HFG senior nutritionist Rose Carr answers your questions about frozen foods.
Q: "Every time I defrost meat to cook, ie. mince for lasagne, I wonder if I can then freeze the cooked food. I often have leftover portions from meals (especially when I make my kids food)."
A: Freezing leftover cooked food is a great way to eliminate waste and there is no reason not to do it, even when the meat has been thawed from frozen before cooking. Here are general guidelines to remember:
- It’s best not to refreeze thawed food.
- Meat thawed from frozen and then cooked is okay to be frozen.
- Cooked food and leftovers should only be frozen once.
- Cooked meat can be stored in the freezer for one to two months.
Q: “Do frozen veges contain more kilojoules than fresh veges?
No. Freezing does not change the energy content of food.
Q: “I have recently bought a freezer so that I can cook some meals ahead and freeze them. Do the meals have to be defrosted before I chuck them in the oven?”
A: It’s advisable to defrost meals before cooking as otherwise it will be difficult to ensure the food is adequately heated throughout. Heating without thawing first may mean part of the food spends longer in the danger zone (between 4°C and 60°C) than desirable.
A safe way to defrost food is in the fridge as the food remains within the safe zone the whole time. A quicker method is to defrost the food in cold water. Make sure the sink (orbowl) is clean, the food is in a leak-proof bag, and the water is clean and replaced regularly. And remember: keep the food in the safe zone (below 4°C).
More health, less cost: To reduce wastage, know how to store food effectively. Click here for more storage tips.