Using safe thawing techniques is a key step in preventing foodborne illness. How many times have you seen this picture? Chicken being thawed in the kitchen sink or on the counter all afternoon long for the family dinner? Frozen food is safe but once it enters into the defrost mode, bacteria present prior to freezing begin to multiply. While the middle may be frozen the outside layer of the food reaches the danger zone between 40-140 degrees Farenheit, the temperature where bacteria multiplies at a rapid pace. Here are the 3 safe alternative methods for thawing: 1. Under cold running water or place in a cold water bath. Change the water every 30 minutes to maintain the chilled bath, allowing 1 hour per pound of meat. It’s not an environmentally friendly option but it is safe and faster than the refrigerator. 2. In the refrigerator. This is the best method for preserving food quality but takes planning. Frozen meat generally takes 1 day per pound to thaw. On Sunday morning I always pull 2 types of meat for Monday and Tuesday dinner and then repeat this half way through the week, allowing for left overs, dining out and fresh from the grocery store. Thawed food can safely be refrozen within 3-5 days however the quality is slightly impaired. 3. In the microwave but you should finish the cooking process immediately after thawing to prevent other opportunities for bacteria to multiply. Foods thawed in the microwave must be cooked before refrigerating or refreezing.
These three methods 1) cold water bath 2) refrigerator 3) microwave are the only three methods the United States Department of Agriculture recommends for thawing food. Keep it safe in your kitchen!
Categories: Nutrition & Wellness