How to Safely Refreeze Pork

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Pork Chops. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Question: Can You Refreeze Pork?

If you thawed out some ham or a pork roast for dinner, but ended up making something else, or you simply have a lot of leftovers after a party, you may be wondering if it's safe to refreeze pork. Can uncooked pork be refrozen? What about cooked pork?

Answer:

Yes, if you thawed pork in the refrigerator, and can't use it right away, you can safely refreeze it, whether it's been cooked or not.

Just place it back in the freezer within a few days of thawing. It might be a touch drier when you go to use it (due to the second thawing and reheating), but it will still taste great. Just know that according to USDA guidelines, you should never refreeze meat that has been left out for more than two hours, one hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees. In fact, pork that has been left out for an extended period of time shouldn't be eaten at all. No one likes to throw out food, but it beats food poisoning any day.

How to Package Pork for Refreezing

Wrap your pork tightly in freezer paper or a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn, which happens when foods are exposed to air. If you use freezer bags, be sure to squeeze all the air out of the bag before you seal it. Then, label the packaging, so you don't forget what's inside. Everything starts to look the same once you toss it in the freezer.

Here are some free, printable freezer labels that you can use.

If you have a large amount of cooked pork to freeze (as sometimes happens after a party or get-together), consider dividing it into smaller portions before you freeze it. Individual servings or family meal-size servings are both handy to have on hand for busy days, and it's nice not to have to thaw out a huge amount of pork to gain access to a small amount.

Thawing and Using Refrozen Pork

Since your pork already spent some time in the fridge before you refroze it, it's best to have a plan for it before you pull it back out of the freezer. Try to use it as soon as it's thawed, so you don't put your family at risk for food-borne illness. While freezing foods stops bacteria activity; it doesn't kill bacteria. So, if the pork spent three days in your fridge the first go round and spends another three days in the fridge this go round, that adds up to lots of time for bacteria to grow and multiply.

To learn more about refreezing food, check out the USDA website:

USDA: Safe Food Handling

Also Check Out:

How to Package Meat for Freezing