If your freezer manages to freeze food solid, then it's running at the correct temperature, right? Turns out the temperature at which food freezes and the freezer temperature it should be stored at can be two different things. Even if your freezer seems to be doing its job, you should know the correct temperature to set it to!
Kitchen Fact: The ideal temperature range for your freezer is 0° Fahrenheit or below (-18° Celsius or below).
Food stored at 0° Fahrenheit or below is safe to eat indefinitely (although quality and taste may be compromised after a while). While many foods will freeze at about 32° Fahrenheit, they need to be stored at 0° Fahrenheit to slow down deterioration, so colder is better.
And don't worry about freezer burn with really cold temperatures — it's caused by exposure to air, not temperature.
To make sure your freezer is running at the correct temperature, get a freezer thermometer to monitor the temperature, and make sure you defrost your freezer every once in awhile to make sure it's running efficiently.
Kitchen Fact Source: Freezing and Food Safety at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
More Freezer Tips from The Kitchn
- How To Clean The Freezer
- The Best Way to Organize Your Freezer
- Why You Should Clean out Your Freezer in the Winter
- Why It's Important to Defrost Your Freezer