Can You Refreeze Frozen Vegetables – Is It Safe?
Everybody loves vegetables, right? At the very least, you probably want to keep them around for nutrition’s sake.
But you need to know what to do correctly when it comes to frozen vegetables because good food safety is the most important thing. You also have to pay attention to the storing process because, after all, we’re talking about making food last without sacrificing taste.
So, is it safe to refreeze frozen vegetables? Refreezing vegetables is safe. If the vegetables are adequately sealed and not already spoiled, there is no issue. However, this is not necessarily advisable for some vegetables. You must also be careful when storing so that you do not to risk your food’s safety.
People face unexpected blackouts all the time, and if this is the reason why you want to refreeze your food, do not be afraid. Once a freezer stops, the inside stays colder for a more extended period of time.
If your vegetables are not completely thawed, then you do not have a problem at all, you should directly refreeze it.
Technically, if your vegetables are partly frozen and still cold, you can refreeze them instantly. You should not worry. But if they are completely thawed and at the same time experienced a warmer surrounding, you should know exactly what to do.
Refreezing Vegetables – Concerns
Naturally, you will want to know about different aspects of vegetables and how they are affected by refreezing. Below we will go into refreezing and how it affects temperature and quality and address concerns about bacteria and ice crystals.
Refreezing and Temperature
As I said before, refreezing vegetables is safe, but there might be something that you must pay closer attention to first – the temperature.
You must check the temperature of your freezer, because a too low temperature can be as damaging for your vegetables’ quality as a high temperature is damaging for safety.
Refreezing and Bacteria
Bacteria (if there are any) cannot be destroyed in the freezer. That is the main reason why you need to be extremely careful where you will thaw the vegetables and which kitchen appliances will be used for the process.
Wash everything very well and make sure the food is not contaminated. If your vegetables are contaminated, refreezing will stop the development of bacteria, but the moment you decide to use it and re-thaw it, that bacteria will continue to grow.
Refreezing and Quality
Quality is another thing that might disappoint you when you refreeze vegetables.
For example, when water is frozen, its volume becomes bigger. Vegetables like any other food are made from cells. Inside those cells, there is a considerable large amount of water. So technically, when the vegetables are frozen, the water that is inside its cells becomes bigger.
Thus, the cells break, and the water drips.
That is the main reason why you need to use a lipped tray when defrosting food. The chance of that package leaking liquids is big, and if this happens, the quality of these vegetables becomes terrible.
You can be a little bit more creative in here and save the day because after all, even with damaged cells and additional moisture, the vegetables are still safe for consumption. You can make vegetable soup or simply cook the vegetables when adding them to a meal.
Do not cook them for a longer time than recommended. Do not use high heat and do not use sauces that can bring additional moisture.
Refreezing and Ice Crystals
Ice crystals appear on vegetables that have been thawed or that have begun their defrosting process. The moment these vegetables start their refreezing process, ice crystals start to appear around them.
Those ice crystals remove the original flavor and implement an icy texture. So, if this is the case for you, have in mind that ice crystals are likely to happen if you refreeze. The vegetables will still be safe for consumption, but their texture and flavor will suffer.
Packaging and Refreezing Vegetables
The only enemy when it comes to refreezing food is the air. If there is air present in the package that you use to refreeze, then the vegetables will dry out faster. Besides that, air can add an unpleasant odor and taste to refrozen vegetables.
That is the main reason why you have to choose freezer bags that are airtight. Also, remove the air out before you seal it. Straws can help you here without a doubt. With its help, you can suck out the last air present inside.
For those that refreeze vegetables all the time, we highly recommend a vacuum sealer like this one. Just be sure to read the directions as these can be tricky to use the first time around.
Never use the same package twice. That means that you need to throw away the first packaging that you used. Do not wrap the vegetables in the same thing you initially froze them.
Also, implement the date of freezing and refreezing on the package. This is how you are going to be able to use the vegetables that have been frozen for a longer time.
