Is it safe to defrost foods out of the fridge? Can I reheat the glass containers directly?
I swear I'm a grow up, I just missed the cooking merit badge of motherhood!
I've learned a little bit about reheating, though trial and error, over the years.
I'm pretty casual about defrosting outside the fridge, but it's really not recommended.
Depening on the kind of food, I use three different techniques for reheating - if things are frozen into their containers, I usually just warm them hot water until they come loose.
I hope that helps. I think that reheating food is kind of a lost art, because of the microwave.
I don't freeze in glass but I would think you wouldn't want to put a glass dish directly from the freezer into a hot oven.
I have thawed cooked items on the counter just long enough that I can get them out of their container and transfer them to a different dish for the oven or stove top heating. The food was still frozen but I could slide it out of the container at that point.
I have put glass dishes from the refrigerator directly into the oven many times without a problem so maybe thaw your frozen item fully in the refrigerator if you want to heat it in that same glass dish.
I have seen tips about lining your glass dish with foil or plastic wrap before freezing your item and removing it from the dish when it is solid. http://www.thriftyfun.com/Freezing-Casseroles-1.html
Most cooked or prepared foods do not have to be thawed before heating. Food can be reheated in the oven to preserve its texture. Be careful not to put a cold glass container into a preheated oven, unless its manufacturer specifies that it is freezer to oven safe. For speedy reheating of products such as noodle casseroles, without excessive stirring, heat the food in a double boiler. Start with warm, not hot, water in the lower pan so the food will not stick. This prevents the casserole from becoming "mush". Cassseroles, soups, stews and leftovers should be heated to at least 165°F in the center prior to serving.
Products containing meat, fish, poultry, eggs or dairy products should be thawed in the refrigerator or in the microwave oven. These products could cause food poisoning if they stay at room temperature for more than 2 to 4 hours.
Precooked breads, cakes and cookies can be thawed at room temperature.
When our microwave broke and we decided not to replace I did have to learn how to reheat food on the stove or in the oven. It tastes better than microwave re-heating used to.
I agree about the taste! The one thing I do have a tendency to do is reheat things like roast potatoes in the oven, and then they're too dry. Otherwise, stove/oven reheating is much tastier than microwave reheating. I don't tend to end up with mush as often as I did with a microwave, either.
Please pardon my ignorance: what is freezer paper? Is it wax paper, or foil, or something that is new to me?
This thread is great. I don't use a microwave at all except for (rare) microwave popcorn because I believe it is healthier for my family that way, so it is good to learn more.
I don't have a microwave, either. Usually I try to store leftover sauces separate from the starch - then I can heat the sauce and add the starch at the end. With stuff frozen in glass, I defrost in the fridge & then heat in a pan.
If you freeze in glass, it's a good idea to let it warm a bit before popping it into a hot oven - 20-30 minutes at room temp is sufficient, and still safe from a food safety perspective. Pyrex is the best type of glass for this, as it can withstand sudden, variant temperature shifts.
Defrosting overnight in the fridge is the preferred method, with defrosting under cold running water (not a stagnant pool stopped up in the sink) being a close second. Leaving something on the counter for hours on end is not recommended.
I have two sets of Pyrex containers with rubber (?) lids that work great for this. I freeze cooked food in them. When I'm ready to eat them, I take off the lid and put the whole thing in a cold oven. I turn the oven to 350 and then let them warm up. I've never had a problem with it--works great! I wouldn't go straight from the freezer to a hot oven, but freezer to a cold oven works well.
Do you think I could find freezer paper and freezer tape near aluminum foil and plastic wrap at the grocery store? And what would I use it for exactly?