How to Thaw, Cook, and Cool Foods, at Safe Temperatures

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How to Thaw, Cook, and Cool Foods, at Safe Temperatures

Frozen foods should be thawed correctly, because there are harmful microorganisms, which will grow rapidly, at unsafe levels that can make us sick.

Those same microorganisms can be harmful in cooking your meat, poultry, seafood, egg, etc. If the internal cooking temperature does not reach a level safe enough to destroy them.

The same applies to cooling foods. If temperature is not taken from high to low, at safe levels that will prevent microorganisms from growing. Food borne illnesses are frequently caused, because of improper cooling.

Thawing Foods

Time is very important in thawing. For example, if you are thawing 5lbs of ground beef, you will need approximately 48 hours, where as a 20lb turkey will need 2 to 4 days in the best compact refrigerator.

You can also thaw in cold running water, at temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 degrees Celsius, or lower. You should never use this method, unless in emergency situations.

Microwave can also be use in thawing, but only if food is going to be cooked immediately. Thawing in the stainless steel microwave must be a part of the cooking process. Don’t ever thaw a roast or turkey, in the microwave. Avoid spilling juices, while thawing. When thawing in the microwave, put food in a container, because the juices from thawing can cause cross contamination.

Recommended Reading: Best Boning and Fillet Knives for Your Kitchen

Cooking Temperature

Raw food should be cooked to correct temperature. A chicken for example, with stuffing, must reach temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees Celsius, before it’s ready to be eaten. When checking temperature, always stick thermometer in the thickest part, to ensure correct temperature. Pork on the other hand, must be cooked to a temperature of 155 degrees Fahrenheit or 68 degrees Celsius. Microorganisms will be destroyed, if foods are cooked to correct temperature.

Cooling Food

Foods must be taken from a higher to lower temperature rapidly, to take it out of the danger zone. The maximum cooling time is 6 hours. Food should be taken from temperature 140 degrees Fahrenheit or 60 degrees 70 degrees Celsius within 2 hours, and from 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees Celsius, within the next 4 hours.

You should divide foods in small amount, then put in stainless steel three inch pans. Chill pans in the best chest freezer while cooking, so they will be ready to go. A roast must be cut in quarters (which conveniently makes it easy to place in your best roaster oven.

You can also use an ice bath. Put ice in a large container, place container with food on ice, stir frequently. Once food reaches temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 degrees Celsius, put in refrigerator. Avoid upper shelves, use bottom to prevent cross contamination. Don’t cover until fully cool. If you must cover, use plastic or parchment paper. Be sure to cut holes, to let warm air out. Let inspector, Hazard Analysis and Control Points. (HACCP) be your guide, when Thawing, Cooking, and Cooling food, and you will never have to deal with food borne illnesses.

While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!

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