Most food taken from the freezer can be cooked immediately, but poultry and large joints should be completely thawed before cooking. The manufacturers instruction should always be followed. Thawing of raw meat/poultry must take place in an area entirely separate from ready to eat foods to prevents contamination with thawed liquid. this area must never be used for cooked food which is cooling prior to refrigerator. High risk food should be thawed in a refrigerator.
Thawing of raw food is best carried out at 10’C to 15’C. Sufficient time must always be allowed for thawing. Thawing can also be achieved using clean, cold running water , below 15’C(avoid cross-contamination)or in a microwave oven, although care is necessary because of the risk of uneven heating. Thawing times in refrigerators vary considerably depending on the temperature. Before using a refrigerator for thawing raw foods, it is essential to know the temperature of the refrigerator and time a frozen chicken or other food product of that weight takes to thaw at that temperature.
Extreme care must also be exercised to avoid cross-contamination. A refrigerator operating at 10’C and used solely for thawing food may be a cost effective solution. once completely thawed, food must be immediately refrigerated or cooked to avoid bacteria multiplying after thawing. Areas used for thawing should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
There are three safe methods to thaw frozen foods:
1. In The Refrigerator
- Plan ahead- most items can take an entire day(or overnight) to thaw.
- Place frozen food on plate, or in a container, to catch any juice that may leak.
- Keep the items that’s thawing on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator.
- Any food that’s been thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen, either before or after cooking.
2. In cold water
- This is faster thawing method compared to thawing in the refrigerator. However, it could take a couple of hours depending on weight.
- Put the frozen item in a watertight plastic bag or container.
- Submerge the item in cold water
- Make sure to change the water every 30 minutes.
- Cook immediately after thawed.
- You must fully cook all foods thawed with this method, before refreezing them.
3. In the microwave
- Remove any plastic or outer wrapping on the package.
- Place in a microwave safe container and cover.
- Follow your microwave instructions to defrost
- Cook immediately after thawing.