Why Letting frozen food thaw properly is important
out allows it to reach a temperature where it becomes palatable or where it’s easier to cook with.
If you try to cook with frozen food, you may end up with extra water in your pot or your food might not cook thoroughly. Most food can’t be cooked right away when it’s frozen. It needs to thaw out first.
Of course, it’s tough to eat frozen food in most cases, as it would be too hard for you to bite through.
There’s a method to thaw out food in a way that is safe, practical, and effective. Depending on how much time you have, you may want to place the food from the freezer into the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight.
This method can take a few hours, so it’s a good one to use if you want to minimize your workload and let the food thaw on its own in a temperature controlled environment.
Thawing with the fridge ensures that the food stays cold the entire time, and even if you forget about it for a few hours, it will still be kept cold and safe.
You could also thaw your food in a bowl of water, but there’s pros and cons to this as well. This can take some extra work, it can create more of a mess, and you have to stay on top of it, not leaving the food in the bowl of water for too long. It could easily spoil if it sits in the water for a few extra hours.
Another method for thawing food out would be to defrost it in the microwave. This is an excellent way to warm your food quickly, moving it from frozen to simply cold and ready to be cooked or eaten.
You may have concerns about microwave radiation in the food and using a method that some people would find unnatural. You may also be concerned about defrosting the food and its effect on the flavor or texture of your dish. These may be valid concerns depending on which kind of food you are thawing out.
With all of these methods, it’s best to rotate the food as it thaws. Why is that? Why should you rotate food when thawing it?
Why should you thaw feed slowly?
The reason you rotate when you thaw is to allow your food to achieve the proper temperature in a way that is safe and effective.
This keeps ice from being trapped under part of the food. As you rotate it, you expose ice that may be chunked up, covered, or trapped. If you don’t rotate the food, that ice could cause your food to thaw out more slowly and unevenly.
Rotating the food as it thaws allows the food to reach a safe internal temperature, and you’ll need to rotate a few times, if your frozen food is large. A smaller frozen item might not need to be rotated at all or maybe just rotated once.
If you’re defrosting food to thaw it out from frozen, make sure it gets defrosted with the same method on every side.
Does Freezing food keep bacteria from taking hold and growing on it?
The low temperature can kill bacteria effectively and prevent bacterial growth. When defrosting, you want to be aware of bacteria as well. During that process, make sure that defrosting occurs over all of the food in an even manner.
Bacteria may start to grow in the parts of the food that are warmer than others, so keeping a consistent temperature is helpful for avoiding bacteria, and rotating allows you to maintain a consistent temperature.
How to Stop Thawed Food Going Bad?
A common misconception about thawed food is that after it’s been thawed out, its shelf life starts all over again. That’s not true, though.
You have to understand the freezing process and what it does to food and the bacteria on it. It’s very likely that your food has some level of bacterial growth. As the bacteria grows and spreads, it becomes more harmful.
Once the bacteria spreads throughout the food and has grown considerably, you’ll be able to see it with your eyes. There will be visible signs that the food has gone bad. It may have changed color, become darker, or become softer.
Before you put food into the freezer, bacteria will likely be growing on it. Freezing the food can kill bacteria, but more importantly it stops bacterial growth. Many kinds of foods can be kept safely stored frozen for years.
Once you take the food out of the freezer, the bacteria may have been lying dormant and will start to grow again. So, the shelf life of the food won’t have reset, but the freezing process will have paused bacterial growth. So, if the shelf life for a specific food is 20 days, that doesn’t change just because you froze the food. It’s only paused during that period.
If you put it in the freezer after five days, and then it’s frozen for three months, once you take it back out of the freezer fully thawed, the remaining shelf life is 15 days. The shelf life counts any time the food spends thawed.
If you don’t want thawed food to go bad, you may be able to refreeze it, but you have to still keep in mind the total shelf life of the food and how long it has been thawed for. To preserve your thawed food, make sure you use it before it goes bad. If you cook it, it may only have a few more days in its shelf life at that point.
Does Cooking food change shelf life?
It’s not a good idea to reheat the same food several times. After food has been cooked, it is usually safe to only reheat it one more time.
Another way to ensure that your thawed food doesn’t go bad before you can eat it is to keep the temperature consistent. Make sure the food is in an airtight container and that the temperature of the refrigerator is consistent.
If the power in the refrigerator goes off, you may need to transfer refrigerated food to the freezer, or you may need to use it right away. The refrigerator can keep things cold even with the power off for a limited time.
Don’t expect it to keep your food at a safe temperature for more than a few hours with the power off, though.
How do you know if thawed food is safe to eat
If you’re not sure that your thawed food is still safe to eat.
There are a few little tests you can do. The first one is the visual test. See if the food has changed color. If you see dark spots, green areas, or other signs of bacterial or mold growth, it’s best not to eat the food.
You can also do a smell test. Sniff at the food to see if it has a strange, pungent, or strong odor. If it smells different than it should, it’s probably not good to eat.
Another test you can try is the texture test. Feel the food, give it a little squeeze, and see if it is overly soft or hard. If the texture has changed, it may not be good to eat.
The last test you can try and the last one you should attempt is the taste test. Eat a small piece of the food if you’re not sure if it has gone bad. If it tastes different than it should or has an unpleasant taste, it may have gone bad. It’s best not to take any chances with food that could be spoiled.