Despite their simple appearance, frozen pizzas are a genuinely amazing creation of contemporary production techniques and food science. But may these pies rot since they are usually kept frozen (until it’s time to prepare them)?
Can frozen pizza become stale? Although frozen pizzas don’t necessarily go bad in the classic sense, they can quickly lose their flavor and texture. The most common cause of this is oxidative damage, but if enough things go wrong during storage, mold and dangerous bacteria can also develop. Learn more about how frozen pizzas keep their quality, the best way to store them at home, and how to check for spoiling by reading the information below.
How Are Frozen Pizzas Made?
Frozen pizzas are produced by a succession of enormous, industrial-grade machines that produce dozens of half-baked or fully-baked pies in seconds. Pizzas were always meant to be handcrafted before the industrial period, and they had to be baked right away to retain their great flavor and delicate texture. Manufacturers discovered a cunning technique to keep the freshness and quality of pre-made pizzas by following a few key storage best practices as our understanding of industrial processes evolved.
The origins of frozen pizza can be traced back to a few common ingredients. The crust is first made with a simple component mixture. Each company has their unique method of making dough – and most keep their recipe a tightly guarded secret! The dough is made up of flour, salt, sugar, water, flavorings, and preservatives in that order. The chemicals and preservatives in the dough are critical to the pie’s quality.
While the pizza may be able to live without preservatives once frozen, it may not last as long as a pie that contains the necessary food-safe chemicals to preserve it. After shaping the dough into a crust, dozens of pies are placed in a huge oven that cooks the dough from all sides. This technique also eliminates any residual microorganisms on and near the crust’s surface.
Following this, a series of machines add the sauce, toppings, and other ingredients to the pies before they are ready for the next stage. This is when things start to get chilly! The finished pizzas are transported to an industrial cooling unit, where they are frozen at -25°F for 20-30 minutes. Each pie is delivered frozen and then inspected for flaws. Then it’s just a matter of sealing the prepared pies in sealed plastic bags and shipping them to local businesses!
Pizzas are transported frozen from the production floor to stores in temperature-controlled vans. The pies are subsequently offloaded and stored in individual chillers at the stores.
Storing Frozen Pizza
A fresh frozen pizza’s quality and security are in your hands once you’ve paid for it. Additionally, this is typically when spoiling risks rise. The pies begin to defrost as soon as they are removed from the chiller. So that they can stay frozen for as long as possible, we advise placing any frozen items at the end of your shopping list. A frozen pizza can easily lose its quality if it is left in the cart while you shop or perform errands before getting home. The frozen pies might be able to withstand room temperature for up to one or two hours before needing refrigeration.
We advise thawing newly purchased frozen pizza the same day; however, you might just store the pack at 0°F up to the best-before date. Since most foods can’t grow dangerous bacteria once they are frozen, frozen foods typically don’t have an expiration date. But over time, they do lose their initial flavor and even texture.
Oxidative stress is what causes it, and it is a natural process. When air gently seeps into the package, oxidization takes place, naturally aging the materials. Because of this, the majority of frozen meals have a “best before” date that denotes the product’s quality rather than its safety.
Top Storage Best Practices
You should always keep a few things in mind to extend the shelf life of uncooked leftovers when it comes time to prepare a frozen pizza. If you purchased a pack of two or three frozen pizzas, it is advised that you remove the necessary number of pies within a short period of time and then quickly refreeze the remaining pizzas. This may sound excessive, but depending on the surrounding temperature and weather, the pizzas will start to thaw quickly after they are removed from the refrigerator. Avoiding freezer burn is another reason why you should refreeze the pies as soon as possible.
Moisture is necessary for the occurrence of freezer burn. Condensation will occur as the pies thaw, causing moisture to build up. While this may not seem like a significant concern, even a little layer of moisture can be disastrous! Some of the extra water will evaporate as the pizza refreezes with the additional moisture, while the remaining water molecules will crystallize. The components’ moisture is completely removed during this process by the air and freezing temperatures.
So how may freezer burn be avoided?
Move the leftover pizzas into an airtight container to prevent freezer burn. The absence of air prevents a substantial layer of ice from forming on top of the pies, even if they do have moisture. To stop this from happening, use a container or an airtight freezer-safe bag. Keep in mind that since the pies often arrive in sealed plastic bags, as long as they are kept out of the air, they should stay fresh.
Signs of Spoilage
Because frozen pizzas spend the majority of their storage life inside a freezer, they frequently contain extremely mild symptoms of deterioration. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when preparing a frozen pie.
The majority of frozen pizzas contain chemicals and preservatives that prevent color changes, however older frozen pizzas may look drabber. The pie’s flavor and general quality could be impacted, but this does not necessarily imply that the pie has gone bad. On the other hand, dark discolouration could be a sign of spoiling! In actuality, freezing pizza isn’t a precise science, and there are many factors to take into consideration at home. The pie should be kept toward the rear of the freezer to protect it from small temperature variations as you visit the freezer. Pizza has likely gone rotten if you observe any green, gray, or other odd discoloration surrounding the pie. Don’t forget to check the pie’s bottom, which is typically the most neglected and susceptible to spoilage.
Fresh frozen pizza should smell, well, like pizza. Neither more nor less! If there is even a faint unpleasant odor, this indicates that hazardous bacteria have formed in the pie. We recommend storing the pies away from strong-smelling items to avoid confusion. To ensure lifespan and freshness, always store frozen pizzas in a separate airtight bag.
This trait isn’t always a sign of ruined pizza, but it could mean the pie has lost its consistency and presumably also its flavor. A crumbly crust typically indicates that the pizza has either gone past its “best before” date or that temperature fluctuations during storage have had a significant negative impact on it. These pies are really tough to rescue and probably won’t taste very good, so we advise tossing them away! Even if the pie doesn’t exhibit other indicators of deterioration, it may have gone bad if you see a thin layer of slime or oiliness surrounding the frozen pie.
Frozen pizzas are an extremely convenient method to enjoy fresh pizzas on demand, but they must be stored properly to maximize their shelf life. Now that you know how frozen pizzas can go bad, here are some questions on the subject.
Can you eat pizzas with freezer burn?
Yes. Air and moisture on the pie cause freezer burn, which changes the flavor and texture of the pie without necessarily lowering its quality. Pies with freezer burn are not recommended because they probably won’t taste very good. Because the damage has already been done, don’t bother scraping off the excess frost that is covering the crust.
Can cooked pizzas be refrozen?
Yes. It’s simple to store heated frozen pizzas in a refrigerator or freezer. When preserving leftover slices in the refrigerator, we advise keeping them in an airtight container at 40°F. For the finest flavor, finish off all leftovers within 1-2 days. The extra slices can be be frozen by placing them in a different airtight container and keeping them at 0°F for up to 2-3 weeks. Pizza that you thawed but didn’t wind up cooking should not be refrozen because the liquid will likely prevent it from freezing properly and cause it to get soggy the next time you thaw it.