April 22, 2018

USDA Offers Tips About Freezing Food

usdaartIt’s now four days after your Christmas feast, so all of the turkey, ham, or beef you prepared should be in the freezer. The USDA is offering tips to help you freeze food safely.

You can freeze almost any food. Just make sure that you wrap it well in freezer wrap, label it, and date it. Frozen food will always be safe as long as your freezer is set at 0°F or below. Freezing helps keep bacteria dormant. But when the food is thawed, the bacteria will start growing again. You can get sick if thawed frozen food isn’t properly cooked and checked with a food thermometer. Always handle frozen raw meat as you would fresh raw meat; with extreme care. Freeze food quickly to maintain quality.

Freezer burn is just dried out food. You can prevent it by using good wrapping materials and sealing the package. Freezer burn is not unsafe, just unpalatable.

And when you thaw meats, always thaw in the refrigerator. You can also thaw frozen meats in cold water or the microwave. But if you choose to thaw foods in the microwave, then must be cooked immediately because some parts of the food may start to cook. That will put the meat into the danger zone of 40°F to 140°F and bacteria may grow.

You can refreeze food that has been properly thawed. Do not freeze foods left out of refrigeration longer than 2 hours. And you can cook food from the frozen state, but it will take 1-1/2 times longer to cook to a safe internal temperature.

 

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