Common Situations That Prompt Refreezing
Even if you don’t plan on refreezing vegetables, there are times where you’re stuck needing to refreeze your food. Here are some common situations that might necessitate you refreeze vegetables and how to navigate them.
Loss of Power
These situations require not opening the freezer until you must. As I said before, if the doors on the freezer are closed, the cold temperature inside will remain unchanged for approximately two days. I know that this is unbelievable at first, but it is true.
If some of the vegetables are thawed after unexpected blackouts using an appliance thermometer is a must. This is how you are going to determine wheatear the food you want to refreeze is safe for consumption.
After your power comes back on, take the thermometer, and check the freezer temperature. If the temperature is still 40 degrees F or below, then your food can be refrozen without unwanted consequences.
Delayed When Coming Home
Coming back from the grocery store has never been more difficult due to traffic and traffic jams that can happen when you least expect them to.
This situation also brings thawed vegetables, and that is why we recommend an insulated cooler in your car. Just place the frozen vegetables there, and do not worry because they will indeed stay cold and frozen until you get home.
Changing Your Mind About Vegetables
Moisture loss is one of the things that occur when you refreeze some vegetables. The lack of moisture is the reason why some of the vegetables end up being without texture and taste.
Some people do not mind this, but others do. There is nothing wrong with consuming food that has lost its taste or texture, but we do not see the point in that.
We do not recommend refreezing vegetables that have been outside the freezer for more than 8 hours.
Also, we do not recommend refreezing vegetables that have been in contact with other ingredients.
For example, if your vegetables touched meat, fish, or meat juices, refreezing them becomes exceptionally unsafe. Here we recommend immediately cooking and consuming that vegetable.
Takeaway: Do Not Refreeze More Than Once
We do not recommend refreezing more than once because there is no point in eating vegetables that do not contain the proper nutrients your body needs. To be more precise, some vegetables will be affected more, and some just partly.
Here is a list that indicates which vegetables should and which vegetables shouldn’t be refrozen more than once:
|Safe (can be refrozen without loss in quality)||Unsafe (should not be refrozen, will lose quality)|
Throwing away or immediate consumption is not required when accidental or deliberate thawing od vegetables happens.
If you do not mind the mild consequences that come with refreezing and if you make sure the food is still safe and not contaminated, then you should refreeze it without worrying.
But in order to consume vegetables that are filled with nutrients, are not mushy and crystalized, you should not refreeze vegetables often.
Another thing that can benefit you is flash freezing your vegetables before refreezing. That is how you will be able to best maintain their texture, flavor, and nutritional content.
Frequently Asked Questions
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to refreezing vegetables. Here are some common related questions, in case you have any more burning queries about refreezing vegetables.
What Vegetables Should You Not Refreeze?
Remember, every vegetable is safe for refreezing, but not every vegetable comes out of that process suitable for consumption.
Vegetables like cabbage, cucumbers, celery, lettuce, asparagus, and endives should not be refrozen because their texture and flavor are unbearable after defrosting.
These vegetables become lip and water-logged. Besides that, they bring oxidized color and flavor, which will be unappetizing to most anyway.
What Vegetables Can You Refreeze?
As we said above, you can refreeze corn, peas, broccoli, carrots, spinach, kale without worry, because their quality won’t drastically change. You still are going to get the best out of it after cooking. Just remember to do that only once.
But no matter what, do not refreeze food more than once.
How Long Do Refrozen Vegetables Last?
Most vegetables do not lose their quality up to a year. Yes, the quality will decrease over time, but the nutrients will still be there.
After one year, however, the natural enzymes will eventually break down every cell inside, and the vegetable will lose its quality. If you like to eat blend vegetables with little nutritional value, you are good to go.
Can You Consume Two-Year-Old Refrozen Vegetables?
This question is related to the previous question, and the answer is no, you should not consume two-year-old vegetables that have been refrozen.
Vegetables that are refrozen for more than 365 days should be thrown away, because there is no point in consuming it. Even if you do not get sick, it will almost certainly have lost all of its quality by then.
Up Next: Can You Refreeze Frozen Fruit? – How To Do It Safely