Last Updated on October 30, 2023 by Food Articles
This article is specially written for all those meat lovers out there. Did you know that almost 26% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface is used for livestock grazing? In these areas of land, crops used for the production of animal feed are grown on a huge level.
From these grains, over 1 billion cows eat their food. An average of 900 thousand of these cows are slaughtered daily for meat and other products. From those cows, around 134 billion pounds of finished meat is sold and consumed globally.
It’s not a surprising fact to say that these numbers are continuously growing. That day isn’t far when we will run out of the total land on Earth used for livestock grazing.
The meat from the above-slaughtered number of cows is resting in our freezers somewhere. However, as meat is in immense demand, people try to stock some of it at their homes. Because of it, there are growing concerns about the safety of eating meat. The main concern is to know how long can you leave frozen meat out?
In this article, we will answer this question in detail, identifying the correct methods of defrosting meat to avoid it from going bad.
How Long Can You Leave Frozen Meat Out?
Leaving any perishable food outside simply means making it die faster. Room temperature is not safe for meat either, making it contaminated if left out. Defrosting meat at room temperature is highly unsafe due to a major reason discussed below. Meat that stays for more than 2 hours at room temperature is deemed unsafe for consumption.
Bacteria grow on food when the food reaches a certain temperature. When meat is left out at room temperature, it starts to grow bacteria once any part of it reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
At this point, the bacteria grow rapidly and multiply, deteriorating the quality of the meat. All sorts of meat and perishable food get rapidly contaminated by bacteria once it is exposed at room temperature. Hence, room temperature is deadly for perishable food items.
Health experts say that meat that has been left out for more than 2 hours at room temperature should be discarded straight away. It shouldn’t be used in any way. Properly frozen meat can last an eternity as the low temperature greatly reduces bacteria growth and spread.
The US Department of Agriculture has stated that any food stored at exactly 0 degrees Fahrenheit is safe to eat indefinitely. However, frozen cooked meats should be discarded after 3 months of freezing.
Hence, the answer to how long can you leave frozen meat out is 2 hours.
Ways Of Defrosting Meat Adequately
Learning about the different ways of proper meat defrosting is essential before cooking meat. This leads to you getting the best quality out of it. If you want to prepare dinner for some guests and at the last moment and you realize that you haven’t defrosted the meat, don’t worry.
If you don’t have much time on your hands and wish to use the meat straight away from the freezer, make sure that you cook it in much higher heat. This will result in a loss of quality. There are other 3 main methods of defrosting meat that is considered as the most popular ones. Read about them in detail, below.
This method is considered one of the safest and best ones for meat thawing. Also, this is a pretty time-consuming method as 5 pounds of meat takes an average of 24 hours if defrosted by this method.
Refrigerator defrosting ensures slow thawing of the meat that results in the least amount of quality loss. By this technique, the texture of the meat is also affected by the least amount after it has been defrosted.
The meat defrosted by this method can also be re-freeze directly without cooking. However, some quality might be lost in doing so. Once the meat is thawed, it is recommended to cook it right away and avoid keeping it at room temperature for long. As long as it would stay at room temperature, more bacteria would affect it.
The optimum temperature of the refrigerator should be around 34 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a large plan or pan for defrosting and ensure it has enough depth to contain all the juice that extracts from the meat. This is important because the meat water can spill over other foods making them uneatable.
Cold Water Defrosting
This method is faster than refrigerator defrosting but it requires better attention. It defrosts approximately 1 pound of meat in less than an hour. For this method, you are required to seal the meat in waterproof packaging (zip-lock bag most preferably.) It’s better to use a good quality plastic bag for this.
After this, submerged the meat completely in a bowl full of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure that the temperature remains low. After defrosting by this method, cook it right away and avoid throwing it back in the refrigerator or freezer.
This is by far the fastest method for defrosting meat but also results in the most amount of quality loss. For effective microwave defrosting, be sure to follow the below-mentioned guidelines. Firstly, remove the plastic packaging on the meat.
To minimize damage, set defrost mode on the microwave for less than 50% power. Low power ensures that heat penetrates adequately and uniformly through the center of the meat, making it completely defrosted.
If you are defrosting multiple meat pieces, separate them before putting them into the microwave to make sure that heat reaches all areas properly. You are supposed to cook the meat immediately after defrosting as keeping it idle will result in more quality loss.
We hope this article informed you about the fact on how long can you leave frozen meat out. Comment down below the methods you use in your daily lives to thaw meat.