Who doesn’t have a stash of frozen meals in their freezer? They come in handy when you don’t feel like cooking or don’t have the time to do so. That’s why I always pick up some extra meals when I’m grocery shopping.
However, you might end up in a situation where you need to make some space in your freezer for the other groceries or if your freezer isn’t working properly.
So, you might wonder: can frozen meals be refrigerated? And can you refreeze and reheat those meals?
That’s what we’ll tell you in today’s article! Keep on ready to find out everything you need to know about refrigerating frozen meals.
Can Frozen Meals Be Refrigerated?
The answer is yes! You can keep frozen meals in the refrigerator. However, there are a few things that you need to consider.
For starters, the taste, texture, and overall quality of the meal might change. Additionally, you can only leave the meal in the fridge for only 1–3 days.
After this period, the meal might be unsafe to eat. In fact, the food will be at risk of being contaminated with bacteria after 24 hours in the fridge.
Will the Meal Be Safe to Eat?
The problem with refrigerating frozen meals is that they’ll be susceptible to bacterial growth. That’s because the fridge is warmer than the freezer. Thus, the spoilage process might happen much quicker in the fridge.
Frozen meals last for ages in the freezer because bacteria can’t survive in such low temperatures. Additionally, the meals are designed and packaged to be stored in freezers.
In fact, frozen meals might last longer than their expiration date if you store them properly. However, when you put them in a fridge, the expiration date will be no longer valid. They’re likely to expire within two to three days in a fridge.
In case you live in a hot area or your fridge doesn’t work properly, they might not make it after one day in the fridge. So, to be safe, you should consume refrigerated frozen meals within the first 24 hours.
Important Things to Consider
Before putting your frozen meals in the fridge, there are a few crucial things you need to consider. Let’s talk about each one in detail.
Cooking Time Will Be Different
As you probably know, most microwave meals are designed to be cooked in a frozen state. You don’t wait for the meal to thaw before you put it in the oven or the microwave.
Therefore, the recommended cooking time for a meal is based on the fact that it’s frozen.
While cooking a refrigerated meal might save you some time, there’s no way of telling how long you should leave the meal in the microwave. You might end up with overcooked or undercooked food.
There’s No Going Back from Thawing
Once a microwave meal has been thawed in the fridge, you can’t refreeze it. You can either eat it within a day or discard it.
The Food Might Taste Different
Putting a frozen meal in the fridge might cause the overall quality of the food to decline. Therefore, the meal might taste different than you’re used to.
Additionally, there might be changes in the texture of the food. Usually, refrigerated food tends to be rubbery and chewy.
On top of that, you might lose some of the nutrients in the meal.
How to Tell If a Frozen Meal Has Gone Bad?
It’s always better to be safe than to be sorry. If you suspect that a frozen meal has gone bad, it’s not worth the risk!
That being said, here are some signs that mean your frozen meal isn’t safe anymore:
- Funky, or rancid odor
- The texture looks off
- The food tastes strange
- Any visible discoloration
So, can frozen meals be refrigerated?
The short answer is yes. However, you should only do this when it’s absolutely necessary. Frozen meals are designed to be stored in the freezer, so leaving them in the fridge might accelerate the spoilage process.
You should consume the refrigerated meal within the first 24 hours. After that, the food might be unsafe to eat.
Additionally, you should always check for any signs of spoilage, like weird odors or discolorations.