What Is Freezer Burn — and Can It Be Prevented?

Medically Reviewed by Madeline Hubbard, RN, BSN

Photo Courtesy: Grace Cary/Moment/Getty Images

Why do foods change color and texture after being in the freezer for a long period of time? This change is called "freezer burn," and occurs when a food that's been left in the freezer loses its moisture. 

Freezer burn is marked by visible ice crystal, which grow on the outside of certain foods, and at times, discoloration. For example, a piece of red meat with freezer burn may turn a grayish brown, while chicken with freezer burn tends to become darker. Whatever the case, this discoloration indicates that the frozen food has suffered from dehydration and oxidation. 

So, is it safe to eat foods that've been impacted by freezer burn? And, better yet, is there a way to prevent freezer burn in the first place? We're taking a closer look.