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How to separate a small piece of frozen meat/veg when it is frozen in a giant block w/o defrosting the whole thing?


eugenep
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Hello, I googled an answer and it looks like people are defrosting the whole thing just to take apart a small piece and re-freezing the thing. 

 

I'm assuming this is bad for the food (defrosting and refreezing etc.).

 

So I just want to separate a smaller 1 lb piece out of a giant block of 5 lbs squid/meat etc. 

 

Can I do so without hacking at it with a knife? I'm using a hammer from my Stanley tool kit currently. It's difficult and dangerous etc. 


I can't freeze portions individually because it come in a giant block from costco etc. 

 

Thank you for reading. 

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You could try dropping it on a jagged or pointy rock set on a firm surface like a sidewalk/driveway. Surprised how easy my block of cod fillets broke apart. But this was a block the size of a shoebox. The plastic bin-type they were frozen in. Not sure if yours is similarly frozen. Worth a try. My block popped out of the bin easily. Then I placed it in a thick bag. 

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2 hours ago, eugenep said:

Can I do so without hacking at it with a knife? I'm using a hammer from my Stanley tool kit currently. It's difficult and dangerous etc. 

you might find a hack saw a much better tool. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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2 hours ago, Shelby said:

This is what I do, too.

This, plus the metal implement you use as the chisel should be warmed.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

you might find a hack saw a much better tool. 

My dad used to do that but then instead of "popping off" he ended up with mangled bits.

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Depends whether you want the individual bits intact or you want to treat it as "protein lump" or "vegetable matter"

If you only need blocks go with the hacksaw (get a proper stainless steel food grade one rather than one from the tool shed 😟)

 

If you place the block in the fridge (overnight?) until it temperature rises to just below freezing (but still frozen) you may be able to readily break it apart by dropping it or prying it. It may readily come apart. (you could do the same by putting it in an ice slurry but its doing to take a long time for the temperatures to equalize)

 

The basics for NOT refreezing is that originally the food will have some bacteria (all foods do unless pasteurized and handled in sterile conditions) and these pathogens multiply in rates directly related to temperature. Even at freezer temperatures, there is some increases. Its a numbers game.

These pathogens generally multiply at exponential rate so it important what the starting number is. Each refreeze increases the starting number.

 

So keeping the whole lot as cool as possible allows refreezing but note the resultant longevity in the freezer may be markedly reduced.

 

I would NEVER do this with raw chicken or offal products because of the types and numbers of pathogens present in these products.

 

If its squid and the individual squid are laid out evenly then the fridge method is the way to go as long as you don't let it get above freezing

 

Squid are slightly different in that their tissue contains a chemicals that break down with time (even in a freezer but it is slowed markedly in the freezer). This turns the squid pink and makes it fluorescent, if you like it is deteriorating and "rotting". It will taste off and smell unpleasant. It will cause skin irritation.

(just ask fisherman who use lots of squid for bait)

 

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@eugenep
As I understand it you are dealing with 5 pounds of whatever this is. You want to separate out 1 pound. Does that mean you are going to repeat whatever process you choose four more times? That might have quite an impact on your decision. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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You may have to bite the bullet.

Thaw in the fridge.  Cook what you need over two nights and for the rest cook it up probably using braise conditions then freeze that for later use.

Then vow to not fall for the Costco overbuying marketing. 🙃

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Not very difficult:

 

1. your freezer should be around 0 degrees F (-19 C). You should take the frozen block of food out and let it slowly get up to slightly below 32 F in the refrigerator compartment.

 

2. At this temperature below 32F, the food will still be frozen, but not rock-hard. Now use your hammer to break the icy block into pieces.

 

dcarch

 

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