Tag Archives: defrosting food safety tips

3 Ways to Safely Defrost Your Foods

If you’ve got some frozen beef or chicken that you need to defrost before dinner, do not leave it out on the countertop. While this is a relatively quick and effective way to defrost your food, it is unsanitary and can lead to illness. Instead, use one of these three methods, which have all been deemed safe by the USDA.

1. In the refrigerator.

This is by far the safest method of defrosting foods, although it is also the slowest. The key to this method is to plan ahead – remove your burgers or chicken breasts from the freezer 24 hours prior to cooking. Bigger items, such as a Thanksgiving turkey, may require one day of defrosting for every five pounds of weight.

2. In cold water.

This method is much quicker than the refrigerator, with the ability to defrost most smaller food portions in an hour or less. Place your frozen food in a leak-proof bag and submerge it in a bowl of cold tap water. Never use warm or hot water, which can allow bacteria to grow on the outer layer of your food. The downside to this method is that you must replace the water in the bowl every 30 minutes to ensure it stays cold.

3. In the microwave.

As you can probably guess, microwave thawing is the quickest option. Set your microwave to “defrost” mode, or about 50% power. After defrosting in the microwave, it is essential that you cook the food immediately after, since the microwave already starts the cooking process and bacteria begins to grow.

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