Meat is used in most households on a daily basis so it is common for people to buy it in bulk, have it vacuum packed, and freeze it for later use.
Vacuum sealing removes all air from the packaging, preventing freezer burn and prolonging the life of the meat.
When you need to get dinner on the table in a hurry, you may wonder if you can use the fast option of defrosting the meat in the microwave.
Defrosting meat in the refrigerator can take a couple of days, while using a sinkful of water may take a few hours. The microwave is your go-to method if you need the meat fast.
However, you may be wondering if it’s safe to defrost vacuum-sealed meat in the microwave. What about plastic? Read on because we have the answers and techniques for you.
Can You Defrost Vacuum Sealed Meat in the Microwave?
Technically, if your microwave has a “Defrost” setting, it is possible to defrost vacuum-sealed meat in it. However, for best results, you want to be defrosting only evenly shaped, smaller pieces of meat this way.
That’s because larger pieces like roasts tend to defrost unevenly and some parts may end up cooked while others are still frozen.
However, unless the plastic packaging specifically says on the label that it’s microwave-safe, no plastic or styrofoam packaging should go into the microwave.
That’s because harmful chemicals may be released when the plastic is heated which may taint the food.
To defrost vacuum-packaged meat safely, first, remove the plastic and put the meat into a microwave-safe glass dish. Set the microwave to “Defrost” mode.
If your oven does not have this function, use 20-30% power. To calculate the time, work on between eight and ten minutes per pound.
Once the meat is in the microwave, remember to stop, rotate, and flip it over every few minutes. This ensures even defrosting.
If you are defrosting big chunks of meat or pieces of chicken, break them apart once they become soft enough.
Once the meat has defrosted, cook it as soon as possible to prevent deterioration.
As you can see, it is certainly possible to defrost vacuum-sealed meat in the microwave. Just be safe and remove the plastic packaging first.
Below, we’re going to give you a couple more ways to defrost your vacuum-sealed meat that do not entail removing the plastic.
Additional Ways Of Defrosting Vacuum Sealed Meat
This is a safe method to defrost any meat or poultry because it ensures no bacterial growth and no chemical tainting from heated plastic.
Simply put your packaged meat into a dish and place it in the fridge. Please be aware that this method is slow – 24-48 hours – so it will not be suitable if you are in a hurry.
- Cold Water
This is probably the fastest method of defrosting meat next to a microwave. Simply fill a sink with cold (never hot) water and place the meat, in its vacuum packaging, into it. Leave it for an hour or two, turning once or twice.
If the water becomes very cold, empty it out and replace it with cold tap water. This works faster than simply leaving the meat out on the shelf because there is a better exchange of heat and cold in water than in air.
While it is possible to defrost vacuum-sealed meat in the microwave, due to the hazardous chemicals released when plastic is heated, it is safer to remove the plastic packaging first and put the meat into a glass or ceramic dish.