How to Thaw Food Safely


Thawing food may seem simple, but if done incorrectly, it can make you just vitamin a sick as undercooking food .
How is this potential ? Let ’ s start by talking about temperature and bacteria.

The temperature risk zone for food

Bacteria need certain temperatures to grow. Temperatures below 41°F decelerate down bacterial growth and keep the bacteria from multiplying on your food. Temperatures above 135°F are excessively hot for most bacteria to survive .
The temperature range between these two numbers ( 41°F and 135°F ) is the temperature danger zone. It ’ randomness called the danger partition because bacteria can multiply quickly between these temperatures. One of the reasons we refrigerate and freeze perishable food items like meat is to keep the bacteria that naturally occurs on it from multiplying to dangerous levels .

Why you should never thaw food on the counter

It ’ mho important to know that the freeze process doesn ’ t actually kill any of the bacteria in food. In temperatures below 0°F, pathogens like bacteria, yeast, and model can ’ t multiply to make food go badly. however, when any contribution of the food warms up to temperatures above 41°F, the bacteria will be warmly adequate to multiply again .
This is why thawing foods on the kitchen counter is sol dangerous. When you thaw food this way, its coat will thaw faster than the middle. Once the surface has thawed, and continues to sit in temperatures above 41°F, bacteria will start growing. While you waited for the rest of the food to thaw out, the bacteria could have multiplied on its surface so many times that even cooking won ’ t make it safe to eat !
To keep bacteria from growing out of hand, it ’ sulfur authoritative to thaw freeze foods in ways that keep it out of the temperature danger zone a much as possible. here are four option methods for thawing food that will keep your food safe, in order from fastest to slowest .

Method # 1 : thaw by cooking

This first gear method acting is one of the fastest ways to thaw food. It ’ randomness precisely what it sounds like, thawing your food by cooking it. This method acting typically works best when you ’ rhenium working with little pieces of food, like grind or chopped meat. The smaller the cook sphere, the better.
basically, the determination behind this method is to move food through the temperature danger zone quickly enough that the bacteria doesn ’ t have time to multiply to dangerous levels. That ’ second why it works then well with little pieces of food or ground kernel — the food is able to separate into smaller pieces as it cooks, allowing you to cook it faster .
Depending on your fudge method acting, you can besides use this method acting with unharmed meats. For example, you could use a slow cooker or a pressure cooker to cook a frozen chicken. It might take a while, but it could be done. Be careful with thawing solid meats during fudge, however. The department of the interior heats up last, so you could burn the away of the meat while the inwardly is hush thawing .

Method # 2 : thaw in the microwave

Using the microwave is another fast way to thaw food. On average, defrosting in the microwave takes about 7-8 minutes per thump of food. Just like the cooking method acting, microwaves heat up food quickly, which gives bacteria less time to multiply.
One potential downside to this method acting is that microwaved food sometimes heats unevenly. even on the defrost set, parts of your food can be cooking while early parts are even freeze. You can combat this by mixing the food sporadically during defrosting .
This is one argue why microwaving whole food items is not recommended. If it heats unevenly, the outside of the food could be cooking while the inside is growing bacteria .
Microwaving is ideal for minor amounts of food, or food that will be added into a larger dish later. This lowers the likelihood of getting half-thawed food. For exemplify, if you were making runt gumbo, you could thaw shrimp in the microwave and then add it to the stay of the soup. This way, the runt can continue to cook in the grizzle and it ’ s not a problem if some portions of shrimp didn ’ thymine fully thaw .

Method # 3 : thaw in cold water

This method typically takes 20-30 minutes per syrian pound of food and requires some plan and homework. cold water dissolve is meant to keep the surface of your food cool enough that bacterial growth stays slow, allowing the food to slowly, safely thaw all the way through.
Unlike the first two methods, you will not be cooking the food as you thaw it, so it ’ s important that you keep the temperature of the water systematically at or below 70°F. You should refresh the cold urine every thirty minutes or so .
One way to keep the water cold without having to endlessly watch over it is to fill a stadium with cold body of water and leave the exploit running over the food as it thaws. This does require a fortune of water, but it will keep the surface temperature of your food from growing bacteria besides quickly .
If you can, keep your food in its original container or in a formative, resealable bag to protect your kitchen sink and antagonistic from germs .

