Although the ideal is always to defrost meat, vegetables and other foods in the fridge, sometimes there is not enough time to do this. Luckily, there are a few different ways to speed up the process without increasing the risk of bacterial growth - which is the main problem associated with these tactics. You can: use cold or warm water with the meat (although lukewarm is a little riskier); microwave vegetables, thicker cuts of meat, pasta and fruits; or even use the oven to defrost bread and pasta. Read the tips below and find out more!
Method 1 of 4: Thawing Food in Ice Water
Step 1. Place food in a zip lock bag
Open the freezer door with the bag in hand. Place the frozen food inside, fitting tightly so that no part is left out. If necessary, use more than one bag or bag to repeat the process several times at the same time. Do not take the products to the kitchen counter, as it may contain bacteria that end up causing contamination.
- You won't need to do this if you've frozen the food in a zip lock bag (which is more ideal). On the other hand, if you have wrapped the product in aluminum foil, remove everything before starting.
- This method is faster than defrosting in the refrigerator and safer than using hot water.
this method is drop and drop for meat or dishes that you need to heat up, but it is not suitable for products such as cheese, bread and pasta.
Step 2. Place the bag in a large bowl and add cold tap water
Take a glass or metal bowl from the closet. It should be big enough for the food to be completely submerged. Then, place the product at the bottom and turn the faucet into the cold water until all the space is filled.
Depending on the case, wait a few seconds until the water starts to come out cold from the tap
Step 3. Thaw the food for two or three hours
After filling the bowl with water, place it on the counter. The size, type and density of the food will determine how long the process takes. For example: a package of meat weighing 1.5 to 2 kg takes two or three hours, but smaller packages take an hour or even less. Finally, be prepared to wait until noon if the product is too big.
- In general, the easiest way to find out if a small food is thawed is to touch it and see if it's soft. If the product is too large, it is probably also frozen in the center. Therefore, this method is not recommended in these cases.
- If food is floating in water, use a spoon or spatula to sink it into the bowl.
Step 4. Change the water every 30 minutes to keep it from getting hot
The purpose of the thawing process with ice water is to leave the liquid at a temperature below room temperature, which prevents the proliferation of bacteria. To keep the water below 4°C, change it every 30 minutes.
Cook the food right after it is completely defrosted
Method 2 of 4: Putting Food in the Microwave
Step 1. Place food on a microwaveable plate
Take the food out of its packaging and place it on a plate or other unpainted glass or ceramic container, which is ideal for microwave use. Do not use anything made of plastic or Styrofoam. Also, the container must be larger than the product itself.
- This method is ideal for products such as bread, frozen noodles, broths, stews, fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, it's not so recommended for meat, which doesn't tend to defrost as well in the microwave.
- If you're not sure you can put the dish in your hand in the microwave, turn it upside down and see if there's a three wavy line symbol (which indicates it can go inside). Perhaps there is also a written statement.
- You can defrost meat in the microwave as long as it is less than 900g.
never put anything in the microwave wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic bags and bags. In addition to spoiling the food, you run the risk of causing an explosion in the oven.
Step 2. Use the defrost function according to the weight of the food
If the microwave has a button made specifically for the food you want to defrost, press "Defrost" and that particular button and enter the weight of the product. When the oven is half full, it will stop automatically. At this point, turn the product on the plate.
For example: if your microwave has the "Chicken" button and you want to defrost 700 g of steak, place the dish in the oven and press the button. Then type "700" (or "0.7" in kg) into the panel and press the home button. When the microwave stops, turn the meat upside down with a spatula or tongs and use the start button again
Step 3. Heat foods that do not have specific buttons to 50% power
In general, when it comes to foods that don't have specific buttons, it's best to only use half the microwave power. Press the power button and make appropriate adjustments. Then place the dish in the oven and heat it up to 50% power for two or three minutes - depending on the size and thickness of the product.
- For example, broccoli and spinach take two minutes, while cucumber and potatoes take three or more.
- This process works on a trial and error basis. You need to pay attention to the food when turning it or separating its parts in the microwave until you are sure that everything is thawed.
Step 4. Separate foods that do not have specific buttons after two or three minutes
After the first microwave cycle, open the microwave door and separate or shred the food into pieces with a fork, spoon or spatula. As the oven heats any product unevenly (going faster in some regions and slower in others), you need to do this separation after a few minutes to avoid problems.
For example, if you want to defrost vegetables or pasta, separate them with the tip of a fork. Just be careful, as some of the product could end up flying away from the plate
Step 5. Heat foods that do not have specific buttons with 30% power
When you separate the food on the plate, use your fork, spoon or spatula to see how much is still frozen. If the surface is still solid, turn on the microwave for another three minutes. If it is almost all soft, heat the product for one minute with 30% power.
