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Healthy Freezing And Thawing Of Food

The freezer is a great help to us but not all foods can stand refreezing. Keep it in mind and protect your health.

The shelf life and freshness of foods increases with freezing significantly. We are going to explain, what actually happens during freezing and thawing process and the reason you should not refreeze certain kinds of food.


Frozen Is Not The Same As Fresh

Although frozen food retailers often do not admit, the quality of fresh foods cannot be substituted completely by anything else. Freezing always partially disrupts the structure of mass and the taste of the food changes. In case we do not want do the shopping again and again, or we need to feed the whole family, we can apparently tolerate some taste loss.


Put It Back Into The Freezer Or Eat It?

The disadvantage mentioned above grows with each refreezing. Once you take the food out, let thaw partially and then put it back into freezer, its taste gets a little poorer, when you use it next time.

But it is not all. The bacteria that start to grow in foods after thawing are much more dangerous. That is why restaurants and other kitchens and canteens must follow the hygienic rules for food freezing; but we should follow them for the benefit of our health, too.

So which foods can be refrozen and which should not?


The Ingredients Vs Ready Meals

The practical rule No 1 says, anything containing fresh proteins should be put to freezer only once, than thawed and consumed completely. This is primarily the case of meat.

If possible, let the meat to thaw slowly in the fridge at the temperature of about 5 °C. It should be sufficient to prevent bacteria from forming, and you can return the uneaten meat back to the freezer. But never refreeze raw meat that thawed at room temperature!

The rule can be bypassed in only one way, and that is the heat processing. When you prepare a meal from the thawed meat, you can put it back to the freezer, but you obviously cannot repeat the process more times.


Certain foods get frozen to the supermarket, but later when in display, they get partially or completely thawed. Therefore you should inquire the way the retailer handles the food and either freeze it or eat it.


Fruit Juices, Pulps And Ice Creams

After once being melted, none of these foods should be refrozen. So when you want take some ice cream from a tub, do not hesitate and take as many servings as you need and put it back. If the ice cream is too melted, let it thaw completely and use it e.g. for a milkshake.

The same holds for fruit juice or fruit pulp. They are not a matter of a serious health risk like meat, but both water and cream ice products lose their pleasant taste significantly after being thawed and refrozen.

Tip: When buying an ice cream stick, ice cream cone etc. in a store, feel it with a gentle palpation to know, whether it has a non-standard shape. If it does, it means that it melted partially and then refroze, so it will not taste so good.


Fruits And Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain much water that is why their structure deteriorates easily when refrozen. If possible, freeze them lying side by side e.g. on a smaller baking sheet wrapped in a plastic bag, and then pour them together – you will prevent it from becoming one big piece of ice.

When taking a few pieces from the package, be quick and close the packaging thoroughly.

Tip: Do you like smoothies or other fruit milkshakes made in a blender? You can use the frozen fruit instead of ice cubes.  It will cool you beverage as well and the blender will be less strained than with pure ice, which can damage the blade.