But WHY shouldn't I ...

You all seem to be such proficient chefs. Well here is a place to share some of that cooking knowledge. Or do you have a cooking problem? Ask away. Jams and chutneys go here too.
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Rosendula
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But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134427Post Rosendula
Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:03 pm

This is one of those questions that I can only ask on Ish, because I'd feel stupid asking anywhere else at my age (37, getting older and proud of it).

When I was a teenager, my mother was out one Saturday so I made tea (that's an evening meal in these parts). Saturday was the only day we didn't have a cooked meal, but bought an uncut loaf from Skeltons* and had that, sliced with cooked meat on. So that's what I did, and on this particular day we had chicken in the fridge. I cut the bread as straight as I could in order to avoid the criticisms and complaints that came with 'door stops', and put the chicken on, then placed them on the hob and covered them with tea towels ready for when everyone got home. I didn't fancy chicken, so I put myself a pastie in the oven. Anyway, my mother gets home and sees what I have done and went absolutely ape at me! I'd had the oven on with cooked meat on the top and now she was suddenly yelling at me that I'm stupid and that you can't reheat cooked meat and she has to throw it all away now and I've wasted all that food! For once I actually tried to stick up for myself and said I was sorry but I just didn't know that. She replied by yelling at me that 'everyone knows that'. I tried again, telling her I was sorry, but no-one had ever told me, the answer to which was that 'everyone knows that. It's common sense.' So after that performance, I didn't dare reheat anything, or refreeze anything.

Now, of course, I'm trying to be Ish and decided a year ago that I wasn't buying any more ready meals and I would make my own from left overs, or by cooking extra at meal times. That meant I had to learn the rules:
  • you can freeze fresh meat once, but once thawed you can't re-freeze,
  • you can cook the meat then freeze it, but once thawed you can't re-freeze it,
  • after you have cooked meat, you can reheat it once, but never again.
That's right, isn't it???
I'm happy to stick to the rules, but I want to know WHY?
WHY can't I refreeze? WHY can't I reheat more than once?
I would have thought that reheating would kill any germs, so what's the problem?

Please can one of you wonderful people clear this up for me?

Thanks :thumbleft:

*Another little story attached to the bread from Skellies: my mother used to always ask for a 'cob', meaning one of the round loaves. Then, my sister got a job in Skeltons when she left school and told my mother that the proper name for the round loaf is 'fadge'. From that day onwards, for about 20 years until the shop shut, my mother went in Skeltons every Saturday and asked for a 'fadge'. :sign5:
Rosey xx

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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134439Post becks77
Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:56 pm

Basically the thaw and no cook process gives all those nasty bugs ample opportunity to multiply and give the next unsuspecting sole the worst tummy upset ever.
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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134444Post Rosendula
Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:28 pm

Thanks Becks. But why can't I reheat? Doesn't that kill the nasty bugs?
Rosey xx

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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134447Post mamos
Tue Dec 16, 2008 1:48 pm

I don't understand either

For decades I have been re-heating meat such as chicken

I would have a roast one day, then use the left over meat to make a chicken curry and finally boil up the carcass to make a stew

I can understand that you shouldn't re-warm most foods but cooking them again is fine.

Apparently, one of the worse culprits for food poisoning is next days rice

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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134453Post invisiblepiper
Tue Dec 16, 2008 2:26 pm

Your rules are the advisory ones - I break the reheat one PROVIDING that the food is really really hot - and I aint dead yet.
Um - what does fadge mean???? :?
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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134454Post red
Tue Dec 16, 2008 2:30 pm

you can of course refreeze food.. nothing in the process of being frozen twice makes it inedible. but all the time it is not frozen - ie whilst it is getting down to temperature, and whilst it is thawing, it is effectively using up its time.

if you kept thawing and refreezing it, all the time it is warmer than frozen, it is slowly aging. if you keep doing it you will eventually end up with bad food. So shops tell everyone not to refreeze, to cover their backs. But I will often refreeze something, so long as it has not been hanging around, was kept cool, and i make a note on it so we dont repeat

you have to use logic. if you kept the item in the fridge whilst it was thawing, etc, then its as good as just sitting in the fridge - if you would eat something that has sat for three days in the fridge, then you can eat something that has thawed, refrozen and thawed again, so long as it was kept cool all the time. If you recook the meat, then the clock starts again..

