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The Do's and Don'ts of Thawing Meat

When I was at my friend’s house, I noticed she was thawing meat in a pan on her counter top. Is that safe?
The Do's and Don'ts of Thawing Meat

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No. Room-temperature thawing is not safe. Never leave ground beef or any perishable food out at room temperature for more than two hours. The safest place to thaw meat is in the refrigerator. Keeping meat cold while it is thawing helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Be sure to cook it or refreeze within one or two days. To defrost ground beef more rapidly, you can defrost it in the microwave oven or in cold water. If using the microwave, cook the ground beef immediately because some areas may begin to cook during the defrosting. To defrost in cold water, put the meat in a watertight plastic bag and submerge. Change the water every 30 minutes. Cook immediately. Do not refreeze raw ground meat thawed in cold water or in the microwave oven unless you cook it first.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Featured in  Food Wise March 2013 Newsletters (PDF)

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