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What is Freezer Paper? What’s it Used For?

A collage of freezer paper.

In appearance, freezer paper is similar to parchment paper, but closer inspection reveals a polyethylene covering on one side. Freezer paper is perfect for freezing food, especially meats, because of its coating, preventing frost buildup and freezer burn.

Paper is crucial in all phases of the food service industry, from transporting to storing and presenting the foods. There are several distinct types of paper, all of which have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and each is designed for a specialized function in the food industry.

For instance, many people incorrectly assume that freezer paper, wax paper, as well as parchment paper, are the same thing, even though they serve very different roles. Let’s examine the features of the freezer paper and its purpose.

Related: Types of Freezers How Do Freezers Work What is Freezer Burn

What is Freezer Paper?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA, to prevent freezer burn and moisture loss, many people use freezer paper, which is a white sheet with a plastic coating on one side of it.

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Freezer paper’s coating is what makes it so useful for freezing foods, especially meats, before consumption. Freezer paper may keep meat frozen for as long as a year because of its covering, which prevents air from escaping while sealing in moisture.

That coating is the secret to preventing freezer burn on frozen meals, but it’s also the reason why you shouldn’t use freezer sheets in the microwave or to line pans or sheets that will be cooked in the oven. You don’t want the poly covering to degrade and melt into the meal while cooking.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t use parchment for chilling purposes because its absence of a coating won’t provide the necessary protection for your food or seal in the moisture required to maintain freshness.

The takeaway here is to use parchment paper when cooking with heat and freezer paper when cooking in the fridge or freezer to keep things fresh.

What Distinguishes Freezer Paper From Other Paper Types?

Freezer papers flat lay on white table.

It is the coating that makes one sort of paper distinct from the other. Parchment paper is an extremely thick and thin paper type that is uncoated on both sides. Parchment paper is non-stick simply because it is made from cellulose and not coated in any way.

That implies the parchment sheet is well-suited to tolerate heat, without danger of any coatings or toxic contact with the foods that touch it. Parchment paper has many uses in the kitchen, from coating baking sheets and pans to protecting food in the microwave and preventing mess when serving.

So, What Exactly Is Freezer Paper Used For?

Cuts of meat, such as steaks and chicken breasts, are best stored in the freezer using freezer paper. Heavy-duty paper construction makes it more durable than foil, which can be easily torn or punctured.

It’s preferable to use plastic containers, which permit some air around the meat and lead to frost, but also freezer burn since they can be folded over the meat to cover it tightly.

The difference between frost and freezer burn is important to remember. Because water always condenses into ice at the nearby coldest surface, frost is nothing more than the crystallization of moisture on a frozen object. The water content of meat gradually migrates to the surface and freezes to produce ice crystals over time.

What we call “freezer burn” occurs when a piece of meat loses so much moisture that it shrivels up and becomes inedible. Freezer burn is not caused by the frost itself, but rather by the prolonged drying out that results.

Freezer burn, on the other hand, is not harmful. You can safely consume the food by removing the damaged portions before consumption. The risk of freezer burn increases if the freezer’s temperature rises above or falls below the recommended 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

We can store steaks for up to a year if they are wrapped in freezer paper and placed in a plastic freezer bag, as long as the temperature in the freezer remains at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

When Shouldn’t We Use Freezer Paper?

Middle age man wrapping fish on freezer paper.

Freezer paper can’t go in the oven or microwave since the plastic covering would dissolve into the food.

Due to the difficulties in properly wrapping small, loose products like beans or grain, this method is not the ideal option for freezing these foods.

Defrosting Using Freezer Paper

Freezer paper has the drawback of restricting your defrosting options.

The safest and most efficient way to thaw food from the freezer is to place it in the refrigerator the night before you plan to consume it. Wrapping the food in a freezer sheet is a must for this method to function.

However, What If Time Is Of The Essence? 

Steaks and chicken breasts can be defrosted quickly in a bowl of cold water with the faucet running to maintain freshwater circulating the food.

The running water’s convection effect aids in the uniform thawing of the area, and it also prevents the surrounding water from becoming stale or overheated (which could create a food safety hazard).

However, you can’t use freezer paper for this purpose because the water would eventually leak through and ruin your food. If your food is in a plastic freezer bag, then you can safely utilize this speedier thawing method. Again, freezer paper is effective if you’re content to use the time-tested method of thawing in the refrigerator.