Cook the food right after defrosting it in the microwave
Method 3 of 4: Thawing Pasta in the Oven
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 165 ºC and prepare a baking sheet
Take a baking sheet with edges from the cabinet and preheat the oven to 165ºC. You don't need to use any other temperature for different types of dough.
- You can even defrost doughs in the microwave, but they will soak up the melted ice crystals and become soggy.
- This method does not always work with doughs that have a filling, such as pies or doughnuts.
covering the baking sheet with aluminum foil is not mandatory, but it is still interesting - especially if you apply a cooking spray to the dough and container, which prevents the product from sticking to the surface.
Step 2. Heat loaf bread for 15 to 30 minutes depending on size
Place the whole loaf of bread on the baking sheet. If it's too big, bake for 25 to 30 minutes. If it's smaller and thinner, count for 15 to 20 minutes. Then take off the product and cut it as you like.
You don't need to place the bread in the microwave before taking it to the oven. Only use the microwave even with smaller loaves that are a little hard (sleeping, for example)
Step 3. Place cut pasta in microwave at high temperature
Take a microwaveable dish (unpainted glass or ceramic) and spread the pieces of pie or other dough on it. Then microwave for 15 to 25 seconds - depending on the number of items you want to defrost.
- You can skip this step if you want to toast the dough. In this case, take the product straight to the oven.
- The microwave makes the dough absorb some of the ice, which makes it softer. You don't need to do this with loaf bread and other such products.
Step 4. Bake bread or other small dough for five minutes at 165 °C
After placing the dough cut into pieces in the microwave, transfer it to the baking sheet. Create a layer with these products face down or keep all the pieces right next to each other. Finally, turn on the oven for five minutes at 165 ºC.
- Even if the product is not cut into pieces, you can use this method with other small types of dough: muffins, croissants, etc.
- Wear a kitchen glove when taking the pan out of the oven.
Method 4 of 4: Thawing Meat with Hot Water
Step 1. Fill a large bowl with hot water
Take a large glass or ceramic bowl from the cupboard. Turn on the sink's hot faucet and, if necessary, wait until its temperature rises. After a while, use a thermometer to see if the water is passing 50ºC. If so, you can continue. If not, transfer the liquid to a pan and heat it on the stove until everything is in order. Finally, put the water back into the original container.
This is the riskiest method of all, as there is a possibility that bacteria will proliferate on meat surfaces when the water is getting cold. However, you won't have any problems if you follow the tips to the letter. The first one is to keep the water above 38°C. Stir the bowl with a spoon from time to time to prevent colder water pockets from forming
this method is recommended for thinner cuts of meat, between 900 g and 1.3 kg, and needing up to 15 minutes to thaw. Thicker meat takes much longer than that, which ends up creating an environment conducive to the proliferation of bacteria.
Step 2. Place the meat in a zip lock bag
If you've already stored the meat in a zip lock bag (or other airtight bag), you don't need to change that package. If you've used aluminum or vegetable paper, make the transfer even before taking the food out of the freezer - without even taking it to the counter.
- You need to transfer the meat to the zip lock bag still inside the freezer to avoid the risk of room temperature air invading the material.
- Try to remove as much air as possible from the bag before closing it. Since you're going to dip the meat in the water, any such bubble can make it float.
Step 3. Dip the meat into the water and sink it with a perforated spoon
Put the zip lock bag in the water and sink it using a perforated spoon. If the bag is floating, open it slightly and squeeze from the base to remove excess air. Then close it again.
Step 4. Stir the water with the spoon and monitor the temperature
Use the perforated spoon to slowly stir the water on top of the bag. Since the meat is frozen, it will make the surrounding liquid cooler - but without affecting it elsewhere in the container. Therefore, stir the spoon to better distribute the hot water. Use the thermometer to measure the temperature every one to two minutes.
This spoon movement also speeds up the defrosting process, which is essential for meat
Step 5. Add more water to bring the bowl above 38°C
As you move, keep monitoring the temperature. If it drops below 38°C, add more hot water. Repeat this process until most of the liquid has been changed and the container returns to 50°C. Again, this prevents the growth of bacteria in the meat.
Depending on the thickness of the meat and the temperature of the tap, you may have to change the water two or three times
Step 6. Remove the meat after ten to 15 minutes and cook it immediately
Once the meat is defrosted, transfer it from the bowl to the oven, microwave or stove as soon as possible. In the case of fillet, wings or chicken breast, the entire process should take ten to 15 minutes.
You can lift the meat to the surface of the bowl with the pierced spoon and lightly touch it. If it's soft, it's time to prepare
- The best way to defrost food is to leave it in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours.
- It is possible to prepare many foods that are still frozen, including meat, cheese and pasta. You won't be able to season the meat normally, but you can do it later. In this case, increase the cooking time of the recipe by 50%.
- Cut breads and other doughs before freezing! This facilitates the entire defrosting.