You get up in the morning, and before work, take the meat out of the freezer to thaw for a meal you plan to cook later that day.
However, you change your mind and realize you don’t want to cook it. You have the choice of either putting it back in the freezer, cooking it, or throwing it away.
At times like this, you need to know if you can refreeze the food. This is very true with meat because of how quickly it goes bad.
One meat people do this with is beef. By the end of this article, you’ll find out if you can refreeze both cooked and raw beef that was previously thawed.
Is It Possible to Refreeze Beef?
We will tell you it is very possible to refreeze beef. There might be some flavor lost during the process, but you can certainly do it.
In the next section, we’ll go into the specifics that surround refreezing cooked and raw beef that had previously been frozen and thawed.
Refreezing Cooked Beef
If you are planning to refreeze cooked beef, then there are a couple of things that you need to keep in mind.
Besides safely handling the meat, you must remember at no point should you attempt to thaw the beef on the counter.
If it has been thawed on the counter, then you need to throw it out.
The only time cooked beef can be used if it’s been left out is if it’s for under two hours or fewer.
Bacteria can form at room temperature, which can make you very sick. To avoid this, don’t leave the beef out on the counter very long.
Once the beef is in the freezer, it can last up to 3 to 4 days, so you have some time to decide what you want to do with it.
Any longer in the fridge, and well, we hope you plan to throw it out!
Refreezing Raw Beef
The rules for refreezing raw beef are similar to what you do when refreezing cooked beef.
Never attempt to thaw the beef on the counter, and if it is left on the counter, then it has to be under two hours or fewer.
Any longer, and it’s best to get rid of the beef. Also, it will last in the fridge for about 3 to 4 days, just like cooked beef. At the end of that time, you need to do something with it.
One of the biggest differences has to do with the thawing method. Raw beef can only be refrozen right away if it is thawed in the fridge.
If it was thawed with any other method, then it needs to be cooked before being refrozen.
We are going to touch on the best methods to safely thaw beef in the next section.
How to Safely Thaw Beef
We have discovered three methods to thaw your beef. These methods include:
- The best way to thaw your beef is by putting it in the fridge. All you need to do is take it out of the freezer, put it in the fridge, and then leave it in there overnight. It should be completely thawed by the next morning. Both raw beef and cooked beef can be thawed in this manner.
- The second method is the cold water method. Put the beef (keep it in the plastic) in a bowl that is filled with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes until it has completely thawed. Remember, if you do this with raw beef, it needs to be cooked before being refrozen.
- Finally, the last method is by far the quickest out of all three and the easiest as well. Put it in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl and then hit the defrost button. Remember, if you do this with raw beef, it needs to be cooked before being refrozen.
So, these are the top three ways to thaw your beef. Some are better than others, but just do whatever suits you!
How to Safely Freeze Beef
Similar to thawing beef, there are also ways to safely freeze it as well! This includes:
- Before putting the beef inside the freezer, you need to wrap it in something, so it won’t get freezer burn. This can be foil, plastic wrap, or a freezer-safe bag. The next step, and the most important one, is to put it in a zip-lock bag or off-brand equivalent. It doesn’t matter the brand. Just as long as it can contain the meat and have all air removed from it. The reason for this is that if there is air in the bag, then the meat could be subject to freezer burn.
- Another thing you can do is to write the date you put the meat in the freezer on the bag. Consider doing this when you refreeze it as well, so you have a specific time in mind. To make sure the meat is good when you take it out, consider giving it the sniff test and a once over to make sure it’s still good to eat.
By using these two safety suggestions, you’ll be able to avoid freezer burn. Could it still happen to your beef?
Of course, but nothing is foolproof. If it were, we’d certainly have fewer problems.
And there you go, all your beef lovers out there! In the article, we showed you it is possible to refreeze beef that has been cooked and then thawed as well as raw beef that went through a similar process.
Yes, we know there seem like a lot of rules to follow to refreeze meat, but it’s all there for your safety.
In no time, you will be used to these rules and understand that the reason they are there in the first place is to keep you healthy.
There are safety precautions for everything we do! We doubt you’d be able to go far without discovering some.