When it comes to meat, most people thaw out their frozen items either on the counter or in the fridge. Turns out, it’s the wrong way to do it and there’s a very important reason why.
That reason why is called bacteria! When you defrost meat using the conventional methods that you were taught were “safe,” what you’re actually doing is inviting the bacteria to make fast friends with your expensive ribeye steak. From there, the germs will do what they do best – multiple, spread, and possibly leave you with a dangerous bout of food poisoning!
Here’s a fun fact – defrosting meat in the microwave is actually one of the fastest ways to grow a colony of icky microbes! That’s because the microwave forces the heat inside the meat to quickly grow into the “danger zone,” which is a temperature range of between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
In this danger zone, bacteria can double in as little as 20 minutes. If cooking up a fresh new batch of bad bacteria is what you’re after, then this is one of the best ways to make it happen. Ewww!
So, what about leaving the meat to thaw overnight in the refrigerator? Well, just because the fridge is cold doesn’t mean that it’s safe against an army of yucky microorganisms. Although the refrigerator does keep the meat cold, defrosting it takes such a long time that bacteria will still have a chance to grow and become a threat. It’s probably in your best interest to nix the fridge method.
Bacteria love it when you let meat thaw on the kitchen counter. It sets just the right mood for multiplication purposes. It also gives them just enough time to develop their overall nefarious plan of giving you food poisoning! You may as well just drive yourself straight to the hospital right after you’re done eating that last tasty morsel. After all, you don’t want it to be the last bite you ever eat!
What’s the safest way to thaw meat? In the sink! Cold water and Ziploc baggies are your friend. It’s a perfect way to defrost food in a speedy manner while still keeping the temperature fairly low.
All you have to do is put the meat in an airtight plastic bag, and then keep it submerged under water. Change the water every 30 minutes, until it’s been properly thawed.
Because of the efficiency of this method, bacteria don’t have a chance to become a threat to your health.
While thawing meat in a sink full of cold water is the best way to ensure that bacteria don’t continue to grow and multiply, this doesn’t mean that all the microbes are actually dead. Cooking meat until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit is actually the final and most important step for defrosting meat properly.
Watch this video for more information on how to defrost foods properly.