National Frozen Food Day recognizes the preservation feat that freezing fruits, vegetables, and meats have been on modern life. Celebrated each year on March 6th, the observance takes a look at how frozen food impacts our daily lives, its history, and how far it has come.
The frozen food aisle is as standard in the grocery store today as ATMs and self-checkouts. It’s also a convenience we don’t give a second thought to unless the power goes out. The American inventor, entrepreneur, and naturalist Clarence Frank Birdseye II receives credit for developing the method for the flash freezing preserve flavor and quality of foods. Today, we see his name in nearly every canned goods and frozen food aisle in every grocery store in America.
While food preservation by freezing wasn’t new, Birdseye discovered the key was freezing the food quickly. Flash freezing forms small ice crystals, which prevent the cell walls from bursting. Large ice crystals turn the food to mush.
Birdseye applied for many patents, but one of his earliest is from 1927 for a process to flash freeze foods. Consider that in 1930 only 8 percent of American households had refrigeration units in their homes. A frozen food patent in 1927 was a visionary step in a long chain of events to make frozen foods a marketable product.
In 1930, the Birdseye label, owned by the General Food Corporation, began selling 26 products to 18 retails stores in and around Springfield, Massachusetts. Clarence Birdseye continued his work with General Foods Corporation.
Birdseye died on October 7, 1956, but the name and products he inspired continue today.
In 1954, Swanson introduced the first frozen dinners. At the time, the consumers knew them as TV dinners since they were designed to be eaten in front of the newly popular television. Special folding trays, called TV trays, stored conveniently away when not in use. But when dinner time rolled around, they unfolded for each person’s TV dinner. Everyone gathered around the television to enjoy their meal. These pre-cooked meals only needed to be heated through in the oven to be ready to eat. No cooking skills were required. Pre-heat the oven, cook for the required length of time and eat.
The invention of the microwave also changed the types of frozen foods and just how convenient these items can be. Over the years, other frozen foods have developed to meet consumer demand. Various family-sized meals, health conscience meals, and even organic meals have hit the markets in recent years.
Even better make your own. Freezer meals have gained wide spread fame. 1 day of prep will fill your freezer with easy weeknight meals. By preparing them yourself they can be customized for your diet and taste. My husband is diabetic so controlling the foods in them makes it better for his health and easier for me.
You can find even more of my recipes here. While they are not all freezer meals, they are delicious and easy.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalFrozenFoodDay
Take a trip to your local grocery store and find one of your favorites in the frozen food aisle!! Use #NationalFrozenFoodDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL FROZEN FOOD DAY HISTORY
President Ronald Reagan signed Proclamation 5157 in which it said: “Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 6, 1984, as Frozen Food Day, and I call upon the American people to observe such day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”