Defrosting Food SafelyMonday, July 19, 2010
Question: Is it safe to defrost food out of the refrigerator?
Answer: No—there are several safe ways to defrost meats, but leaving them out on the countertop can potentially make you sick.
Bacteria thrive at temperatures between 41 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit—the exact temperature of your kitchen. Leaving meat out for numerous hours to defrost gives bacteria the perfect environment to grow to such high amounts that even cooking won’t necessarily destroy all of them (or the poisons they produce).
There are three ways safe ways to safely defrost food:
Please frozen food in the refrigerator the night before and place on a tray to catch any juices. If you are defrosting large foods (i.e. Thanksgiving turkey) or a lot of meats, put in the refrigerator a day or two beforehand.
#2: Running Water
Place food in the sink and let the cool water run over it. As meats, poultry and fish potentially carry bacteria, be sure dishes or other food isn’t in the sink at the same time. Thoroughly clean the sink when you are done defrosting your food. This method works well for smaller food items like frozen shrimp.
Food can be safely defrosted in the microwave. As the microwave unevenly distributes heat, leaving some parts of the food cold and others partially cooked, it’s important to cook the food right up (i.e. bake, grill) after defrosting in the microwave.
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