October 21, 2016

Is it Safe to Refreeze Thawed Meat?

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Whenever there is a power outage, we always avoid opening the refrigerator and especially the freezer to avoid letting the cold out.  A big worry is that freezer items will thaw out and go bad.  Some food items are salvageable, but some are not so clear-cut.

This also happens in everyday life:  you take out steaks or chicken and leave them in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, only to run out of time and get takeout after staying late at work.  Does it have to go to waste?

Is it Safe to Refreeze Thawed Meat?

An informal poll of cooks in our family yielded various results:  my husband’s aunt said, “Sure you can refreeze meat that has thawed, but it will be dry when you do cook it.”  My Mom says she would never refreeze food, just cook it and eat it the next day.  Other friends say you can refreeze if it was in the fridge but not if it was taken out on the counter.

I did a bit more research and tested it for myself.  Here is what I found out:

  • If the meat still has ice crystals in it, and the temperature never went over 40 degrees Fahrenheit, then it is safe to refreeze.
  • If the food was thawed in the refrigerator, it is likely to be safe to refreeze if you refreeze it the same day.  However, if it has been there more than two days, it is not a good idea.  I have checked on thawed meat after two days, and it is already does not smell fresh.
  • The meat will dry out a bit if it has been refrozen.  I have tried this and found it to be true:  the meat does appear drier than it would have been originally.
  • Do not use the meat if it smells “off.”
  • Do not thaw meat by leaving it out on the counter.  The best way to thaw meat is in the refrigerator.

Again, if you have any doubts at all, just toss it.  Don’t risk eating spoiled meat-you can get really sick.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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2 Comments on Is it Safe to Refreeze Thawed Meat?

  1. we’ve never refrozen thawed meat in the same package — if meat thawed, we cooked it & repackaged for freezing in new container. this works well for ground beef that can be seasoned for various recipes & repackaged. other meats we checked — cut off corners/ends and cooked the still icy middle parts, then refroze. make sure you cook them at high enough temps to kill off bacteria.
    if previously frozen poultry or fish seems suspect or smells off, we toss it.
    food poisoning is not worth the risk!
    merry christmas!

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