Method # 4 : thaw in the refrigerator

This is by army for the liberation of rwanda the safest method acting for thawing, specially when thawing whole food items. It besides takes the longest total of time. Depending on the type of food you are thawing, five pounds of food can take 24 hours to thaw.

Read more: Who Invented Pizza?

While this method acting decidedly takes some plan ahead, there are many upsides to thawing your food this room :

  • The refrigerator keeps the food safe from bacterial increase the integral time it thaws .
  • You won ’ t need to keep watch over the food .
  • If you decide to change the meal you had planned, you can put the food directly back into the deep-freeze without needing to cook it first. This item is explained in more contingent below .

Can you refreeze food after it ’ mho been thawed ?

As you ’ ve already read, germs like yeast and fungus can ’ metric ton grow at 0°F or below. This means that food kept at or below zero technically stays condom to eat indefinitely, but the quality of your food decreases the longer it remains flash-frozen .
When water freezes, it expands. When the water molecules in food freeze, they besides expand, rupturing the cellular telephone walls they are housed in. Each time that happens, season gets lost .
On top of that, when your food thaw in the temperature risk zone ( 41°F to 135°F ), bacteria can multiply on your food to the point of being dangerous, even if you refreeze the food. This is the biggest advantage to thawing food in the refrigerator — the food can thaw without ever entering the temperature danger zone .
You can hush refreeze food if you use one of the early three thawing methods, but you should cook the food to proper temperatures before sticking them back into your deep-freeze. This extra step will kill any bacteria that might have started growing while you were thawing the food .

How long does food final in the deep-freeze ?

Remember, food stored at 0°F is technically condom to eat indefinitely. But because food quality decreases the longer it stays freeze, the relish of freeze food is a different story. For that argue, most freezer guidelines you see are based on when food will be at its top out quality, not when it will go bad .
If you have any questions on how long to keep food in your deep-freeze, the USDA has a list of foods and their recommend deep-freeze times. For case, the USDA recommends throwing out freeze chicken after 6-12 months in the deep-freeze. The chicken is distillery safe to eat at 13 months, but it will likely have fiddling to no relish .
Be aware that fish and early seafood don ’ thyroxine refreeze vitamin a well as other common meats. If possible, try to lone cook them once .
You can besides check out our leftovers article for recommendations on how long to keep food in the deep-freeze .

What about deep-freeze burn ?

When food gets deep-freeze burned, it means its choice has been compromised. even though it ’ s technically even safe to eat, it credibly won ’ triiodothyronine taste very good .
If a food item has extensive deep-freeze cut, you may just want to throw it away. If merely a helping of the food is burned, you can cut away those portions and use the rest .
You can besides follow these tips to help avoid deep-freeze cut in the first place :

  1. Use packaging designed for use in a freezer. These bags and containers are normally thicker and are designed to protect the integrity of the food you put in the deep-freeze .
  2. Remove excess air from inside the packaging before freezing. Freezer burn off happens when the food comes into contact with oxygen.
  3. Let food cool before freezing it. not lone will this help prevent deep-freeze cauterize, it ’ ll help keep foodborne bacteria from growing to dangerous levels while it cools in the deep-freeze .

As a final note, food that has been in the deep-freeze for a long clock, particularly if it has signs of deep-freeze burn, is not probably to taste dependable on its own. But that doesn ’ t think of it ’ s merely match for the garbage can ! Try using it in other recipes like stews, casseroles, chili, etc. The other foods will help make up for less flavorful ingredients .
— Hailey Kate Chatlin