Author Topic: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze? (Read 16501 times)

Gray Matter

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Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« on: July 19, 2014, 06:48:15 AM »
Ever since I started my new job (June), I've really been struggling to find the energy and inclination to cook. We've spent an ungodly amount of money on convenience and take-out foods in the last few weeks (after we tired of cereal and toast for supper!). Honestly, even the thought of boiling pasta and tossing it with pre-made pesto and steamed broccoli seems like too much most nights.

So...I've enlisted DH's help in doing a bunch of cooking tomorrow (Sunday) so we will have left-overs and pre-made meals. While some of what I cook will go into the fridge to be eaten this week, some would need to be refrozen in the form of lasagna, soup, etc.

My question is: Can I thaw, cook, and refreeze meats? Or is that just asking for trouble in terms of food safety or quality/taste? I'm talking about round roast, turkey, chicken breasts, hamburger.

Thanks!


clarkm04

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2014, 06:54:31 AM »
Something my DW and I do is freezer meals. We found cookbooks with recipes that are designed specifically to be made, frozen, and then heated for consumption later.

Since all the recipes are designed for freezing, the food tastes really good and retains it's flavor.

Typically once every few months, we'll have a food day where we make a ton of freezer meals and then over time we'll eat them.

Totally nips in the butt the cycle of getting pinched for time and then getting take out.

Our local library had a bunch of books on the subject to check out. The ones we liked the best, we bought.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2014, 06:55:14 AM »
I think you can from a safety perspective. To be sure, just bring the leftovers up to temperature thoroughly before eating.

From a quality perspective, I wouldn't do this for any meat you're going to eat by itself, but for small pieces in a recipe you shouldn't notice the texture degrade.
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senecando

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2014, 07:48:11 AM »
I've looked this up before. Here's the USDA on the safety aspect:

Quote
Once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked foods. If previously cooked foods are thawed in the refrigerator, you may refreeze the unused portion. Freeze leftovers within 3-4 days. Do not refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 F.

If you purchase previously frozen meat, poultry or fish at a retail store, you can refreeze if it has been handled properly.

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Rural

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2014, 08:03:11 AM »
Since safety's already been covered, ill just focus on quality. In my experience, you shouldn't see a problem with it. It's better with recipes than as chunks of meat, but you may be happy enough with chicken breast, especially if you serve it with a sauce of some sort (dryness is the risk). Steak not so much.


You can cook and freeze pasta and rice, too. If you're making your own convenience foods, those are the things that are hard to face when exhausted, at least for me. I don't know if you cook breads like rolls, cornbread, etc. for some meals, but they also freeze well.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2014, 09:15:24 AM »
I live alone and do this all of the time with meat. I bake a roast or something and whatever I don't eat within 3 days, I freeze in individual portions in foil plus inside a freezer bag. I thaw slowly in the microwave on power level 3 for 8 minutes, then zap it full power for a minute or 2, then voila, warm, tasty protein. The frozen portions are "backup" so I always have nourishing food available to avoid take out.

MicroRN

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2014, 10:57:48 AM »
It works fine. We'll thaw and grill tons of chicken then slice and freeze. Thawing and refreezing meat does affect the quality, but you won't notice it in many applications, and it's safe as long as the meat has been handled safely. We had a long discussion about this in a meat science course I took.

Adding some salt and vacuum packing helps prevent off flavors from developing. Most of those aren't due to spoilage, but oxidation of fats.
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iris lily

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2014, 04:43:11 PM »
Something my DW and I do is freezer meals. We found cookbooks with recipes that are designed specifically to be made, frozen, and then heated for consumption later.

Since all the recipes are designed for freezing, the food tastes really good and retains it's flavor.

We do exactly this thing. We get beef and pork from DH's family farm and it's always frozen. So we thaw it, cook it up into freezer meals, and re-freeze. Been doing it for 25 years, not dead yet.

1967mama

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2014, 11:44:40 PM »
Another YES vote, here. I cook meat that has been frozen and then refreeze it with no problems.

