Always consider safety first when making decisions about refreezing foods. Then consider the loss of quality.
Tips on refreezing food
From eNews, March 18, 2004
The chicken has been thawing in the fridge since yesterday. Roasting it with fresh herbs for dinner tonight sounded like a great idea, but now you're craving takeout pizza. Do you stick the chicken back in the freezer? The following are some tips from Info-U about refreezing foods.
- Foods may be safely refrozen if they still contain ice crystals. Put the packages in the coldest part of the freezer, mark them, and use them within two or three months.
- If food is completely thawed--warmed to room temperature or left out of the refrigerator for more than two hours--throw it out. Completely thawed meats must be cooked before refreezing.
- Do not refreeze partially or completely thawed--but still cold--food mixtures like casseroles, pot pies, frozen dinners, or pizzas.
- Many vegetables are safe to refreeze. However, they lose much of their texture, flavor, and appearance even if ice crystals are still present in the package. You may want to cook the thawed vegetables and eat them right away or add them to soup or stew later.
- Thawed fruit and fruit juice concentrates can be refrozen if they taste and smell good. But thawed fruits will suffer in appearance, flavor, and texture from refreezing. Consider using them to make jam instead.
- Do not refreeze melted ice cream and similar frozen desserts. You can safely refreeze breads, cookies, and similar bakery items. However, the end product is likely to be a drier, lower-quality product.
- Always consider safety first when making decisions about refreezing foods. Then consider the loss of quality. With some foods, the loss of quality may be so great that it's not worth refreezing them. To learn more about Info-U, the University of Minnesota Extension Service's multilingual, prerecorded information service, see http://www.extension.umn.edu/info-u.