When you are trying to prepare dinner quickly, thawing your frozen meat can seem like a time-consuming process. However, you should never attempt to hasten the thawing process especially of perishable food items such as meat if you want to avoid eating food that will make you sick.
Thawing Frozen Meat
As soon as raw or cooked meat and poultry begin to thaw and start to become warmer than 40 °F, the bacteria that was made inactive by the freezing process will be re-activated and may start to multiply. As such, there are certain things that you have to keep in mind if you are to thaw meat properly.
How to thaw frozen meat correctly
There are right and wrong ways of thawing meat correctly. Thawing is primarily reserved for meat products as most vegetables can be cooked directly without undergoing the thawing process. Essentially, there are only 3 acceptable methods of thawing meat that consists of:
Refrigerator Thawing is by far the most common and safest method for thawing meat conveniently at home but it requires plenty of organization and planning. To thaw meat in your refrigerator, you have to remove it from the freezer ahead of time and place it in the fridge where it will sit overnight so that it can thaw out slowly. When meat thaws out in this manner, it will defrost in evenly which will leave you with a uniform taste when the meat is finally cooked.
After the meat has thawed in the fridge, it should remain safe for consumption for a day or two before cooking. Food that has been thawed in the fridge can be re-frozen again but it may not be as high quality as before.
Cold Water Thawing
Cold water thawing will take a much shorter time compared to fridge thawing but it will also require your attention. For food to be thawed properly using this technique, it must be stored in a leak-proof bag or package to avoid bacteria from the surroundings from being introduced to the food. If cold water gets into the packaging, the meat might absorb a small amount, which will result in watery result.
To thaw using the cold-water method, submerge a leak-proof bag containing the meat in cold water. Ensure that you change the water every 30 minutes or so, so that your meat can continue to thaw slowly. Smaller bags of meat will thaw quickly in an hour or less while larger packages may take closer to 3 or 4 hours before fully thawed. Any food that has been thawed using the cold-water method should be cooked first before it is re-frozen.
Food that has been thawed in a microwave should be cooked immediately after thawing because some parts of the food may become warmer than others and will start cooking during the process. You should only use your microwave for thawing as a last resort as it may lead to unevenly cooked meat. You should use the defrost setting on your microwave if the option is there to prevent the meat from cooking unevenly.
Never attempt to thaw out food in your microwave if it has been stored in a plastic bag. Always remove the food contents from the bag first and place it on a clean surface before proceeding to defrost. To avoid food from defrosting unevenly in the microwave, check on it after every 45 seconds or so and cook it immediately once the defrosting is complete.