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Kitchen Notes: Freezing Meats
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1618
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: overnight freezer burn

I'm really surprised that the meat was able to dehydrate that quickly in just one night. Often, a color change in the meat is mistaken for freezer burn, but the color change does not affect texture or taste. Make sure the meat is burned but feeling it's surface texture after it has been thawed (in the refrigerator). If it's dry and coarse, then it is indeed freezer burn. If it's feels like the reast of the steak, then cook yourself a steak!

For jerky - I've never made jerky from freezer burned meat, but it seems like it could be worth a try. If the meat's been properly handled, there should be no safety issues with working with a freezer burned steak. I'm not sure if the burned area will take on the flavors of the marinade effectively, but it sounds like it'll be worth a try.
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Adam
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: Overnight freezer burn

It has discolouration, large cracks, and appears dry in its still frozen state. To say it was overnight was a bit of a hyperbole - it was most of the day and one night with no covering whatsoever. But it did get me thinking about my freezer-burn jerky theory.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm looking for a thawing machine in the market but couldn't find one.

Thawing meat in the microwave is the worst method I know because some part of the meat might get cooked and the rest are still frozen.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My husband is an electrical engineer and he doesn't cook at all. Unfortunately, it is my fault since I spoil him by taking care of all the meals.

I am going to send him your site and see if he can learn a thing or two and maybe suprise me with a meal.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my question is why is it that you can not re freeze meat thats been half or fully thawed? and can it get you sick/what will result from this
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1618
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: freezing thawed meats

Meats that have been thawed or partially thawed in the refrigerator can be refrozen. Meats that have thawed in the sink, microwave, or some other method (not recommended) should not be refrozen. Here's why:
When you thaw meat in the refrigerator, no part of the meat even reaches a temperature above 40°F, the low point of the temperature range where bacteria and microbial reproduction occurs at an appreciable level. This means, freshly thawed meat will have similar levels of microorganisms as the frozen meat - refreezing will result in roughly the same concentration of microbes.

When meat is thawed in another manner, parts of the meat will have reached a temperature above 40°F while other parts are still thawing. By the time the interior has fully thawed, the warmer portions have been conducive to microbial reproduction for quite some time. To refreeze the meat at this point will result in a larger culture of bacteria and microbes being frozen with the meat. When it is thawed again, the bacterial colonies have had a jump start and may reach concentrations high enough to cause us problems if not completely killed. Unfortunately, that usually requires us to hold the meat at a high temperature rendering it unpalatable (imagine cooking a steak to 170°F and holding it there for ten to fifteen minutes - that's going to be one tough piece of meat) to avoid food poisoning. If not careful, unwelcome visits to the bathroom may occur or even in some cases the body will forcibly reject the food. In the elderly or those with weak immune systems, extreme illness or even death may occur from the food poisoning.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe not as important as the potential health issues when re-freezing thawed foods, there is also a food quality issue.

Ice crystals form when food freezes (when anything freezes for that matter). These crystals rupture cells. Repeating the freezing cycle damages more cells, which causes loss of moisture and texture.

Also, much earlier in this thread, someone stated that rapid freezing causes more cell damage than slow freezing. IIRC, Alton Brown demonstrated the opposite in the "Strawwberry Skies" episode of "Good Eats" - the strawberries he froze using dry ice oozed less juice than those frozen conventionally. His explanation was that rapid freezing results in the formation of smaller ice crystals than a slow freeze.

Great website, BTW. I just found this site yesterday and I've already read almost everything here.
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grainwreck_repost
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just returned from the hospital where I was treated for anaphyletic shock and poisoning (simultaneously!) due to scombroid poisoning of fresh salmon.

Neither freezing nor cooking kills this bacterial toxin. One can't see, smell or taste it. I think it is found mostly in warm water fish but more and more it is found in cold water fish like salmon. I think that this might be due to the environmentally friendly new "long-line" fishing (where fishing lines are miles long and it takes days to reel in the fish.) With ocean temperatures up a few degrees, there may be more of an opportunity for bad pathogens to develop?

Scombroid toxin can also form in cheese (especially swiss) and other foods. There's a quickie summary from New Zealand of scombroid poisoning at http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz/science/data-sheets/scombroid-poisoning.pdf

Even though it took a 911 call to save my life, I'm not going to stop eating fresh salmon. It's quite rare. I just thought I'd mention it here so people might be reminded to double check the source of their fresh fish.

Wonderful site, by the way. I just stumbled on y'all!
~Robin
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Lia
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have come up with a good solution to the thawing/germs issue. I buy my chicken breast by the family pack, although it is only my husband and me. I cook all of it the first day; than I cut up some, shred some, some of it stays whole. THEN I freeze it. IT is so easy to pull out a bag of precooked chicken breast, throw it in the fridge then when we come home -- it's ready to go!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 2:40 pm    Post subject: freezing thawed turkey Reply with quote

hello,
had a frozen 10-12lb turkey given to me at the office and i did not know about it at that time. it was left on the coffee room table by accident over night in a shopping bag.

came into work next morning and turkey was somewhat soft with water on the table. i was told to cook it right away, others said ok to freeze it. i really did not want to cook it, so i re-froze it.
Question: when i thaw this and cook it sometime during xmas, will 4-5 hrs in oven or rottiserie make it ok for me to serve without guests fighting for the bathroom?
thanks for any info
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1618
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

re: partially thawed on counter, then refrozen turkey

I think it is okay to assume that cooking the turkey in an oven for 4-5 hours is going to kill all the bad bacteria that we're so concerned about. Unfortunately, it may not be enough to destroy any toxins that a large culture of bacteria may have been producing prior to refreezing. Many toxins won't break down until your turkey has reached a temperture that will make the fowl foul to taste. Whether or not the bacteria has enough time to grow a sizable culture and produce a reasonable quantity of toxins, is a risk that you'll have to decide for yourself if you want to take.
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Johannes
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am    Post subject: health concerns Reply with quote

Hi everyone!

To my surprise, many of you are concerned about freezing and thawing, but no one comments on the aluminum foil used to cover the meat in Michaelīs "recipe". I thought it is common knowledge that even traces of salt and water on aluminum produce toxins without any help of bacteria. Nitrates are known to support the growth of cancer, and aluminum is found in the brains of patients suffering from Alzheimerīs disease (whether that is caused by using dishes with that metal or just a coincidence has not been thoroughly looked at, as far as I know).

I suggest using reusable containers (I know a famous retailer ...). The bacteria can be killed using hot water or your dishwasher, possible stains can be removed with plant oil beforehand. And I found out that your roast does not stay cubic after thawing ...

With best regards from a fish- and meat-loving mechanical engineer,
Johannes
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Joe
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:03 pm    Post subject: Another defrosting method. Reply with quote

Last night ~2 am I put some still sealed tuna steak in a metal mixing bowl of water and placed that in the fridge.

I normally just do it in the fridge for like 2 days. It is done right now ~10 am.
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former restaurant manager
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:13 am    Post subject: bacteria growth in food Reply with quote

There are several factors that contribute in the growth of the bateria. Take note, bacteria is not the sole contributor to food poisoning but the toxins they produce, y'know in comes one way out goes the other.
These are what contrubute to bacteria growth. Take away one of these factors and you don't have to run to the john two hours later.

1. Temperature - these creatures multiply roughly every 30 minutes between 41 and 140 degree fahrenheit. And millions of them reside in pinhead sized playground. So if you're defrosting food in the sink for hours at a time, you will kill the bacteria after cooking in the correct temperature but the toxins remain.

2.Oxigen - Now, that is diffcult to control. It's everywhere. So we resort to controlling other factors.

3.Acidity - The guy who marinade his meat, given that he used ingredients such as vinegar or other acidic agents will still be able to come home at night and eat his meat after hours of brewing and not be sick.

4.Moisture - That is why beef jerky is safe.

I think I got all of them. Just be sensible about defrosting you meats. Slow defrost bringing it down to the refrigerator for a day or two is the best method. Another tip: Once you start cooking you cannot stop. So defrosting in the microwave is technically cooking so no refreezing. If you're in a bit of a hurry, place the meat in a container where it could "submerge" and have running cold water.

I beleive that eating safe food is most important. You can eat great tasting food AND avoid food poisoning. I beleive you guys should have a series of article about proper food hadling from purchasing, storage, prep, cooking, storage after cooking and reheating[/code]
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2006 7:26 pm    Post subject: Chicken Reply with quote

Hi,
My wife made some chicken lastnight around 12am, I was in charge of putting it away after it had cooled down. But with my lazy eyes I became tired...and in the morning to her surprise I had left the chicken out all night! at least for 7 hours. Does anyone know if bacteria has formed over night. WOULD IT BE SFE EATING?
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