- Step 1: Know the dangers Keep food out of "the danger zone" – between 40 and 140 degrees. Freezing stops bacteria from growing but does not kill it. As soon as frozen food reaches 40 degrees, harmful bacteria can multiply.
- TIP: Defrosting in the refrigerator is the safest method because it keeps food below 40 degrees.
- Step 2: Plan ahead To defrost in the fridge, allow one full day for every five pounds for large items like a turkey or roast. You'll need a full 24 hours for anything under five pounds, such as a package of ground beef or chicken breasts.
- Step 3: Know your refrigerator Keep in mind that some areas inside your refrigerator are colder than others. Allow more time for items placed in the colder regions.
- TIP: After thawing in the fridge, cook ground meats and poultry within a day and red meat within three days. Once thawed, they should not be refrozen.
- Step 4: Seal well for cold water defrosting If time is short, defrost in a cold water bath. Seal anything that's not in watertight packaging in a leak-proof, plastic bag. Fully submerge the item in cold water.
- Step 5: Change the water Replace the cold water every half hour. Allow an hour per pound for packages up to three pounds and 30 minutes per pound for larger items.
- TIP: Food thawed in cold water or in a microwave must be cooked immediately and cannot be refrozen.
- Step 6: Unwrap before microwaving To defrost in a microwave, remove food from its packaging first. Foam trays and liners can melt in a microwave and leach chemicals into the food. Place the food on a microwavable dish.
- Step 7: Run at half power Run the microwave at 50 percent power or on the defrost setting. Allow about 10 minutes per pound for frozen meats.
- Step 8: Stop and rearrange Stop the microwave several times to pull apart frozen-together pieces. Break up and turn over ground meats. Start large, solid items, such as chicken, upside down, and turn them over halfway through.
- FACT: Did you know? Prepackaged frozen foods were first sold to the public in 1930.
You Will Need
- Frozen food
- A refrigerator
- cold water bath
- or microwave