The cold water method is an easy way to safely thaw meat – Share Sunshine Life

 

It’s always a smart idea to keep frozen chicken breasts and sausages (hello, easy weekend chicken dinners), marbled steaks, and all the ground beef and turkey that’s perfect for homemade meatball or burger recipes in the freezer. If you know how to thaw meat quickly (and safely, too!) ), you can whip up a home-cooked meal on a weekday evening in a very short amount of time.

But what if you need to thaw a steak quickly? What if that chicken breast didn’t thaw completely overnight? What if you’re really hungry? Don’t worry, there are ways to speed up the process and thaw any piece of meat quickly. Here are the answers to all your questions about how to thaw meat.

What is the safest way to thaw meat?
The absolute best way to safely thaw meat is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight until it is completely thawed. Once thawed, ground meats, poultry and seafood can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two, while red meats (beef, pork, lamb and steak) can be kept for three to five days. While choosing to thaw meat in the refrigerator does require advance planning, it will give you the added benefit of being able to safely refreeze (although you may experience some loss of quality).

Can meat be thawed in cold water?
In about an hour’s time, this method can thaw meat quickly and correctly without a microwave, although it does require you to be more hands-on. Place the frozen meat in a resealable plastic bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Fill a large bowl with cold water and submerge the bag in the water. Change the water every 30 minutes to make sure it stays cool and to continue thawing the meat. Small cuts of meat, poultry or seafood (about one pound) can be thawed in one hour or less; larger cuts (three to four pounds) may take two to three hours. It is estimated that it takes about 30 minutes per pound to thaw a whole frozen turkey. We do not recommend refreezing the meat after thawing, unless you cook it first. Tip: Use thawed meat to make large batches of soups and stews!

What is the fastest way to thaw meat?
Learn how to thaw meat in the freezer microwave you can have protein ready in 10 minutes – literally. This method works best for small pieces of meat that have to be cooked all the way through after thawing, such as chicken breast chicken stir-fry or ground beef frittata. Read your microwave’s instruction manual to learn the best way to defrost specific pieces of meat based on your microwave’s settings. If your microwave does not have a “defrost” setting, set it to a lower power level and run it for a short time until the meat is defrosted. Be careful, though, as cooking at too high a temperature or for too long can actually cook the meat instead of defrosting it. In any case, cook the meat as soon as you finish defrosting it.

Is it okay to cook frozen meat?
When you’re really in a pinch, you don’t have to thaw frozen meat before cooking. Believe it or not, it’s safe to cook freshly baked turkey nuggets, solid chicken nuggets and chilled steak nuggets. The meat takes longer to cook (about 50% more time) and it’s not suitable for getting golden crispy skin or perfect searing. However, it’s always your choice – even for proteins that aren’t completely thawed.

Just avoid it in the slow cooker – it can take too long to thaw and become unsafe to eat.

Is it okay to thaw meat on the counter?
While some sources say you can thaw frozen meat in hot water or just leave it on the counter, the USDA says it’s not safe. No piece of thawed meat should be left at room temperature for more than two hours. If the meat begins to thaw and the temperature is above 40°F, bacteria that may have been present prior to freezing may begin to multiply.

 

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