A freezer is extremely practical for storing food for long periods of time. However, when defrosting meat, sausage and fish, many things can go wrong. There is a risk of quality loss and germ contamination. 7 often overlooked dangers when defrosting and what you can do against them, we explain to you here.

Defrosting meat: 7 things you have to keep in mind

1st danger: room temperature

Meat, sausage or fish should never be defrosted at room temperature, otherwise germs will multiply rapidly. It is best to let the frozen goods thaw overnight in the refrigerator. It is somewhat faster to thaw in cold water.

2nd danger: large portions

The larger and thicker the portion, the longer it takes to thaw. This is not only annoying, but also bears the danger that germs multiply at the already defrosted edge, while the food is still frozen in the middle. Large portions in particular must therefore be defrosted with special care. However, it is best to make sure that the portions are small and flat when freezing.

3rd danger: rapid defrosting

If you are in too much of a hurry when defrosting, you also risk the meat becoming tough and dry as the meat juices escape from the tissue. This is another reason why the refrigerator option is preferable when defrosting.

Danger 4: Thawing liquid

Frozen goods draw water. Consequently, it is inevitable that this will escape during defrosting. Because the thawing liquid is a real source of germs, the meat or fish should not lie in it. Place the product to be defrosted in a sieve on a draining tray.

However, the amount of thawing liquid also depends on the freezing process: It is important that the product freezes as quickly as possible. Therefore, place them in the colder cooling zone in the lower part of the freezer. If you have a quick freeze function, you should use it. This is because the longer the freezing takes, the more ice crystals form, which penetrate the cell structure of the meat. In addition, when buying frozen meat, make sure that the cold chain is not interrupted, i.e. that the meat does not thaw in between.

  1. danger: washing off

Raw meat and fish should never be washed under running water. The splashes of water will otherwise spread the germs throughout the kitchen. If you want to thaw frozen meat in a water bath, leave it in its unopened packaging for this reason. The defrosted product is then simply dabbed with kitchen paper to remove excess condensation.

  1. danger: cleaning

Once the meat or fish has survived defrosting without any loss of quality, all items used in the process should be thoroughly cleaned at a minimum of 140°F to remove any germs.

  1. danger: refreezing

Raw food, once thawed, should be processed as quickly as possible and not refrozen. Only when the food has been cooked thoroughly can it be stored again in the freezer. Meat, sausage and fish are definitely the most delicate products when defrosting. But even with bread, vegetables or fruit, there are a few little things to keep in mind:

Freezing slows down the multiplication of germs but does not stop it. This means that goods can also spoil in the freezer if you store them there for too long. So be sure to look for damage or odd spots when thawing.

A frozen loaf of bread should first be allowed to thaw at room temperature, then placed in the oven at 392 °F for 10 to 15 minutes. By the way, the trick also works the other way around: first put it in the oven and then let it defrost. The only thing is that you should not let the loaf defrost exclusively at room temperature, otherwise it will become mushy on the outside and dry on the inside.

To keep fruits and vegetables crisp and flavorful, defrost both slowly and gently. Unless, of course, you want to turn them into stewed fruit or porridge anyway. When baking, you can simply do without thawing fruit. That way, the cake won’t be watery.