It’s one of the toughest culinary decisions you ever have to make: Before work, you moved that nice piece of fish from the freezer to the fridge, but then a long Friday led to an even longer happy hour, which begat a drunken, impromptu shawarma dinner, and now you’ve returned home to a thawed piece of fish you most certainly don’t feel like cooking. You couldn’t possibly get away with re-freezing that fish and trying to eat it on another day, could you?
Well, none other than the New York Times says go for it, you crazy drunken maniac! According to their "Ask Well" column, the idea that you can’t re-freeze thawed food “is a myth,” says Tina Hanes, a registered dietitian with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. According to the NYT, “Any raw or cooked food that has been thawed can be refrozen as long as it was thawed properly—in the refrigerator, not on the counter—and hasn’t spoiled. That includes raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood, Ms. Hanes said.”
Yes, the answer can get a little more nuanced than that. Turns out thawing something “properly” might not be as easy as you think. For instance, “Thawing on the counter is not safe, period,” says Hanes. “You should never do that.” Hmmm… Turns out I’m lucky to be alive.