Are you wondering what to do with the unused portion of frozen meat that you thawed accidentally? Meat is an expensive item, and wasting it might sound like a bad idea.
So, you must be thinking of a safe way to keep it from going bad. This struggle can lead you to ask, can you refreeze meat?
Cooked/uncooked meat that is properly handled and thawed in a refrigerator is safe for refreezing. However, it is suggested not to refreeze it more than once. Repeated thawing and refreezing will cause the overall quality to suffer a lot, so it’s better to refreeze it in portions. Refrozen cooked meat will last you for about 2-6 months, whereas uncooked meat can refreeze for a year.
Not following the refreezing practices properly might lead to spoilage and loss of tenderness. You can follow this detailed guide to learn about the skill of refreezing cooked and uncooked meat.
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Is it Safe to Refreeze Meat?
Meat is an excellent source of protein. Moreover, you can use it to prepare delicious dishes that are not unhealthy and taste great.
Refreezing the extra portion of meat will help you save it from getting wasted. And you’ll be pleased to know that it is safe to refreeze it as long as you handle it correctly before freezing and defrosting.
It is crucial to make sure you don’t refrigerate the meat for more than 3-4 days if you want to refreeze it.
If you thaw the meat in the refrigerator, it can be safely refrozen. However, if you defrost it by other methods like a microwave, it is advised against refreezing it.
Thawing the meat using other techniques will expose it to air for an extended period.
You must know that when you store it at room temperature for a long time spoils quickly. So it’s best to avoid eating or refreezing any such meat. It should not be left out of the fridge at a room temperature greater than 40 F for more than 2 hours because bacteria grow fast at these temperatures.
Uncooked meat will retain the quality in a better way after refreezing. On the other hand, Cooked meat will show a significant decrease in texture and overall quality.
How to Safely Refreeze Uncooked/Raw Meat?
It is safe to refreeze meat after cooking if you are not bothered by the quality degradation. However, you need to follow the refreezing steps correctly to ensure a prolonged shelf-life of meat.
If you want, you can achieve successful refreezing of uncooked meat by following the steps mentioned below.
Thawing the Meat Properly
Before you plan to prepare the uncooked meat for refreezing, make sure it has completely defrosted. Proper thawing will lower the risk of freezer burn and help the meat hold on to its flavor. However, make sure you thaw it overnight in the refrigerator only.
Preparing the Meat for Refreezing
Take the defrosted meat out of the fridge and start cutting it into thin pieces if you have large chunks of meat. Slicing it will ensure each slice refreezes wholly. It will also help each piece gets refrozen to the core.
Refreezing in Portions and Sealing Them Properly
Once you have sliced the meat, start dividing the meat pieces into portions. After that, pack each batch into individual freezer-safe bags. Doing so will enable you to take out one serving at a time, saving the rest from unnecessary thawing.
Once you portion out the meat in individual bags, it is mandatory to seal them properly. You can use Ziploc or a vacuum-sealed bag for maximum safety and protection.
Labeling the Bags for Refreezing
Lastly, label the bags with the refreezing date before popping them into the freezer. It will ensure you don’t lose track of time and remember exactly how long you can use the meat.
After the bags are labeled, they are ready to go inside the freezer until the next time you want to prepare something.
How to Refreeze Cooked Meat?
For refreezing cooked meat, make sure that it has been cooked thoroughly and to a safe temperature. After you have adequately cooked the meat, you can go ahead and follow the instructions.
- After cooking it nicely, cool it down quickly. Do not let it sit at a room temperature greater than 90 F for more than 1 hour. Thus, make sure you cool it down soon after cooking.
- Once the meat has cooled down properly, divide it into meal-size portions.
- Next, pack these portions into separate airtight/Ziploc bags.
- Label the bags with the date of refreezing and place them inside the freezer.
How Long Can You Refreeze Meat?
Uncooked meat can refreeze for up to twelve months. You can safely consume it within this time. However, it is best to remember that the longer you hold it refrozen, the greater will be the quality loss. Once the 12-month/1-year time limit passes, you should throw it out.
Cooked meat will last you for about 2-6 months after refreezing. However, sometimes it might spoil before the mentioned duration. If you feel the cooked meat has turned inedible, it would be best to discard it immediately.
How Many Times Can You Refreeze Meat?
Freezing your cooked/uncooked meat more than once is not recommended. Because when you thaw the already refrozen meat a second time, it becomes more prone to bacterial formation and contamination. So, refreezing more than once should be avoided.
You can refreeze the meat in meal-size portions so that you can avoid the constant thawing and refreezing.
Refreezing cooked /uncooked meat is considered safe. You can keep the refrozen raw meat inside the freezer for anywhere between 6-12 months. On the other hand, cooked meat will be safe if used within 2-6 months. However, there will be a change in taste and texture after being refrozen.
You should avoid refreezing the meat more than once, as refreezing it again might make it unsafe for consumption. Instead, you can refreeze it in portions to ensure you defrost the required amount only.
However, if you notice any signs of spoilage even before the refreezing limit crosses, you should throw it away.