"Before running out for fast food or ordering a pizza, remember that you have several ways to defrost meat safely," said Kathy Walsten, nutrition educator with Kansas State University Research and Extension.
Thawing meat on the counter or in the sink is not one of those methods, she added. Instead, the safe approaches are:
"Immediately after thawing, you must completely cook meat defrosted in the microwave oven," Walsten warned. "Thawing meat in the microwave starts the cooking process, but doesn't cook the meat long enough to destroy bacteria. So, don't hold the meat over for cooking later."
"You need to change the cold water approximately every 30 minutes, so the meat continues to defrost safely," nutritionist said. "The amount of time the meat requires to thaw depends on its size. A 1 pound package of meat may take one hour or less, while a 3 to 4 pound piece may need up to three hours to defrost."
"Again, the amount of time necessary to defrost the meat depends on the size of the frozen piece. Ground meat, cubed meat and steaks may thaw in a day," Walsten said. "Larger pieces, such as roasts. may take up to two days to defrost in the refrigerator."
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