Refreezing thawed food, and other questions


Here are edited excerpts from a recent online chat:

Q: Is it okay to refreeze meat or fish after they have been thawed? I am concerned about the health risks.

A: Yes, but only if you've thawed them in the refrigerator. A little more from the USDA:

"Once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked foods.

If previously cooked foods are thawed in the refrigerator, you may refreeze the unused portion. Freeze leftovers within three to four days. Do not refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than two hours; one hour in temperatures above 90 degrees."

If you buy previously frozen meat, poultry or fish at a retail store, you can refreeze if it has been handled properly. -- Becky Krystal

Q:What's the difference between Greek feta and French feta? I've noticed a lot more places lately specifying "French feta" instead of just feta.

A:French feta typically is milder and creamier than the Greek kind, which is tangy and salty. Greek feta can also have two types of milk (sheep and goat) vs. the French version, which usually is made with just sheep's milk. -- Tim Carman

Q:In my last few community-supported agriculture (CSA) boxes, I've received some small (four-inch diameter) squashes that are flat-ish, resemble the gourds displayed around this time of year, and have green, white, and orange speckled patterns on them (but mostly white). I suppose I'm meant to eat these, but I've just been using them as decorations because I don't know what they are! Any guesses as to how I can cook them?

A:Cut off the tops, scoop/scrape out the seeds, stuff them with a soup or grain mixture or the like, and roast at 350 degrees until the filling is hot and the pumpkin flesh is tender. -- Joe Yonan


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