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Thaw and cook frozen foods

 

Thaw and cook frozen foods

DO NOT thaw perishable foods at room temperature. If perishable foods are left at room temperature too long, bacteria may grow and produce heat-resistant toxins that can cause food-borne illness. Cooking may not be able to destroy these toxins.

  • It's best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator.
     
  • Small items may thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Up to 5 pounds of food should thaw in about 24 hours.
  • If there is the possibility a thawing package might leak, you may want to thaw it on a plate or a pan.

If food is thawed in the microwave, finish reheating it right away. Unlike food thawed in a refrigerator, microwave-thawed foods reach temperatures that encourage bacterial growth. Cook immediately to kill any bacteria that may have developed and to prevent further bacterial growth:

  • Food may be transferred from a freezer bag to a microwave safe container for thawing in the microwave.
  • If the freezer bag manufacturer says it is OK to thaw foods directly in their freezer bag, follow manufacturer's directions for such things as venting, recommended heat settings, types of foods suitable for microwave-thawing, etc. for that specific bag. Also, follow manufacturer's directions for your microwave.
  • While you may be able to satisfactorily defrost food in some freezer bags in the microwave (check manufacturer's directions), DO NOT cook the food in the freezer bag -- unless recommended by the microwave manufacturer. At the higher temperatures used in the microwave cooking process, it is possible for the plastic to reach melting temperatures.