Is it safe to thaw meat with hot water?

February 18, 2024 | 05:43 pm PT
My family often stores a lot of frozen meat and fish. Is it safe to thaw these foods with hot water, and will their nutrients be preserved if I do so? (Thuong, 22, Nghe An)


Freezing is an effective method for preserving food. However, improper thawing methods, such as using hot water, can lead to spoilage, nutrient loss, altered taste, and degradation of food quality.

Thawing frozen meat and fish with hot water specifically can cause overcooking, nutrient loss, diminished flavor, and spoilage. Furthermore, hot water often only thaws the outer layer of the food, leaving the inside frozen and potentially unhygienic.

For your safety, it is recommended to thaw frozen food slowly by transferring it from the freezer to the refrigerator compartment. Alternatively, you can thaw food naturally at room temperature. It is crucial to use the food immediately after thawing.

Frozen raw fish slices. Illustration photo by Freepik

Frozen raw fish slices. Illustration photo by Freepik

Another recommended thawing method involves adding salt and vinegar to water, stirring well until the solution is completely dissolved. Although this method requires time, it ensures that the food thaws safely and remains delicious.

In situations where quick thawing is necessary, using a microwave or submerging the tightly wrapped food in a bowl of cold water can be effective.

It is important to remember that once food has been thawed, it should not be refrozen, even if fully cooked, to avoid the risk of bacterial contamination, nutrient loss, and food poisoning. Additionally, avoid freezing foods for extended periods to prevent potential negative health effects.

Dr. Nguyen Duy Thinh

Institute of Food Technology and Biotechnology, Hanoi University of Science and Technology

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