Sat 1 Nov, 2003 01:53 pm
We are told never to re-freeze something that we have defrosted, but consider this.
I took a steak out of the freezer at 1 pm, the plan was a couple of six packs, two good films followed by steak and chips and my fav mixed salad.
6 pm steak is just defrosted when phone rings and a chum says how about a pub crawl followed by a curry? (I can't refuse that)
So question is this, since the whole point of freezing is to put the steak in a state of (kinda suspended animation) and since it hasn't been defrosted long enough for it to start deteriorating I.E. if it is safe to eat now, and I freeze it, how can it be unfit when I defrost it next time?
Counter. However, the question remains:
if something is safe to eat now, (which my steak was) and then it is frozen (put in suspension) how can it be unfit when defrosted?
Freezing puts it in "limbo" does it not? Or are they not telling us something?
I THINK WE SHOULD BE TOLD
kev- Don't know for sure. But years ago, before I knew the problems, I used to thaw stuff on the counter. Now if that ever happened, and I could not eat it immediately, I would throw it out. What the hell, I would rather be safe than sorry. I would rather waste a few bucks worth of food, than take a chance on food poisoning!
kev- What the hell, I would rather be safe than sorry. I would rather waste a few bucks worth of food, than take a chance on food poisoning!
Of course you would, and so would I, which is why my family hold the world record for throwing food away, but I would still like to know the (scientific) truth of this question.
Not sure, but I'm thinking it has something to do with water forming in the food after it thaws. When the water freezes again, it expands and ruptures the food due to the expansion. Now, why this isn't an issue in the first place I'm not sure. I'm probably wrong, but I seem to remember hearing something like this. (But then, I also remember Bill Gates saying to me "Here's your twenty million dollar check. Don't worry about paying me back." Damn, can't find that check!)
Expanding on Turner's reply--
Water condenses (forming frost initially) on the outside of the frozen steak due to the temperature difference. When you defrost the steak in the frig, there is less moisture condensation because the air in the frig is colder (thus it contains less moisture to begin with, plus the temp difference between the steak and the ambient air is less). Defrosting the steak on the counter, particularly on humid days, results in greater moisture uptake. In addition to the resulting physical problems on refreezing (ice crystals/freezer burn, etc.), there may also be a concern (? guessing here) about bacteria/etc. dissolved in the water.
Maybe Cav or someone could verify this for me, but I believe a steak (if it was fresh when frozen) will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge. They can sometimes start to smell, but this is from the blood, and rinsing the meat under the cold tap for a few minutes will get rid of the smell.
As for the definitive answer to Kev's problem, it seems to me as if it is because once the food has been taken out and put back in again it becomes increasingly difficult to judge how long it has been 'fresh' for, and so the chances are you may leave it for too long before eating it.
It may also have something to do with the fact that freezers now are alot more efficent than they used to be, and myabe in old freezers food would start to go bad after a while even if it was frozen.
I've done this before. I didn't refreeze it though because I figured the freeze/rethaw would release more juice and it would end up tough.
I just put it in the fridge and ate it the next day. Food poisoning from meat is pretty rare these days, especially from things you buy from the market. I'd think you'd run a greater risk of ruining the texture of the meat. Unless it was in the sun and thawed at 80 degrees, I'd say it should stay just fine in the fridge for a couple of days.
I've just seen an ad on tv for sainsbury's supermarkets and they have "superstar" chef Jamie Oliver doing an ad for beef which has been matured for 21 days, and J.O. is oohing and aahing that this is the best beef he's ever had.
Matured for 21 days?
Oh, and like meat cooked by every chef I've ever seen on T.V. it's pretty raw looking.
Phoenix, of course the location of your counter is Tampa Bay and kev's is Yorkshire - a great difference in ambient tempertures
I wouldn't refreeze, as it makes for drier meat and freezer burn. Eat it the next day or cook it and then refreeze.......
Oy vey, get over it, if it's just for the mates. Depending on the efficiancy of your freezer, said steak may or may not get a little frostburn. As for bacteria, most of it accumulates on the surface of the meat, and a good hot sear generally kills that off. I wouldn't worry about it really. I will be back.
Here's why they prolly said it: when you freeze a piece of food, some of the cells are ruptured. Ruptured cells are great food for bacteria, so bacteria that's already there -- and it's always already there -- feeds on the cell's contents and reproduces very rapidly. The more times you thaw and re-freeze, the more cells rupture, and the more bacteria you get.
Like other folks, though, I wouldn't worry about it too much. We have an immune system for a reason.
I would just stick it in the fridge and eat it on the 'morrow. Freezing shortens the "shelf life" of the item, so cook it soon. I'm sure that's a continue of what pd just added.....