You might not think twice about leaving frozen ingredients on your kitchen bench at home to thaw out. So, you might believe that such methods will always be suitable for the food industry, too.
However, as you will learn when taking a food handlers safety course in Texas, there’s a right and wrong way to go about defrosting certain foods and ingredients. The more informed you are, the safer your paying customers can be. Rely on your course content and this information below to practice safe food preparation.
Don’t Rely on the Microwave
The microwaves we have at our disposal are more convenient and feature-laden than ever before. You can pop a piece of frozen meat or chicken in there, tap the defrost button, and it will work its magic.
The problem is, such a defrost method requires incredible precision. Your ingredients are also generally not the same thickness the whole way around. As a result, some parts may begin to cook while others remain frozen.
If you accidentally overthaw your food, you run the risk of giving bacteria a chance to spread, multiply, and pose a food poisoning risk. As quick and convenient as a microwave is, it’s not your friend in a commercial kitchen.
Avoid Room Temperature Thawing
Even though you might defrost food on your kitchen bench at home, it’s not a safe food handling and storage practice. Once your food reaches room temperature, it becomes the ideal breeding ground for bacteria. They can then multiply while in this ‘danger’ zone until they pose a food poisoning risk.
Fortunately, you can learn all about the danger zone and temperature control while completing your Texas food handlers card so that you can make informed decisions.
Plan Ahead and Use the Refrigerator
If you have ever defrosted food in the refrigerator before, you likely know just how long it takes – a long time. However, as time-consuming as the defrosting process in a fridge can be compared to a microwave, it’s the safest method.
You’re able to slowly bring up the temperature of your food while still making sure it’s safe for human consumption. It’s important to note that a single pound of ground beef can take around 24 hours to thaw. Therefore, you’re going to want to plan your menu and meals days in advance to ensure that the ingredients you use are ready to be cooked on the day they are needed.
Once your food has been safely thawed, be mindful of the dates. Most thawed food may only be safe for human consumption for up to 3-5 days once it has been defrosted.
Try Cold Water
If you don’t have a full day to wait for ingredients to thaw, try the cold water method. Fill a sink in your commercial kitchen with cold water, and make sure your ingredients are in sealed plastic bags or packaging.
Submerge them in the cold water, and set a timer to change the water every 30 minutes. This ensures that your food can remain at a consistent temperature while it’s thawing.
While it’s still a time-consuming process, it’s far quicker than the refrigerator when you’re in a pinch, and far safer than microwave thawing, too.
Cook Without Thawing
Sometimes, the hospitality industry can be unpredictable. You and your team may have calculated just how many ingredients you’ll need for a typical day of service, but you may find that you don’t quite have enough.
With not enough time to try one of these thawing methods above, you can cook without thawing. The US Department of Agriculture states that this is a valid defrosting method.
If you opt for this method, you simply need to allow an additional half of the cooking time extra that the food may have taken to cook from fresh. For example, if your fresh burger patty typically took 20 minutes to cook, it now may require half an hour of cooking. Don’t forget to measure the internal temperature with a food thermometer before service.
Learn About Safe Defrosting Methods with TABC Pronto
When you purchase the food handlers certificate from TABC Pronto for $6.99, you can learn all about the best defrosting methods in a commercial kitchen.
The course content for the certificate also provides helpful information about temperature control, safe food handling, hygiene, and more. Why not sign up today and enter the food industry with confidence?