If you took out some meat from the freezer, left it to thaw, and ended up not cooking any, you might want to save it for the next time. So, the good news is that there are a few ways for you to keep it from wastage. Now, you might be thinking about different ways to save it that can lead you to the question, can you refreeze partially thawed meat?
You can refreeze partially thawed cooked/uncooked meat if you defrost in a refrigerator. As long as you can spot some ice crystals on the surface, you can refreeze them multiple times. But, there is going to be a noticeable degradation in the quality. Cautiously refrozen meat will last you for 2-6 months.
Wasting so much meat just because it has partially thawed doesn’t sound right. But to ensure safe refreezing, there are a few things that you should remember. If you want to learn more about the safe refreezing of partially thawed meat, you can follow the precautions below.
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Is it Safe to Refreeze Partially Thawed Meat?
According to USDA, It is safe to refreeze partially thawed meat only if you defrost it in a fridge beforehand. If you apply other thawing methods, it’s best to avoid refreezing it as it might not be safe for consumption.
It is because the meat that has thawed in a microwave, over the kitchen counter, or under cold running water might make room for bacteria to start growing. The bacterial formation will lead to the contamination of food. So you should thaw meat only in a refrigerator if you think you’ll have to refreeze it.
You can safely refreeze cooked/uncooked meat to maximize its shelf-life. If you want to refreeze the leftovers, make sure they don’t sit at a temperature greater than 40 F for more than 2 hours. A prolonged stay at room temperature greater might accelerate the degradation process. in such a case, you should discard it immediately.
If you want, you can cook the meat before refreezing it. However, it is essential to remember that cooked/uncooked meat should be refrozen within 3-4 days or as soon as possible.
Refreezing the partially thawed meat is a great way to save it from getting wasted. Yet, it would be best to remember that the longer it is refrozen, the more it will impact the tenderness of the meat.
How to Safely Refreeze Partially Thawed Meat?
Refreezing the meat will significantly increase its shelf-life. However, if you want to refreeze the thawed meat safely, you need to observe some steps without skipping any.
You can follow the instructions mentioned below to ensure the secure refreezing of partially defrosted meat.
- In the case of half-thawed cooked meat, make sure you let it cool down fully before you begin the refreezing process. Once the meat has cooled, you can apply the exact refreezing instructions as you would in the case of raw meat.
- While working with partially thawed raw meat, allow it to thaw completely before moving on to the next step. Meat that hasn’t thawed properly is more prone to freezer burns.
- Once the meat defrosts, slice it into small pieces and divide them into meal-size portions. Doing so will help you take out the required amount of meat quickly.
- Now, take the portions and start wrapping them individually in airtight bags/containers and remember to squeeze out the extra air. If you want, you can put them in vacuum-sealed bags instead to ensure there’s no excess air in the bag.
- After tightly sealing the portions of meat, you can place them inside a freezer-safe bag/container. Double-wrapping will help you further decrease the risk of freezer burns.
- Once you are happy with the sealing process, you can label the container with the freezing date as a future reminder.
- Lastly, place the labeled bag in the coldest corner inside the freezer.
How Long Can You Refreeze Partially Thawed Meat?
The duration of refreezing the meat before it starts going bad depends on how well you handle it before freezing it again.
Partially thawed meat that has is appropriately refrozen will last you somewhere between 2-6 months.
To ensure it lasts you for a long time, don’t forget to refreeze it before the BBF date. If you don’t refreeze it before the best before the date, the chances of its spoilage, even after refreezing, are very high.
It is best to discard it once the expiration date passes. Using it afterward is not considered safe, as eating it can lead to food poisoning or other illnesses.
To keep the meat refrozen for an extended period, keeping it at a temperature even lower than 0 F is recommended to assure it doesn’t go rancid. Similarly, storing it at a temperature higher than the recommended one is more likely to spoil it sooner.
Methods like double-wrapping and dividing into portions before refreezing helps it retain good overall quality and last for a longer time.
If you have accidentally thawed more meat than you need despite refreezing individually, you can still refreeze it. You can apply the freezing process as long as you defrost it in a refrigerator.
What Happens to Partially Thawed Meat When it is Refrozen?
Before you go ahead and pop the thawed meat into the freezer for refreezing, there are a few crucial things that you should keep in mind.
- When you refreeze the meat several times, there occurs a change in its odor and color. Moreover, refreezing it several times also leads to moisture loss and oxidation.
- Also, repeated freezing can alter the flavors and turn them chewy. Thus, when you constantly thaw the meat, its juiciness and tenderness also perish.
- Hence, due to refreezing, the overall quality also undergoes deterioration.
- Suppose you see any signs of spoilage (such as a drastic change in color, odor, or texture) even before the recommended limit has crossed. In that case, the meat has most likely gone bad. So, it is better to throw it out upon noticing such signs.
All parts of meat are safe to refreeze especially the liver that refreezes surprisingly well. So, if you want to enjoy the refrozen meat for a long time, it is necessary to follow the refreezing instructions. Given that you handle it properly, you can prepare a delicious meal with it whenever you want for at least six months after refreezing.
Though refrozen meat might not taste as good as fresh meat, seasoning it up with a few spices will do the trick most of the time.
The refreezing can work well for both raw as well as cooked meat. However, partially thawed food is always at a greater risk of spoilage. To enjoy the maximum flavors, utilize it as soon as possible.