It’s happened to all of us. We come home from work, it’s late and we’re very hungry. Problem: the chicken is still in the freezer. It should be defrosted as soon as possible to hope to eat quickly and not to go to bed too late. So, we put it in the microwave, or in hot water. Did you know these methods are not recommended when defrosting food? And for good reason, if the cold chain is not broken properly, bacteria will proliferate and the food may spoil more quickly. Find out all those mistakes you may be making that should be quickly banned from your habits.
1. Thawing At Room Temperature
Probably the most common, this habit is indeed a mistake. When you want to defrost food, it is better not to do it at room temperature. The thermal shock can be violent for your food. The best thing to do is to transfer your roast beef from the freezer to the refrigerator to let it thaw gradually and without damaging it. At refrigerator temperature, bacteria grow more slowly than on your kitchen counter at 20 degrees. Be sure to put the food in a container or a freezer bag to prevent water or blood from contaminating the rest of the food.
2. Running Under Hot Water
Because of time constraints, we tend to put our chicken under boiling water to melt the ice more quickly. But, as you know, you should never wash your chicken before cooking it. And that goes for most foods you are trying to thaw quickly. Contact with hot water will activate bacterial growth. It’s not totally insane to run frozen food under the tap, but it should be done on the condition that there is a wrapper around it. As long as your food is not in direct contact with water, this method is a good alternative.
3. Using The Microwave
Exactly as above, you are in a hurry and don’t have time to wait for your meat to thaw before cooking. So, you put it in the microwave to speed up the process. While this will thaw your meat, you may also end up with something cooked on the surface and completely raw inside. It’s best to put it directly in the pan right behind to make up for the damage and not eat the sole at dinner. The best option, if it is a single piece of meat for example, is still to put it directly in the pan. It will thaw quickly while cooking, without giving bacteria time to multiply.
4. Refreezing A Thawed Food
Sometimes you thaw a food and don’t feel hungry anymore, or you take more out of the freezer than you need. In either case, never put food that has already been thawed back in the freezer. This also promotes the growth of bacteria that degrade the quality of the food and can cause food poisoning. Similarly, refreezing frozen and then defrosted foods purchased in stores is not recommended.