If you’re anything like me, you’re prone to forgetting to thaw food for dinner. I’ve certainly plopped something in some hot water for a quick thaw. However, thawing food in hot water is, evidently, not a good idea.
While letting your packaged frozen meat or other foods sit in a bowl of hot water to thaw seems like a quick, easy way to get dinner on the table, the USDA, advises against it, as it can be dangerous. According to the agency, perishable foods must be kept at a safe temperature (typically, under 40 degrees Fahrenheit) while thawing.
When you use hot water, the outer sections of your food could heat beyond that point, while the center remains frozen. As this happens, food enters the “Danger Zone.” During this time, bacteria can begin to grow on the portions of the food that are too warm.
You might believe you need to keep thawing due to the center still being frozen, but as you do, more and more bacteria grows on the outer sections in the “Danger Zone.”
So, how can you safely thaw food?
The USDA recommends thinking ahead and thawing items in your fridge. While this will take quite a bit longer, it will keep your food at a safe temperature.
For quicker thawing, though, you can try cold water. Keep your food in a leakproof container and submerge it in cold water, switching it out every 30 minutes until thawed. The USDA also recommends using the thaw option on your microwaves. The caveat for both, though, is that you cook immediately after thawing.
In addition to safe thawing, there are also several things you can do to keep your food fresh in the freezer.