Thursday, March 6, 2008

Throwback Thursday - Frozen Foods

I apologize in advance for the formatting on this post. I'm not sure what's going on, but hopefully it's just a fluke....

On this day in 1930, Clarence Birdseye, food expert, industrialist, and inventor, introduced
prepackaged, quick-frozen food to American consumers.

When I first read that, I pushed it aside and kept searching for something about which to blog.
Then I started thinking about it. Frozen foods? They must take up 1/10 of every grocery store
in today's culture. We buy TONS of frozen foods - from vegetables to meat to individual serving-
sized meals. Where would we be without frozen foods?

Mr. Birdseye, probably most well known for his frozen vegetables, became interested in the
preservation of food by freezing while working as a field naturalist for the United States
government in Labrador, Canada, between 1912-1915. He had taken the job to help pay for his
education as a biology major at Amherst College. He was taught by the Inuit how to ice fish
under very thick ice. In -40°C weather, he discovered that the fish he caught froze almost
instantly, and upon thawing, it tasted very fresh. He knew right away that the frozen seafood
sold in New York was of lower quality than the frozen fish of Labrador.

Conventional freezing methods of the time were commonly done at higher temperatures, and
thus the freezing occurred much more slowly, and this gave ice crystals more time to grow.
Because of Clarence Birdseye, we now know that fast freezing produces smaller ice crystals
which cause less damage to the cellular tissue structure (and tastes a whole lot better!).

It's funny how I've never even considered life without frozen foods.

(For a full biography on Clarence Birdseye, you may place your cursor here and click).

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