Sometimes you need to put meat in the freezer. One reason could be that you cooked too much at the time and want to have it for leftovers.
Another is because you simply don’t want to let it go to waste, which is understandable. Food is expensive!
It sounds simple, but some questions surround freezing your meat. For one, is it possible to refreeze cooked meat? What about raw meat that has been thawed first?
These two questions and more will be answered in this article. By the end, you’ll know exactly what to do when it comes to refreezing ground beef.
Is It Possible to Refreeze Ground Beef?
First, we will say that it is possible to refreeze ground beef that has already been frozen and then thawed.
The problem that arises is how many times this process has been done. If it’s only been done thawed once, then it’s perfectly fine to go ahead and start the freezing process all over again.
Sometimes the freezing, thawing, and refreezing process can cause the ground beef to lose some flavor or get freezer burn.
This is why it’s best to just only do this process once. Also, make sure that the meat, either cooked or raw, has not been sitting at room temperature for more than an hour. It could lead to bacteria forming.
We’ll delve next into the specifics of refreezing cooked ground beef and refreezing raw ground beef that had previously been thawed.
Refreezing Cooked Ground Beef
Cooked ground beef is beef that has been cooked at a high temperature in some way. Either this is done on the stovetop, oven, grill, or another method that produces high heat.
You can certainly refreeze cooked ground beef, but always make sure that it has been cooked thoroughly first. Doing this ensures you have eliminated all the bacteria from the meat.
The way to refreeze ground beef is pretty simple, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
You need to carefully handle the meat before you freeze it for the first time. Cut it up into small pieces and put it into some kind of container that is airtight.
It’s important to cut it into small portions because not only does it freeze more quickly, but it also limits the chance of any bacteria popping up inside the meat.
This isn’t to say that you can’t refreeze the cooked ground beef if you haven’t done any of these things, but by doing them, you lower the risk of getting sick.
Another thing you want to make sure of is that when you are thawing the cooked meat for the first time, it’s always done in the fridge.
It can stay in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days, but no longer.
Refreezing Raw Ground Beef
For raw beef, you can refreeze it after it has been previously frozen. However, don’t think that you can just take it out of the freezer, set it on the counter, and then stick it back in the freezer if you change your mind. T
his is exactly what not to do.
The only way you can safely refreeze raw ground beef is if it has been thawed in the fridge.
There are other methods to defrost ground beef (which we will touch on later), but if you use any of those, the meat must be cooked first.
Also, keep in mind that there is a 3 to 4-day window for refreezing uncooked ground beef. If it’s been longer than that, it’s best to cook it or throw it away, depending on if the meat has done badly.
How to Safely Thaw Ground Beef
There are ways to safely thaw your ground beef. This is something to keep in mind when you first thaw the meat because that way, if you want to refreeze it, it will still be good to eat in the end. This includes:
- Putting ground beef (whether it’s raw or previously cooked) is the most common way people thaw their meat. It’s the safest and simplest way to do this and helps stop any chance of bacteria growth.
- A second way to thaw frozen ground beef is by using cold water. This is a quicker way than leaving it in the freezer. It can lead to bacteria growth, however, so keep this in mind. Also, if you use this method to thaw out raw ground beef, you then need to cook the meat first if you intend to refreeze it. Once it has been cooked, then you can refreeze it again.
- Finally, you can thaw ground beef (raw and cooked) in the microwave. Remember, if it is raw ground beef you are unthawing, it has to be cooked. This is especially true because the meat might have already started cooking in the microwave in the first place!
So, as you can see, cooked ground beef is easier to refreeze after it has been thawed (provided it has not been left out long). Raw ground beef can only be refrozen in its original form if it’s been done in the fridge.
How to Safely Refreeze Ground Beef
Just like with thawing ground beef, there are ways to safely refreeze your ground beef as well. This includes:
- Before considering refreezing your ground beef, make sure it hasn’t been left out at room temperature for a long!
- One way to ensure the meat will stay fresh and not get freezer burn is by wrapping the meat either in foil, plastic wrap, or a freezer-safe bag/container.
- Always make sure you put the date on the outside of the container so you know when it was put into the freezer.
And there you go, all you ground beef lovers out there! It is possible to refreeze both ground beef that is raw and cooked ground beef that had previously been frozen.
We understand that there are a lot of rules that come with doing this, but it’s always important to follow them. By doing this, you ensure your health will remain in tip-top shape!