Joggernot

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2014, 06:55:50 AM »
We do exactly this thing. We get beef and pork from DH's family farm and it's always frozen. So we thaw it, cook it up into freezer meals, and re-freeze. Been doing it for 25 years, not dead yet.
+1
Chicken, pork chops, pork loin, roasts, etc. all made into meals and frozen. We might cook 30 pork chops; freeze 20 in two separate bags; and have the other 10 for lunch/supper that week, saving the rest for later.

socaso

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2014, 12:12:50 PM »
I do this all the time. I believe the real danger zone is thawing raw meat and then refreezing it without cooking.

RootofGood

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2014, 01:16:07 PM »
I do this all the time. We buy big cuts of meat (3-4 pound beef roasts, 5-15 pound pork shoulders/sirloin roasts/pork loins). Sometimes it goes in the freezer whole in the original packaging.

Right now I'm defrosting a 5.2 lb pork sirloin roast, which will probably be turned into
* 1-2 0.5 lb pre-sliced goody bags that will be refrozen and ultimately be dumped into a stir fry or curry.
* A few pounds into carnitas (pulled pork stewed with tomatoes and spices)
* 1-2 lb marinated in hoison sauce, ginger, soy sauce, molasses, sugar, spices and roasted in the oven.

I'll freeze most of the carnitas in 1/2 cup servings and 1-2 of those servings make a great filler for nachos, tacos, enchiladas, etc later.

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SingleMomDebt

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2014, 07:29:18 AM »
I do this with the corned beef from St. Patrick's Day. Dice it up. Freeze it in individual servings. Then come breakfast, cook it up in a cast iron pan with some onion, bellpepper, potatoes and an egg over easy. Yum.

Gerard

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2014, 07:36:33 AM »
Right now I'm defrosting a 5.2 lb pork sirloin roast, which will probably be turned into
* 1-2 0.5 lb pre-sliced goody bags that will be refrozen and ultimately be dumped into a stir fry or curry.
* A few pounds into carnitas (pulled pork stewed with tomatoes and spices)
* 1-2 lb marinated in hoison sauce, ginger, soy sauce, molasses, sugar, spices and roasted in the oven.

This made me hungry.

Also, yes, as everyone else has said, you can freeze cooked previously frozen meat. One suggestion: Do something like RootofGood's pre-sliced, but instead pre-cube, and flash-freeze on pizza sheets etc. Then scrape the frozen cubes into airtight containers. That way you can later shake out as many as you need for a recipe. I especially tend to do this with ham, because I rarely need much of it at once.
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RootofGood

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Re: Can I thaw and cook frozen meat, then refreeze?
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2014, 09:22:56 AM »
Right now I'm defrosting a 5.2 lb pork sirloin roast, which will probably be turned into
* 1-2 0.5 lb pre-sliced goody bags that will be refrozen and ultimately be dumped into a stir fry or curry.
* A few pounds into carnitas (pulled pork stewed with tomatoes and spices)
* 1-2 lb marinated in hoison sauce, ginger, soy sauce, molasses, sugar, spices and roasted in the oven.

This made me hungry.
Thanks!

Quote
Also, yes, as everyone else has said, you can freeze cooked previously frozen meat. One suggestion: Do something like RootofGood's pre-sliced, but instead pre-cube, and flash-freeze on pizza sheets etc. Then scrape the frozen cubes into airtight containers. That way you can later shake out as many as you need for a recipe. I especially tend to do this with ham, because I rarely need much of it at once.

I buy the honey hams (which are really salted, smoked hams if you don't add the honey/sugar mix) when on sale for about a buck a pound. Then before cooking (they're already cooked when you buy them), I stuff the cups on my silicone cupcake pan full of ham slices and freeze. It produces about a half cup (4-5 oz) serving for each frozen puck. Perfect size for one person for breakfast, or defrost a few more if you're feeding the whole family. I'm partial to pan-frying the ham after defrosting it (with a tiny bit of oil or nothing at all if the ham cut if fatty enough). Gives it a nice caramelized/char taste and only take a few minutes from freezer to table. Toss an egg in the pan after the ham is done and you have a hearty diner meal in 5-6 minutes for $0.50 (well, maybe add a slice of toast or 3 if you want "hearty").
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