why is it wrong to put defrosted meat back in the freezer?


why is it wrong to put defrosted meat back in the freezer?

In: 14

Meat is mostly water.

Water freezes.

When water freezes, it crystallizes and expands. In effect, millions of tiny little knives are being made that branch out and “cut” the meat. This is why flash freezing is good for preserving food. It slows the expansion of these crystals.

As the crystals cut the meat, the expansion of frozen water is also popping cells.

So freezing meat multiple times basically turns the meat into a gross mush that does not cook well at all.

Give it a try!

It’s like this…

Put a strawberry into a freezer until it’s frozen solid. Take it out and defrost it. Then put it back into the freezer until solid. Then take it out and defrost it again. Now, i want you to eat it.

nothing is explicitly ‘wrong’ with the meat if you defrost it & freeze it. If you defrosted it in a sterile environment at the correct temps, then bacteria should be mitigated BUT the texture & flavor will change.

Freezing meat, or cells, will cause the water to expand. the cells, in turn, are ruptured &/or damaged by the freezing water expansion. When the ice defrosts, back to water, you’re left with dead, and/or damaged, cells.

Visual aide of this would be taking 3 new balloons. take one balloon and blow it up until it pops. take the second balloon and fill it up to it’s maximum size and leave to 8 hours, then release the air so it’s fully deflated. for the 3rd balloon, leave it alone. You’ll notice that the balloon that exploded is horribly deformed and can’t retain it’s shape. The balloon you inflated then deflated is able to keep it’s shape, but horrible deformed. The last balloon is in wonderful shape and is ready to be inflated. This should help you understand parallels with freezing cells.

So, the defrosted meat goes through the freezing/defrost process once. acceptable, so it’s not horribley damaged. But, to refreeze & re-defrost will just take all the already damaged cells and destroy them, and damaging the cells that were able to be mostly undamaged.

You’re going to have a texture that is very different from what you normally have, flavors are going to be different b/c the cooking process will interact with cells differently, and likely you’re not going to enjoy it.

It’s a matter of time & temperature allowing bacteria like E. coli to grow. If meat sits for more than 2 hours above 42F, it should be cooked and not refrozen.

If the meat’s been thawed overnight in the fridge, or during a relatively short time under cold running water, it can be refrozen safely. Any bacteria won’t have the time to spread much if at all.

If it’s been sitting out on the counter for 8 hours, and spent that time above safe temperatures, the likelihood of getting food poisoning is much higher. If you freeze it & re-thaw it, that time is *cumulative* – it doesn’t reset.