Ever wonder if you can refreeze food you thawed for dinner or worse- the entire contents of your freezer after the door was left open or a power out?
Life happens and sometimes our plans for dinner get adjusted. We all hate to waste food but it‘s better than getting ill from food born bacteria.
Ignore the monetary cost because saving some money is not worth the risk of getting sick. Did you know severe cases of food poisoning can kill someone?
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Refreezing food is not dangerous, the danger is that food can spoil before it’s refrozen or after it‘s thawed again but before being cooked and eaten.
Freezing food does not kill bacteria, so once thawed bacteria continues to multiple at the same exponential rate it was multiplying at before being frozen.
This is one of the reasons to set your freezer to it's ideal temperature.
Refreezing also reduces quality because the already slightly damaged cells are being expanded with ice crystals again.
This isn’t a big deal for meats or baked foods but is huge for rice, pasta, fruits and veggies.
Try to figure out how long things have been thawing/thawed to help you make a safe decision.
And never feed a pet food you wouldn’t eat, they can get food poisoning too.
Toss it if
Refreeze food if
When Refreezing food:
Label clearly so you know to use this item fast. I usually write something like “Do not thaw” if it can be cooked from frozen or “Use as soon as thawed” so I know that this item should be cooked as soon as it thaws.
If your freezer thaws and you have to toss a bunch of food see if the loss is covered on your homeowners or renters insurance.
A freezer inventory can help with this.
Yes, you can prepare your freezer.
This page has tips for prepping your freezer for a power outage and will help you get organized so you can refreeze food if possible and minimize losses as best the situation allows.
Disclaimer: This information is true and accurate to the best of my abilities, it is posted here to try to help people but food safety is a very serious thing.
By using this information you agree that you are taking fully and complete responsibility for your actions, your health and any food that you refreeze, cook or eat. When in doubt throw it out.
Done reading about how to refreeze food? Find more cool stuff on freezing food.