To Thaw Safely

  • Thaw foods in the refrigerator, not on the counter. Bacteria thrive at room temperature. Put thawing food in a plastic bag or on a plate to collect any juices. If you need a fast thaw, remove the store wrap first; put meat, poultry, or fish in a microwave-safe container; and defrost on "low" or "defrost" settings in your microwave oven. Or thaw frozen meat, poultry, or fish in cold water that's changed every thirty minutes. Cold water chills the surface. Then cook the food right away!
  • Plan ahead to defrost frozen meat in the refrigerator. Here's how long it takes:
  • Large roast—four to seven hours per pound
  • Small roast—three to five hours per pound
  • 1-inch-thick package of ground beef—twenty-four hours
  • 1-inch-thick steak—twelve to fourteen hours
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