You may be tempted to throw the meat and its packaging into the microwave to defrost it. I know I’ve done it before. After all, it will save you a few extra minutes to do it that way and we all know the value of a minute these days.
But how safe is it really to do this and would it be better to use another microwave-safe dish to defrost your meat?
Avoid defrosting meat in its original packaging inside the microwave. The heat from the microwave may melt the Styrofoam or plastic wrapping, which may cause it to leak harmful chemicals into the meat. It’s best to remove the meat from the packaging and place it in a microwave-safe dish before defrosting.
Can you defrost meat in a ziploc bag in the microwave
It is safe to defrost meat in a Ziploc bag. But, there are a few things to keep in mind.
What is plastic made of?
Most Ziploc bags are made with Polyethylene plastic which are able to withstand the heat required to defrost food. This type of plastic will only start to melt at 195°F. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The bag will usually have a mark on it to indicate if it is safe for microwave use.
How to defrost meat using a Ziploc bag
To defrost the meat in a Ziploc bag, place it in a microwave-safe dish before selecting the defrost button on the microwave. Then, proceed to defrost the meat according to the total weight of the meat. For example, meat such as poultry, pork, or beef needs to be defrosted for eight to ten minutes per pound.
What if there is no defrost button?
In the event that your microwave does not have a defrost button, set the microwave to cook at 20% to 30% of its full power capability. This feature will alter the power level of the microwave, meaning that you won’t burn the plastic as it is not heating the food, but simply defrosting it.
Defrosting versus heating
Keep in mind that defrosting the meat and using the microwave to heat the food up, uses different power levels. It is therefore important to ensure that you are using the correct power level if your microwave does not have a defrost button.
The microwave should rotate the food during the thawing process to ensure that it thaws evenly throughout. If the microwave does not do this, stop the process half way through, open the microwave and rotate the meat before continuing. Uneven thawing is a big food safety concern as it may put food in the danger zone which may cause foodborne illnesses.
Can you defrost meat in a plastic bag in the microwave
According to a recent study heated plastic not only has a negative effect on your food but also on your body when you consume the food heated or defrosted in the plastic bag.
All plastic is not the same
Not all plastic is the same. The name plastic refers to a range of materials that have additional components added to it to either stabilize it or shape it. Ideally, you should aim for plastic that is phthalate-free and BPA-free.
However, there is a small exception to this rule. Some plastic bags may state on the packaging that the bags are “microwave safe”. Only if the manufacturer has provided this label may you consider the plastic safe to use in the microwave.
In such a case, you can safely defrost chicken, beef, or pork in a plastic bag in the microwave.
Alternatively, you can avoid using the microwave by placing the chicken inside the plastic bag and placing the bag in a container with cold water. This will prevent damage to the skin of the chicken and will also prevent chemicals from leaking into the meat.
Place the meat in the microwave and select either defrost or set the microwave to heat at 20% to 30% of its full capability. The meat should be defrosted, as previously stated, for eight to ten minutes per pound.
Can you defrost meat in a freezer bag in the microwave
This will depend on whether the bag is a genuine Ziploc freezer bag or a standard no-name brand freezer bag.
According to the Ziploc Manufacturer, Ziploc freezer bags are FDA approved for use in the microwave.
In either case, it is advised to check the manufacturer’s label to ensure that the bag is microwave safe. If it is, the bag will have a label on it stating that it is safe to use in the microwave.
How to defrost meat in a freezer bag
If the bag contains the label, you should proceed to put the bag and its contents on a “microwave safe” dish and defrost the meat on a low to medium setting. You can set the microwave for 30 second intervals and continuously check on the meat to ensure that it is not cooking on the ends of the packaging.
In addition, make sure that the bag is not sealed as this may cause steam to build up inside the bag. In addition, if the microwave does not rotate the food by itself, it’s best to rotate the meat during the 30 second intervals.
Furthermore, while the bags are, for the most part, microwave safe, you should still examine the bag throughout the thawing process to ensure that the plastic does not start to melt.
Always remember to rotate, flip, or break apart the meat every few minutes while defrosting.
Can you defrost something in a plastic bag in the microwave
Yes and no.
Again, the most crucial point about defrosting food, other than meat, in any plastic bag or container is to ensure that the plastic is microwave safe.
Once you have determined that it is safe to defrost in the plastic bag, you may proceed to put the bag on a “microwave safe” dish and defrost in short increments until the food has thawed. In addition, make sure you leave a vent for the steam to escape.