You can refreeze almost any thawed raw or cooked food as long as you handle thawing the right way. That includes raw meat, poultry, fish, and seafood. Frozen fruit, vegetables, breads, cakes and processed foods are also on the list of foods safe to refreeze.
But keep in mind that thawed food won’t have exactly the same delicious taste as fresh products. Some items, such as ice cream, undergo such weird changes that you shouldn’t even try refreezing.
If raw and cooked meat has not spoiled, you can refreeze it as long as you thawed the item in the refrigerator and not on the kitchen counter. Bacteria like food warm, and they grow rapidly at room temperature.
Don’t even think about thawing frozen meat, poultry, fish or seafood by leaving it on the counter. Ditto for thawing by running frozen food under warm tap water. Don’t refreeze raw meat or fish if you microwaved it or ran it under cold water to defrost. Frozen food that you defrosted by placing in cold water should be cooked immediately. Never refreeze it; that is just not safe.
Freezing and refreezing may change the food’s texture, taste and color. The process can reduce foods to mush or dry them out. Frozen food never seems to taste quite as good as fresh because the process ruptures some of the product’s cell walls. Refreezing a once-thawed item breaks down even more cells. The result is food that loses more of its integrity along with moisture and delicious taste.
The ideal would be to cook and use what you thawed, and then refreeze the cooked product. But life and interruptions happen. If you’ve thawed but don’t have time to cook food, it’s good to know you can return most items to the freezer. But think twice about refreezing
Grocery stores receive a lot of seafood, especially shrimp, frozen and then defrost the product for their display cases. Storing them in your home counts as a second freeze. If you have any doubts, ask your grocery store whether the item you’re buying is fresh or previously frozen.
Refrozen ice cream that partially melted on the kitchen counter will have a strange and icy texture if you try to refreeze it. Call it a milkshake and drink up as much as you want. Then toss the rest of the carton and move on.
Blended smoothies, like all fruit-based products, are a perfect home for fermentation, which occurs faster than you think.