New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Defrosting

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I have a freezer full of meat. We buy in bulk when it's cheap. I cut it up and store it in freezer bags in our big chest freezer.

 

I have always read that you should defrost things in the fridge. I can see how this makes sense from a food safety perspective.

 

But they always say "for 24 hours." My personal experience is that things take a very long time to defrost in the fridge. Longer than a day. And, after breakfast, when I'm poking around in the freezer to decide on dinner, I don't have time for that.

 

Usually I just leave the meat in the freezer bags and defrost in a large bowl of cold water. I figure that the freezing temperature of the meat and the cold water will keep them at a low enough temperature that I shouldn't have to worry about contamination.

 

I've been known to toss the bags in the microwave for a minute first. They're still frozen solid, but I think they're a few degrees closer to thawed. This speeds up the process a bit.

 

I tried combining defrosting with marinating to save even more time but it didn't work that well.

 

I was wondering how you all go about it.

post #2 of 15

How long it takes to defrost depends entirely on the size of the package, Name Lips. F'rinstance, a skinless/boneless chicken breast will take less time to defrost than a whole chicken---which, in turn, takes less time than a turkey.

 

Don't know where you heard that "for 24 hours" rule, but it's incorrect. A frozen turky, for example, takes about three days to defrost in the fridge.

 

I suggest you do your planning a little better. That way you combine food safety with good eats, because rapid defrosting always affects quality.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
Reply
post #3 of 15

If you absolutely MUST defrost in a rapid manner, do it under running water no warmer than 70°F (21°C), not necessarily fast but continuously moving.

 

If you place the frozen product in a bowl, put it under the tap with a slow, steady stream, mainly to keep the water moving.

 

DO NOT USE HOT WATER!

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #4 of 15

I suggest that unless you're talking about a large cut of meat (whole chicken or turkey that you're going to roast whole, or roast beef or something) that you cut it into the form you intend to cook it (cut chops and steaks out of it , or cut the chick in pieces, before freezing) and then put parchment paper between each slice or piece, then wrap well and freeze.  You can then easily pry or smash them apart (a rap on the marble countertop or something will usually separate them). Then you can defrost in smaller units.  If you put in fridge to defrost, you can lay them out on a dish to have less thickness as a block of chops stuck together..  I always form hamburgers, separate with parchment paper and freeze in bunches so that even if i'm making a meatloaf, the hamburger defrosts much faster.

 

Now, i have a microwave with a defrost function.  You select the type of food (chops, ground meat, chicken) and the weight, and you click it.  I have always had very good results (i don;t generally freeze whole chickens, it must be said, so not sure with very large cuts). 

 

I rarely know what i'm going to make that evening, sometimes it depends on whether it's going to be one of those nights where I work late and my husband calls for pizza and i eat cereal, or if i pass by the veg store on the way home and see something decent and appealing, or if my last appointment of the day is cancelled and i do have time to cook - so i very very rarely defrost in the fridge.  When i've tried it it's always been unsuccessful or occasionally i find myself with meat i couldn;t cook because plans have changed and we're going out to eat. 

 

I have a microwave mainly for that purpose, and for some dishes that seem not to be harmed by a little bit of microwaving at low while blasting with high heat in the oven or grill function to caramelize the surface (like for some eggplant or pepper or potato dishes). I use it to warm butter without melting it for making cakes.   Oh, yes, and for making my ice cream become to the right temperature, not melted but not hard, and when i'm really fussy, for bring a small piece of brie to room temp for a snack).  But mine has lots of dials and settings, wattage, oven temp, grill (upper or lower) and a defrost setting.,  If yours has only one setting it would be too strong to defrost without cooking in spots.

 

I'm a pretty good cook and i really don;t see what is wrong with that.  But i have probably opened a can of worms right here in the kitchen by mentioning the big bad microwave. smile.gif

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm betting there's already more than a few heated discussions about microwaves around here. My point of view is that they're fine as long as you understand how they work. They're a quick and easy way to melt butter, warm tortillas, make a quick cup of boiling water, etc.

 

The defrost function never works for me. Ends up cooking the edges while the center is still frozen.

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Name Lips View Post

I'm betting there's already more than a few heated discussions about microwaves around here. My point of view is that they're fine as long as you understand how they work. They're a quick and easy way to melt butter, warm tortillas, make a quick cup of boiling water, etc.

 

The defrost function never works for me. Ends up cooking the edges while the center is still frozen.


I used to get that problem too, but when the old microwave broke i got this new one, and it actually works very well for defrosting.  I think it's a very very low wattage for the defrost function, and it interrupts halfway through to have you turn the stuff over.  I rarely have a cooked corner, though it does occasionally happen. I try to keep the thickness even on the pieces so none are exposed to too much of the waves.

 

I never heat water in them because it never boils unless it boils over and burns your hand when you touch it!  It makes a pretty lame cup of tea if it's just hot. 

 

It's great for reheating leftover meat - the only way that the leftover roasted meat comes out still juicy - even steak. 

I also use it in dishes that require a bit of blanching before roasting - i put it on high oven temp, and low micro.  Like certain potato dishes where the potatoes cook in a liquid in the oven but you have to simmer them in that liquid first.  I do the two together.  Saves time and pots. I'm no chef, but i can;t taste the difference. 

