You come home from work starving only to realize you forgot to thaw something for dinner. You go into your freezer, grab a frozen piece of steak and decide to thaw it under running hot water. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself if this method is safe for thawing raw meat? There are actually safer ways to thaw raw meats that don’t lead to foodborne illness.
When thawing foods, the internal temperature should never be warmer than 40°F because bacteria that may have been present before can begin to multiply.
The following are several ways to thaw food safely:
This is the easiest method to thaw food, but requires some planning ahead because it is time-consuming. Large items such as a frozen turkey can take up to 24 hours to defrost for every 5 pounds. Even small items like a pound of frozen ground beef or chicken breasts can take up to a full day to thaw. A big advantage of the refrigerator method is that if you suddenly have a change of plans at the last minute, you can keep the food stored.
Poultry, ground meat, and seafood can remain safe for one or two additional days while red meats can be kept for an additional 3 to 5 days. Food that has been thawed in the refrigerator can even be refrozen without cooking, so there is no risk with thawing in the refrigerator.
Cold Water Thawing
Although this method is faster than the refrigerator method, it requires more of your attention. Place sealed frozen food in cold water either in a bowl, pot, or sink changing the water every 30 minutes to keep it cold. Small packages of raw meat, poultry or seafood can thaw in an hour. Larger packages, such as a 3 or 4 pound package can take 2 to 3 hours.
This is obviously the fastest method of thawing, but there is a catch. You must cook food thawed in the microwave immediately. After cooking, you can refreeze the food if you’d like. Set your microwave on the defrost option or 50 percent power setting to make sure the outer sides of the food don’t become cooked while the middle is still frozen.
These defrosting methods are all safe options for thawing frozen foods. Remember to never leave frozen food to thaw on the counter or in hot water. This only increases the risk of a foodborne illness. If you are the owner or an employee at a food establishment, it is expected of you to get certified in safe food handling. Ken Kuscher provides food safety certifications at an affordable price with same day completion of classes and exams, so that you don’t have to take too much time out of your busy schedule. A few of the many services provided by Ken Kuscher are Food Handlers Permit Florida, Food Handlers Card Florida, and Florida Food Handler Certificates. Contact Ken Kuscher today for all your food safety needs.