Kitchen Tips - October 2008
Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2008
A frequently asked question is whether or not you can refreeze meat that has been thawed. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, food that has been properly thawed in the refrigerator is safe to refreeze in its raw state. Having said that, we need to caution that there is a reduction in quality due to moisture loss that results from the slow process of freezing that occurs in a home freezer. This causes large ice crystals to form which rupture the cell walls of the meat, permitting the release of juices during cooking. A second freeze-thaw cycle makes this problem worse, as the meat's liquid retaining capacity is further reduced, allowing even more moisture to escape from the meat as it cooks. So while it is perfectly safe to refreeze defrosted meat, we don't recommend it.
With grilling season still in full swing, we offer several tips for better grilling:
- Preheat the grill 15-25 min. before you start cooking to make sure it reaches the correct temperature.
- It is easier to remove debris from the grill grates while they are hot, so after preheating, use a long-handled wire grill brush to clean off charred debris from prior meals. Scrape again immediately after use.
- To prevent foods from sticking, oil the hot grill rack with a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel held with a long handled grill tongs. Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.
- Use a separate platter for raw and cooked food.
- Never baste with the marinating liquid unless it boiled after the meat has been removed.
- The best way to test food for doneness is to check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer.
- To test the grill temperature, place you open palm about 5" above the grill rack. The fire is high if you have to move your hand in 2 seconds, medium if you have to move your hand in 5 seconds and low if you have to move your hand in 10 seconds.
- Keep a squirt bottle of water near the grill to quickly douse flare-ups.
- Let cooked meats rest on a clean platter, tented with foil, for about 10 min. before carving so juices can redistribute evenly.
To easily seed a tomato, core the tomatoes and cut them into pieces. Spin the chopped tomatoes in the basket of a salad spinner until most of the seeds are released. Repeat the spinning process as necessary to remove excess seeds.