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #7 of 15

I think Pete pretty much covered it, but you always want to defrost things as cold as possible. It's not only the safest but it will do the least amount of damage to your food. I would always start it in the fridge, and if it's not quite ready put it in the sink with room temperature water. I like the meat I'm cooking to be close to room temperature anyways (unless it's ground.).  The rule crammed down my through in culinary school is that things can stay at room temp for about 4 hours, and then it MUST be cooked.  I prefer not to put the meat in a bowl and fill it with water, or let water run into the bowl. When that meat is fully defrosted it's going to start retaining water, and then it's just not going to cook as well.  I use a big colender, and let water lightly drizzle over it. Especially if it's not shrink wrapped or anything like that. Never, for the said reason, defrost shellfish in water.  For every pron ruined in a bath of water, god kills a kitten! I'm serious! That stuff doesn't take long to defrost anyways.

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post

If you absolutely MUST defrost in a rapid manner, do it under running water no warmer than 70°F (21°C), not necessarily fast but continuously moving.

... mainly to keep the water moving.


And how exactly does that help?
Been doing it for umpteen years, but only questioned it a couple years ago.

How big of a difference does it make to have continuously moving water?

And I ALWAYS walk by a defrosting sink and turn the water way down at work...

I just see dollar bills going down the drain.

 

I'd love to hear the reasons why.  Tried looking it up a few times online, but didn't have very good results.

I suppose I could just ask the local health department.  You may be more educated and less biased though.

 

If you could elaborate, I'd appreciate.

 

 

 

post #9 of 15

Just from  my very hands on practical understanding of heat and cold transfer, I'd guess that the cold of the frozen food is transferred to the water, and if it's a large container and the water is moving, the warming of the air around the container will slightly warm the water (though not as fast as it's being cooled, unless it;s a bathtub!).

If it's running into the pot, sink or whatever, it's at a constant temp, and if Pete said it could be as high as 70 degrees, then it will maintain that temp if it;s running in and draining out at that temp, not if it's sitting.  

I see it all the time in the inverse situation when i want to cool something and put thye pot into a bigger pot of cold water - the water gets rapidly warm and no longer cools the food.  The opposite also happens, though i have less occasion to use it.  .  

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #10 of 15

hmmmm

 

Okay, I'll buy that.

 

Sounds kind of negligible to me.

post #11 of 15

I freeze everything IQF, that way I could take out the amount needed, it defrosts faster, it's just not a big hunk of frozen meat. I don't think it matters how you defrost, it does matter that you understand the process of safety and preserving the quality of the food being defrosted................ChefBillyB

post #12 of 15

When I use running water it's generally to keep the water cold and the food safe, not because it speeds up the process.

post #13 of 15

left4bread,

 

What is important, in my eyes, is the movement of the water, not necessarily the continuous flow, though the flow does add a trifling, to me,  amount of heat.

 

The convection currents created from the water movement increases the rate of temperature exchange, in my mind.

 

Try a simple experiment. Now, understand, a majority of my frozen product is vacuum sealed or at least in water-proof packaging. Take two identical packages of frozen product, place each in, say, separate bowls, fill bowls with tap water, leaving one still and allowing a small flow, for me the smallest steady stream the faucet will allow, in the other. See which defrosts sooner.

 

Oh, my local health inspector explained that the flow "washes any surface contamination away". That might make sense if the product is unwrapped but, if so, I thing some flavor would also be "washed away". crazy.gif

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
Reply
post #14 of 15

Fair enough. 

That's what my thought was.

Just hate it when a dishwasher asks me a question and I stammer... uh... uh...

Garrrr  I should know this!

Was hoping for a better reason, but it seems like a "every second counts" situation.

But then why cold water instead of warm?  I know you said warm, but I've always been told cold.

 

Glad to hear that your local heath department doesn't know too. crazy.gif

I mean, it's true, but...  c'mon.

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

And to end "back on topic":

I use warm water, not cold, at home.  If it's not a whole bird or something else huge, it thaws in an hour or so and then I cook it.

I'm sure CDC and Dept. of Health would cringe, but that's how I do it at home. 

 

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by siduri View Post




I used to get that problem too, but when the old microwave broke i got this new one, and it actually works very well for defrosting.  I think it's a very very low wattage for the defrost function, and it interrupts halfway through to have you turn the stuff over.  I rarely have a cooked corner, though it does occasionally happen. I try to keep the thickness even on the pieces so none are exposed to too much of the waves.

 

I never heat water in them because it never boils unless it boils over and burns your hand when you touch it!  It makes a pretty lame cup of tea if it's just hot. 

 

It's great for reheating leftover meat - the only way that the leftover roasted meat comes out still juicy - even steak. 

I also use it in dishes that require a bit of blanching before roasting - i put it on high oven temp, and low micro.  Like certain potato dishes where the potatoes cook in a liquid in the oven but you have to simmer them in that liquid first.  I do the two together.  Saves time and pots. I'm no chef, but i can;t taste the difference. 

 


It has been proved that the microwave doesn't damage the food until the waves are not in direct contact with the (through plastic paper for example)

 

So microwave is fast and efficient!

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking