5 ways to defrost frozen foods in safe and healthy ways, I went to my grandmother to check on her, and the time passed quickly while we were talking, and it was time for lunch, so my grandmother got up quickly to prepare the food, and she took out the frozen chicken to cook and put it in a pot of hot water, so I told her that the frozen foods must be thawed in safe ways.
This is so that we do not get foodborne diseases so that these foods do not lose their nutritional value.
Food safety often becomes an afterthought in these situations and although freezing food puts pathogenic bacteria in suspense, it doesn’t kill them.
Once the food is warm at temperatures above 5°C, these harmful bacteria can begin to multiply again.
Is it possible to defrost frozen foods safely?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), strains of pathogenic bacteria found in uncooked meat (especially chicken) include:
- Salmonella bacteria.
- Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.
- Escherichia coli bacteria.
- Listeria monocytogenes.
These bacteria cause several serious diseases, and according to a study conducted by the Food Safety Organization (FoodSafety.gov), about 3,000 Americans die from foodborne illnesses, so frozen foods must be thawed in safe ways to prevent the multiplication of these bacteria:
1- Use the microwave
This method is one of the quickest and easiest as you can set the microwave settings to defrost mode for a few minutes and the food will be ready to cook.
But what is the shelf life of meat after thawing it?
Food must be cooked immediately after thawing using the microwave, especially meat and poultry, because microwave ovens heat food to a temperature between 4.4 and 60 degrees Celsius, which is the appropriate temperature for bacteria to grow and multiply.
Therefore, it is recommended to cook food at high temperatures immediately after leaving the microwave, so that these harmful bacteria are completely killed.
2- Use cold water
This is done by placing the frozen foods to be thawed in a plastic bag (make sure that it is leak-proof and water-proof), then this bag is placed in a large bowl filled with cold or lukewarm water.
This method takes two to three hours and the water should be changed every 30 minutes.
It is advised not to use hot water, because it leads to a sudden increase in the temperature of the food, which leads to a lack of important nutrients present in these foods and also helps in the growth of disease-causing bacteria.
3- Use the refrigerator
It is one of the safest ways to thaw frozen foods, but it requires the most preparation. It usually takes a full day for food (especially meat and chicken) to thaw, so you should plan your meals in advance.
Frozen foods (especially meat and poultry) are best placed on the coldest shelf in the refrigerator, usually the highest shelf in the refrigerator.
How long is the shelf life of frozen chicken in the refrigerator?
Poultry and meat can be kept in the refrigerator for a period of one to two days before cooking.
4- Cooking without thawing foods
When there is not enough time to thaw frozen food and you are in a hurry, it is safe to cook food from the frozen state but it may take longer (about 50% of the recommended time) than cooking fully thawed or fresh food (meat, poultry, vegetables) .
5- At room temperature
Bread and fruits can be thawed at room temperature for 2-4 hours.
However, it is not preferable to use this method with meat, fish, and vegetables, because this method may lead to the multiplication of harmful bacteria on surfaces and may lead to disease.
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Is it possible to refreeze meat again after thawing it?
Sometimes we decide to make a certain type of food and take it out of the freezer, then decide not to use it on that day. Is there a negative effect on foods if we refreeze them again?
The answer is yes; This is because refreezing foods again loses their nutritional value and affects the flavor of the food. However, the method of thawing food by using the refrigerator is the safest and least harmful if we want to refreeze it again.
How long does food stay in the freezer?
Remember that food stored at zero degrees Celsius is safe, because bacteria are unable to grow, but it must be known that the quality of food decreases the longer it stays frozen, and the flavor of frozen food differs, so it is not preferable to keep food frozen for a long time.
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Frozen foods must be thawed in safe ways in order to avoid contracting diseases that can be transmitted through food, and among these methods:
- cold water.
- at room temperature.
These methods also help preserve the nutritional value of food.