How to thaw food?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question  “how to thaw food” with an in-depth analysis of the proper way to thaw frozen food. Moreover, we are going to discuss whether or not you should refrigerate/refreeze the reheated food.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How to thaw food?

When it comes to thawing the frozen food, there are a couple of ways to do so and you can choose any of them depending on your choice.

  1. The recommended way to thaw the frozen food is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight and let it thaw there. The frozen food won’t face any sudden temperature fluctuations and thus it won’t face textural degradation or nutrition loss when it is allowed to get defrosted in the refrigerator.  The food thawed this way can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 days before cooking and eating it.
  1. You can thaw the frozen food in a bowl of cold water but you should cook it immediately after thawing. 
  1. If you are thawing the frozen food in the oven or microwave it is recommended to cook it immediately. 
  1. Last but not least, if you have frozen food in the required portions, you can use it directly in the cooking process, thus you can add it directly to the dish you are cooking but do not forget to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

The reason behind cooking the frozen food immediately after thawing it in a cold water bowl or microwave is that when you warm frozen food using these methods, the temperature at the surface of the frozen food gets higher than that of 40 degrees Fahrenheit before the core temperature can become 40 degrees Fahrenheit and it can thaw completely and that’s when the bacteria can start to grow on the surface rapidly.

Therefore it is advised to cook such thawed frozen food immediately until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Because it is only by cooking the frozen food properly that we can get rid of the bacteria completely.

Is it better to defrost food in hot or cold water?

Food can be safely thawed in cold water rather than heated. Not only will the hot water thaw the food but it will also start to cook the food surface, causing sections of the flesh to reach temperatures beyond 40 degrees. That’s the point at which the microbes start to grow rapidly. Thus, it’s best to use cold water straight from the tap to thaw your frozen food.

It is worth mentioning that you should make sure the food is thawed in a leak-proof container or bag. What you gotta do is soak the bag in cold water for 30 minutes, changing the water every 30 minutes to keep it cool and once the food has fully thawed, you should cook it right away.

Is it necessary to defrost food before cooking it?

Technically, the food does not necessarily need to be thawed before cooking and you can just go ahead and cook your frozen food. When using frozen food, the cooking time will need to be increased. Cooking time for larger pieces, such as meat roasts, can be up to 1 1/2 times that of an unfrozen food cut. Thus, cooking frozen food takes around 50 percent longer than cooking completely thawed food.

It is worth mentioning that it is always a good idea to let the food thaw first before cooking it in order to ensure optimal cooking throughout the whole food without any risk of surface charring.

Is it possible to keep the reheated frozen food refrigerated?

The previously cooked refrigerated/frozen food should never be refrigerated again once it has been reheated. The reason behind this recommendation is that when the frozen food is reheated, its temperature rises over 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and we know that 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit is the danger zone as the bacteria grow rapidly within this temperature range.

As a result, microorganisms will contaminate your food. So all in all, the reheated food should never be refrigerated; instead, it is preferable to devour it entirely or properly dispose of the reheated leftovers.

Dos and don’ts of thawing food

  1. You should never thaw the frozen food by leaving it on the counter as this will increase its microbial exposure.
  1. The best way to thaw food is by leaving it in the refrigerator overnight.
  1. It is always recommended to thaw the frozen food by leaving it on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator to keep it from dripping into other food items. Thus, following this practice, you can substantially decrease the chances of food contamination.
  1. You should thaw the frozen food by placing it in a colander and afterward putting the colander in a wide bowl that is large enough to withhold all the dripping water from the thawed food.

You can read how to make bacon here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question  “how to thaw food” with an in-depth analysis of the proper way to thaw frozen food. Moreover, we discussed whether or not you should refrigerate/refreeze the reheated food.

Citations

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/big-thaw-safe-defrosting-methods#:~:text=When%20thawing%20frozen%20food%2C%20it’s,foods%20from%20the%20frozen%20state.
https://www.eatright.org/homefoodsafety/four-steps/refrigerate/thawing
https://www.foodsafety.com.au/blog/four-methods-for-defrosting-food-safely
https://www.thekitchn.com/5-ways-to-thaw-frozen-foods-177769

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.