6 Safe Thawing, Cooling & Reheating Methods

I’m Linda Petterson, owner at Safe Food Specialist and Certified Food Safety Instructor/Proctor with ServSafe of the National Restaurant Association and with Always Food Safe. Foodborne illness is very dangerous, because of this, food should be handled correctly. Here are the 6 Safe Methods for thawing, cooling down and reheating food.

1. Refrigerator Thawing – Planning ahead is the key to refrigerator thawing. A large frozen item like a turkey requires at least a day (24 hours) for every 5 pounds to thaw.

2. Cold Water Thawing – This method is faster than refrigerator thawing but requires more attention. Food must be in a leak-proof package and placed under running water that is 70 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler. Any leaks can cause bacteria from the air or surrounding environment to be introduced into the food.

3: Microwave Thawing – Plan to cook food thawed in a microwave immediately after thawing, because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during the thawing process

4: Cooking Without Thawing – When there is not enough time to thaw frozen foods, it is safe to cook foods from the frozen state. The cooking will take approx. 50% longer than the recommended time for fully thawed or fresh meat and poultry.

5: Cooling Down Cooked Foods – You have 6 hours to cool food from 135 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit. 2 hours to take the food from 135 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. And, 4 hours from 70 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit. It is advisable to perform this action as quickly as you can. Ways to cool down food include: blast chillers, dividing food into smaller portions, transferring to shallow trays or pans, stirring (especially with an ice paddle), and using ice or cold water.

6: Reheating – Foods that have been cooked and cooled should be reheated to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat cooked, commercially vacuum-sealed, ready-to-eat foods, such as hams and roasts, to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Reheat leftovers thoroughly to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Reheat sauces, soups, and gravies to a boil.

Hope you enjoyed learning these 6 Safe Methods!