Frozen foods are widely used nowadays, but there are safe ways how to defrost them as most of us make mistake when doing so and that can be harmful for our overall health. For instance, thawing food at room temperature can be dangerous as it elevates the risk of bacteria growth and thus triggering food poisoning. This is a potential risk, when red meat or poultry is concerned, as once they start to thaw they reach a temperature over 10°, and at that temperature the bacteria that is present before thawing can proliferate.
Have in mind that perishable foods should never get defrosted in the open air or in hot water. Plus, make sure not to leave them at room temperature for over 2 hours. In this case the outer surface of the food is defrosted, but the inside is still frozen which is a great environment for pathogens to grow and proliferate. Therefore, it is of vital importance to learn the proper defrosting habits in order to keep our health and the one of our family.
3 Safe Ways of Defrosting Meat
These ways have been recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture and have been proven to be safe for use. Hence, make sure to implement these ways and thus protect your health from possible health conditions.
- Thaw food in your fridge
This is for sure one of the safest ways to defrost meat. First, you need to take it out from your freezer and then put it in the refrigerator which keeps a temperature between 1 and 4 degrees. In this way, your food will not get exposed to a temperature ideal for bacteria proliferation.
Bear in mind that the defrosting time is long, for a frozen ground meat or chicken breast of 500 g it needs 10 hours to defrost, and larger food pieces like whole chicken or leg of lamb it needs approximately 24 hours.
If you want to cook frozen steaks for dinner, make sure to put them in your refrigerator in the morning before going to work. When doing so, put the meat in a bowl at the bottom shelf in order to prevent possible leakage of the meat juice to other food products or shelves.
This method is very beneficial when you may need to change your plans like being invited to a dinner. Your meat is safe in the fridge and can be used freely the next day. But, this also has its own duration, after defrosting poultry, minced meat and fish in the fridge they can stay 1 to 2 days. On the other hand, defrosted beef, pork, lamb or veal, can stay 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
- Defrost in cold water
This is a quicker defrosting method, but it needs to be carefully proceeded. In this case the outer package of the food product remains, and make sure to check if it is really tight. Do not get mistaken to use hot water, but by all means make certain that it is cold. You should change the water every half an hour as it needs to stay cold so that there is no bacteria proliferation.
So, if rushing for work, you have forgotten to defrost your piece of meat, this method will come really handy. You can defrost 500 g of meat for about 30 minutes and the one for roasting it will take around 2 to 3 hours. Therefore, fill your kitchen sink or a large bowl with cold water, make sure to put your meat in a nicely sealed bag or waterproof package and then place it in water. Note that once defrosted, your meat needs to be cooked immediately and never get frozen again.
- Cook without thawing
If you are tight on time and you have forgotten to do the first method, then this one can be also implemented. Just cook directly your frozen food. But, have in mind that the cooking process will be longer than the one of a defrosted meat.
Additional Useful Tips
Prior handling foods no matter if it is frozen or not you must nicely wash your hands.
Do not use the same container where you have previously frozen your meat unwashed, even for the same cooked meat.
All your kitchen surfaces need to be cleaned before storing food. Make sure to disinfect all your cutting boards and nicely wash the utensils where you have defrosted meat in hot water.
If the defrosting process is a bother for you, then make a purchase plan to consume your meat almost the same day or to keep it in the fridge until the expiration date stated on the package.