How Similar Are Freezer Paper And Parchment?

Woman's hand holding parchment paper on table.

Which is better: foil or freezer paper?

Meat and other goods for the freezer can be wrapped in either freezer paper or heavy-duty foil, but which is preferable? A draw seems likely at this point.

They are both resistant to moisture and protect against freezer burn. The major distinction, like with wax paper, is that aluminum foil can be cleaned and reused. In addition, because it retains its form, you won’t need to use freezer tape to keep it in place.

Ironically, aluminum foil can impart a metallic taste to anything you’re cooking. Wrap the meat inside the plastic wrap and afterward foil if you’re going to freeze it in foil.

Comparing Wax Paper And Freezer Paper

Freezer paper, as well as wax paper, serve the same purpose; wrapping and freezing food, hence they are often used interchangeably. Freezer paper, in contrast to wax paper, has only one side covered with plastic. Freezer paper is more reliable than wax for protection in the freezer because of its plastic layer.

Wax paper can only prevent freezer burn for so long when storing food like meat. On the other hand, meat stored in freezer paper has a shelf life of up to a year. Freezer paper has better moisture resistance than regular paper.

Can I Use Butcher Paper in Place of Freezer Paper?

Butcher paper on top of chopping board.

There is a significant difference between freezer paper and butcher paper, even though they are sometimes lumped together. White in hue, butcher paper is often manufactured from Kraft pulp. 

Butcher paper is a low-priced alternative to other types of paper with several applications. White paper on a roll is a common form of freezer paper. One side of freezer paper is coated with polyethylene to make it more durable when wet.

Rolls of freezer paper and butcher paper serve a wide range of purposes in many different businesses. Uses range from those found in delis as well as butcher’s shops to those of disposable tablecloths. Our butcher and freezer paper are both made from high-grade virgin paper and meet all FDA requirements.

Bleached, polyethylene-coated freezer paper is appropriate for use in damp conditions. The polyethylene layer makes freezer paper more durable and resistant to moisture. Freezer paper combined with plastic wrap is a common method of long-term freezer storage used by many businesses. Each roll of our 40 lb. freezer paper is 1100 feet long. You can choose from rolls with widths between 15 and 48 inches.

Butcher paper is a heavyweight paper that can be used for many different tasks. Butcher paper rolls are used for cold-cut storage as well as meat wrapping in commercial kitchens. Our 40 lb. butcher paper comes on rolls that are 1000 feet in length. Butcher paper rolls are available in widths ranging from 12 inches to 60 feet.

Using Freezer Paper vs. Freezer Bags

Foods wrapped with freezer bags on freezer.

Which materials can we freeze for an extended period? Thicker materials are less vulnerable to tears or punctures when stored in cold environments. Freezer bags, being made of plastic rather than paper, will stay longer in the freezer.

Because it contains paper, freezer paper quickly tears when wet, allowing moisture to permeate and spoil the food. Contrarily, freezer bags are more robust than freezer paper since they are constructed with a thicker material. So, unlike freezer paper, food stored in freezer bags retains its freshness for far longer and suffers much less freezer burn.

We can accomplish short-term meat storage with freezer paper. Freezer paper, as well as freezer pouches both, have a shelf life of six months or a year when stored in the freezer, but I’ve found that freezer bags survive the longest. Now, the timeframe is highly variable depending on the product you are freezing.

Which Method Is More Effective In Avoiding Freezer Burns?

Freezer paper plus freezer bags aren’t foolproof, but I’ve learned that using them combined is the best method for avoiding freezer burn while storing perishables in the freezer.

Since exposure to air can spoil meat, it’s better to wrap each serving in freezer paper before storing it in a freezer bag.

The white, dried-out blotches that form on the top of frozen meals are called freezer burns. Freezer burn does not cause illness, but it does make meat and vegetables rough, discolored, and tasteless when eaten from the freezer.

Freezer burn is most often caused by air. Foods that have been frozen lose moisture in the air, and oxygen enters to replace it. A Frost layer (freezer burn) forms underneath a storage package whenever air is present. This prevents the food inside from defrosting properly.

Freezer Wrapping with paper prevents moisture from escaping and air from entering due to the protective film on one side as well as the heavy weight of the sheet, which is cut to perfectly fit the shape of whatever you’re wrapping. In addition to protecting the meat from freezer burn, this also keeps its natural color and flavor intact.

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