What, exactly, am I tasting when I taste that freezer/refrigerator taste?

I just had a cup of ice water, and the ice had that “freezer” taste. I think some call it “freezer burn”.

What, exactly, is in the ice (or whatever) that cases that distinct taste?

It’s mostly the odors from other foods in the refrigerator/freezer that have been absorbed by the ice.

Freezer burn is the drying out of a food’s surface in the freezer (usually meat), and results from the food being poorly wrapped. The low humidity air in your freezer will suck the moisture right out of anything that isn’t air-tight.

I thought of that, but it always tastes the same no matter what is in the fridge or freezer. It’s a very distinctive unique taste, unlike any food.

If so, then how can ice cubes get that flavor? It’s still pure frozen moisture.

It’s probably not food odors, but instead comes from rancid smells from wet surfaces. Smells are gases; they’re volatile vapor, and in theory they’ll tend to condense on ice cold surfaces. (If I’m right, then freezer frost should REALLY taste bad.)

I wonder if there’s a particular bacteria which puts out that odor, and which thrives in dark, cold, wet refridgerator environment.