I want to fry taco shells ahead of time to use for Purim. What’s the best way to keep fried food fresh and crispy?
As I was discussing with Leah the best way to fry these taco shells ahead of time to use in this recipe for my mishloach manot, she said, “Why don’t you freeze them?”
“Ah, you’re right. Why don’t I? What’s the best way to freeze fried foods?”
“Why don’t you ask Mike? He knows the science behind freezing fried foods.”
So, I called Mike from Mike’s Chicken Crunchers so I could share all his tips with you.
“Certain foods are definitely better in the freezer. The fridge is a much more humid environment. When you keep something in the fridge, food absorbs humidity and moisture and turns soggy. The freezer is a dry environment. Our skin is drier in the winter because there’s very little humidity in the air. Crispy foods will stay nice and crunchy when stored in the freezer.”
Ok, so I’m going to freeze my taco shells.
“Wait until they cool down. Never freeze things hot. Hot foods will continuously give off moisture and ice crystals will form. One ice crystals form, that means you’ve fractured the cellular wall of the food and it deteriorates. Once there are ice crystals, you’re losing texture and flavor and food quality.
“Ever wonder why frozen vegetables are mushy? That’s because the water molecules inside the vegetables harden and fracture the cells of the vegetable. Once the vegetable is not frozen anymore, it goes completely limp. There’s no structure to it anymore because all the cells have been ruptured.”
How Do We Avoid That?
“Vacuum sealing food is a very good way to get around that but it’s not always viable. Alternatively, let it cool down and pack it up well. The less air in the bag the better. That’s why there are freezers that freeze at faster rates. Ice crystals form because it takes longer for the freezing process to happen.”
So…Now How to Defrost?
“Defrost it slowly at room temperature, and it’ll retain the crunchiness when it slowly reabsorbs moisture.” As in, never thaw crispy foods in the fridge, where they’ll be thrown into a wet and moist environment!
But, Keep in Mind…
“When it comes to fried foods, nothing is going to be as good as foods that are fried fresh! Some foods are actually better when they’re refried. Like a French fry.
I have one type of chicken that I make that’s fried twice and is better on the second fry. All of my chicken is fried fresh except for one type. After it’s fried the first time, it’s shocked in hot oil that crisps the outside without cooking it further inside…refrying has to be done correctly.”
Thank you Mike…I’m going to make sure my taco shells are completely cooled before I pack them away in a tightly sealed bag.