Understanding the safety measures related to defrosted food storage and consumption is crucial to maintaining a healthy diet. This article shines a light on the dos and don’ts of handling defrosted food at home.
Period of Keeping Defrosted Food in the Fridge
Once food is defrosted, it should not be kept in the fridge for more than 3-4 days. This duration can fluctuate based on factors such as the temperature of the fridge, the initial freshness of the food, and the method used for freezing.
How to Determine the Quality of Defrosted Food
Monitoring the odor, texture, and color of the food is your first step in determining its quality post-defrosting. If the food appears deteriorated, or if there is liquid pooling at the bottom of the freezer, it’s better to err on the side of caution and dispose of the food.
Risks Involving Defrosted Food
There are risks associated with freezing and defrosting food, such as the potential for food poisoning. The process of defrosting can give micro-organisms a chance to grow, as freezing does not kill bacteria and viruses, but merely slows their growth. Especially vulnerable to these risks are fragile foods like meats, fish, and seafood, which should be cooked the same day they’re defrosted.
Correct Way to Store Defrosted Food
Defrosted food should be stored in clean, airtight containers in the fridge. It’s a good practice to label these containers with the defrosting dates. Aim to consume the food within 3 days of defrosting. For meats and fish, be sure to let them sit in the fridge for a few hours before cooking.
Foods to Avoid Freezing
- Eggs and soft cheeses are not suitable for freezing.
- Foods with high water content, such as melons and watermelons, dairy products, tubers like potatoes, and dessert creams are also not recommended for freezing.
- It’s best to remember that most bacteria survive the freezing process.
The Issue with Refreezing Defrosted Food
Refreezing defrosted food is a practice that should be decisively avoided. Bacteria multiply rapidly at room temperature after defrosting, posing a health risk. Refreezing cooked meat or fish is particularly ill-advised. The texture of refrozen food is significantly damaged and it harbors a high bacteria count.