Freezing food is a fantastic way to keep it fresh when you purchase it wholesale, however after something is defrosted, it’s not always safe to refreeze. Often the response to the concern, “can I refreeze this?” is “it depends.”
In general, you shouldn’t refreeze something if there’s any doubt about how securely it was stored while it was thawed. If something was out at space temperature for too long, freezing it again won’t necessarily eliminate the germs that grew during that time.
The other factor to be cautious about refreezing is texture. Whenever a product is frozen– however especially meat and produce– cell walls are burst while doing so. That’s why frozen food doesn’t always taste as good as fresh food. When you refreeze those foods after they have actually been defrosted, much more cellular structure is ruined.
Raw meat, poultry and seafood
The food security and evaluation service of the USDA states that it’s fine to refreeze raw meats, as long as they were thawed at fridge temperature level. You need to never thaw meats at room temperature level anyhow– not on the counter, or in a garage, basement, vehicle, or any other location that isn’t kept regularly cold.
If ice cream has actually softened somewhat while it’s out on the table and it’s still cold, you can pop it back in the freezer. However if ice cream melts, it’s unworthy conserving.
Initially, there’s the safety concern: if you left a carton of ice cream out at space temperature, the melted part can get warm enough to start growing Listeria bacteria.
Second, it’s never ever going to get that creamy texture back. The whole idea of ice cream is constructed on the concept of churning a dairy mixture while you freeze it. Think of it: if you might just freeze ice cream batter and make ice cream, the device referred to as an “ice cream maker” would not need to exist. Refrozen ice cream will be difficult as a rock and no enjoyable to consume.
Cooked meats and other foods
Once food is cooked, it only has a few days of fridge time prior to it goes bad. If you freeze it during this time, the freezer acts as a pause button on this process. So you can refreeze cooked food that you have defrosted, but get it back in the freezer promptly, within 2-4 days tops.
Again, appropriate handling is still needed. Toss your leftovers if they were at space temperature level for 2 hours or more, or if they were above 90 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour or more.
Even if you think it might conserve you a few bucks, it is very important to know when you ought to simply toss something. Rules like these are used in the dining establishment and grocery industries, so it just makes sense to handle the food in your home with as much care.