The freezer is usually the smaller section of your refrigerator but freezing food is one of those food storage techniques that we think should be done more often. That’s because meat, when frozen completely and properly, can last for months for best results and will last indefinitely in extreme cases. All you have to do is make sure that you have wrapped it well and kept it completely frozen.
This makes those frozen ready-to-cook food packs perfect for last-minute meals that you didn’t get to plan. However, did you know that these frozen ready-to-cook food packs do not need to be thawed? In fact, some of these are best cooked when frozen. When thawed, these food are actually less likely to result in perfectly cooked food as compared to food that was cooked while still frozen.
How do you know when some frozen food needs to be thawed and some do not? Other than the package instructing you to cook the food from frozen, here’s another indicator: the food is already cooked.
Cooked food, or even par-cooked food, is the food that is the most in danger of overcooking and drying out when thawed. Since it’s already cooked, it has lost a lot of moisture that normally would keep it moist and tender. Cooking food while it’s still frozen will prevent this from happening.
Here’s what happens if you cook food from frozen: the food will quickly but gradually thaw whether it’s in hot oil or a simmering liquid. The outside will thaw faster than the inside and this will lead to the outside browning before the inside is cooked through. However, since the food is already cooked and you’re basically reheating and letting it turn golden brown, you don’t need to worry about the inside cooking through. You just need to cook it until the inside is heated through.
This is where timing and even your heat are critical. You need to regulate the heat so that the inside is thawed and heated through just right while the outside turns golden brown and crispy if you’re frying. To to do this, always remember to cook food from frozen using medium, never high, heat. Cook frozen food at too high a heat and you are in danger of having overcooked food since the outside will cook but the inside will still be cold.
Here is a list of food that you can cook from frozen (and some you should!):
- • Chicken nuggets, French fries, and other breaded frozen food
- • Siomai and other dumplings
- • Steaks
- • Fish fillets and seafood
- • Frozen mixed vegetables and other vegetables and fruits
- • Frozen bread
Did you forget to thaw raw meat but need to get food on the table soon? You can cook meat still frozen but note that you have to allot time for the food to thaw and then cook when you do.
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