There are adverse health implications of not properly freezing, thawing, cooking, and refreezing food items such as meats. However, you can refreeze your raw or cooked meat (beef, chicken, steak, pork, and other meats) after it has been initially frozen and thawed. This is provided certain conditions are met. These are especially conditions that prevent the danger of bacteria getting a foothold on the meat that you have thawed.
This explains why institutions like the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have guidelines and suggestions to this effect. In light of this, this Meat Abolition nutrition study will discuss the safety and general implications of refreezing meat.
Conditions for safely Refreezing Your Meat Foods
It is safe to refreeze your meat provided that certain conditions are met. These conditions include the following:
Properly Frozen Under the Right Temperature
Ensure that you store your meat in a freezer at the right temperature. The ideal temperature should be nothing higher than zero degrees Fahrenheit. Anything higher than this cold temperature is not ideal, especially if the meat will be refrozen.
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Thawing meat in the refrigerator is quite common but there are other options. The microwave, as well as the cold water technique, are alternatives. The former involves getting the meat to thaw in a microwave. The latter involves putting the freezing meat inside a plastic bag and putting it under running cold water.
All of these thawing methods work but you should only thaw in the refrigerator if you intend to freeze the meat again. The temperature of this fridge while the meat is thawing, is equally important. It should not be anything higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Refrigerator’s Thawing Time
As opposed to the microwave and cold water technique for thawing, the refrigerator technique takes a long time. This can be as soon as 24 hours and as many as 7 days. It is best that the meat is used immediately when it has thawed. At most, it should not stay any longer than 3 days in the fridge after it is completely thawed.
How Long it Stays Outside the Refrigerator
If kept in a place with room temperature higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit (but lower than 90 degrees Fahrenheit), you should refreeze the meat within 2 hours. If the frozen meat is exposed to temperatures reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more, you should refreeze it within 1 hour.
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Implications of Refreezing Meat
Frozen and refrozen meat is safe if the aforementioned conditions are met. However, there are implications of having to cook such instead of something fresh. By and large, the quality is reduced when meat is frozen (especially repeatedly).
You might have noticed that fresh meat tastes a lot better than frozen meat when you eat it. This is a result of moisture loss, oxidation effects, and other factors. However, the use of an ingredient like top-quality marinade can make up for the reduced taste quality.
Its smell will be altered by the factors explained above. This affects its quality.
Change in Color
The meat will not be as red as its natural fresh look. This affects its quality.