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Freezing Food - What is the Best Way to Safely Defrost Food?

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Question: Freezing Food - What is the Best Way to Safely Defrost Food?
Answer: Never defrost foods in a garage, basement, car, dishwasher or plastic garbage bag - out on the kitchen counter, outdoors or on the porch. These methods can leave your foods unsafe to eat.

There are three safe ways to defrost food: in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. It's best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. Small items may defrost overnight, however most foods require a day or two. And large items like turkeys may take longer, approximately one day for each five pounds of weight.

For faster defrosting, place food in a leak proof plastic bag and immerse it in cold water. (If the bag leaks, bacteria from the air or surrounding environment could be introduced into the food. Tissues can also absorb water like a sponge, resulting in a watery product.) Check the water frequently to be sure it stays cold. Change the water every 30 minutes. After thawing, cook immediately.

When microwave-defrosting food, plan to cook it immediately after thawing because some areas of the food may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving.

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David Kirkpatrick, Senior Editor, Internet and Technology
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