Ever since I became a SAHM and have been cooking and deep freezing food quite a bit, I have always wondered how long frozen cooked food can be safely eaten. I also always wonder if it is safe to wash meat (bought from the market) first before putting them into the freezer. Now that I am doing quite a bit of deep freezing of Baby’s food, I wonder if the cooked food can be thawed and refrozen without cooking. Again I did a Google search and found this information:
Technically freezing keeps food indefinitely. It won’t ever be dangerous to eat no matter how long it stays in the fridge however the quality diminishes. It gets freezer burnt and just isn’t tasty anymore. I would say six months tops. For meats I would invest in one of those new Handi-Vacs by Reynolds. They are about $8.99 at the grocery store and they vacuum seal your plastic bags. This will make your meats last even longer.
The following information source is from the Food Safety and Inspection Service, Consumer Education and Information, obtained from Yahoo Answers UK and Ireland:
Q. What foods can be frozen?
A. Almost any foods can be frozen. Some exceptions would be eggs in shells and cans of food. However, once the food is removed from the can, you may freeze it.
Q. How does freezing keep food safe?
A. Food stored constantly at 0°F will always be safe. Only the quality suffers with lengthy freezer storage. Freezing keeps food safe by slowing the movement of molecules, causing microbes to enter a dormant stage. Freezing preserves food for extended periods because it prevents the growth of microorganisms that cause both food spoilage and foodborne illness.
Q. Does freezing destroy bacteria and parasites?
A. Freezing to 0°F inactivates any microbes — bacteria, yeats, and molds — present in food. Once thawed, however, these microbes can again become active, multiplying under the right conditions to levels that can lead to foodborne illness. Thorough cooking will destroy bactera.
Trichina and other parasites can be destroyed by sub-zero freezing temperatures. However, very strict government-supervised conditions must be met. It is not recommended to rely on home freezing to destroy trichina. Thorough cooking will destroy all parasites.
Q. How can freezer burn be prevented?
A. Freezer burn is prevented through proper packaging. It is safe to freeze meat or poultry directly in its supermarket wrapping but this type of wrap is permeable to air. Unless you will be using the food in a month or two, overwrap these packages. Use airtight heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap or freezer paper, or place the package inside a plastic bag. Use these materials or airtight freezer containers to repackage family packs into smaller amounts or to freeze food from opened packages. If a package is torn or opened while in the freezer, it is still safe to use. Overwrap or rewrap it.
Q. How can quality of foods by retained when freezing them?
A. Foods frozen at the peak of their quality emerge tasting better than foods frozen near the end of their useful life. Store all foods at 0°F or lower to retain vitamin content, color, flavor, and texture.
Q. Should meat and poultry be rinsed before freezing?
A. No, it is not necessary to rinse meat and poultry before freezing.
Q. Can food thawed in the refrigerator be refrozen without cooking?
A. Yes, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through defrosting. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked foods. And if previously cooked foods are thawed in the refrigerator, you may refreeze the unused portion. If you purchase previously frozen meat, poultry or fish at a retail store, you can refreeze if it has been handled properly.