standards, while natural does not).
"I guess I must be living in some kind of parallel universe, because in my universe, "freezing" is 32 degrees F, so anything below that--for example, 26--means "freezing".
32° F is the freezing temperature for pure water at sea level. It is not the freezing temperature for the complex solution of water, salts, proteins and fats in a chicken.
You can thank your friendly federal government, which approves "chilling" to 26 degrees and says that is not frozen! Most chicken in markets comes from an outside vendor pre-packaged. Even the natural and organic ones "chill" the product and most butchers don't kill the chickens. They just buy bulk boxes of chicken and put it out for sale. If you live in a fairly large metropolitan area, look for a kosher or halal butcher for truly fresh meat.