the thing about warming food, is that provides the temperature for the bugs to thrive and multiply like mad. this is why shops will sell you a cold pasty or a rip roaringly hot one - cold has been kept cold to keep bugs at bay, hot kills it all off. I would shy away from meat or fish that has been kept warm. so no harm in taking left over cooked meat and making a new hot dish. i do this all the time.. left over roast lamb is tomorrow's hot pot., I would nuke cold meat in the micro until hot, or eat it cold, but putting the lamb on a plate and keeping it warm...nope.

sounds like your mum wasn't very helpful.. perhaps didn't really know why herself
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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134477Post Rosendula
Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:30 pm

Thanks for your help everyone. :cheers:
invisiblepiper wrote: Um - what does fadge mean???? :?
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=fadge
:oops:
Rosey xx

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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134478Post Millymollymandy
Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:41 pm

OMG I thought you meant the round loaf really was called that! :lol:

Well I make chilli or spag bol and it sits in the saucepan out in the kitchen all the next day then gets heated up again the next night. Any leftovers (after eating it for 2 nights in a row) get put in the freezer but not until it is cool the next day. I've never had food poisoning in my life - my rules are:

Reheat cooked meat thoroughly
I don't refreeze meat (didn't know that Red) but will freeze a cooked dish made from previously frozen meat (which is OK)
I do refreeze non meat things occasionally such as when I've defrosted too many cooked peeled chestnuts so I'll put them back in the freezer.
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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134499Post The Riff-Raff Element
Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:59 pm

I wrote a blog post a while ago about workhouse soup(http://vendeeblog.net/?p=239), which is meat based and is cooked / chilled (which in our house in winter means left on the stove with a lid on :shock: ) about six times before the pan is finally de-gunked. All I do is boil it up for a minimum of 10 minutes and have yet to catch anything.

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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134501Post becks77
Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:15 pm

Hi Rosendula,
The reheat will kill the bugs but some :flower: bugs produce toxins which are responsible for the sickness that may occur,
HTH
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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134502Post becks77
Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:19 pm

Oh yes you are right rice can be horrid the bug responsible is Bacillus cereus
Not a nice one
:flower:
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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134516Post Shirley
Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:04 pm

becks77 wrote:Oh yes you are right rice can be horrid the bug responsible is Bacillus cereus
Not a nice one
:flower:
pasta too!
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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134520Post Nomada
Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:22 pm

Does any of it have anything to do with food getting freezer burnt? I've nerver really thought about it much to be honest. One thing I will say though, my grandfather died five weeks short of 100 and he made one big batch of chicken and vegetable curried stew a week, which sat in a giant pan on the stove, never refrigerated, being reheated and coooled and reheated and cooled umpteen times until it was all gone, so it can't be that bad. He was never sick!
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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134524Post Rosendula
Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:35 pm

OK, so here's a scenario,
I put some fresh sausage meat in the freezer for a few days until I'm ready to use it.
I then take it out and allow it to thaw before making it into sausage rolls for my sausage roll adicted OH.
Cooking them makes them OK to eat.
But I've made extra to freeze for Christmas, so they go in the freezer.
At Christmas, out they come. They're already cooked.
Am I right in thinking that you are saying don't eat these sausage rolls now. Heat them up to really, really hot before eating them?

I think I have at some point in the past not done this final baking of the microbes, and everyone survived. Perhaps that was down to luck.
:flower:
Rosey xx

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Re: But WHY shouldn't I ...

Post: # 134527Post Annpan
Tue Dec 16, 2008 9:48 pm

You can heat them up to piping hot and eat them. You have cooked the meat once and frozen it? you can re-heat things safely once.... but yes, you should heat till scalding hot everytime.

I think Red has the right idea, that it has more to do with the amount of time all this defrosting and re-freezing takes.


Your Mum is clearly a loon (like you need told :roll: ) you can cook/ re-heat cold meats.... think ham and cheese toastie. Just don't do it over and over.


Time to declare all the other mad things your mum has told you over the years.
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