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Jeruba's avatar

Will I really die if I use spaghetti sauce that has been frozen, reheated, and frozen again?

Asked by Jeruba (48711points) October 13th, 2011

Are there really any death certificates that list this as the cause of death?

Topics: food, spaghetti sauce, freezing, killer microbes, food safety, food superstitions

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

33 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

My mother always insisted that once a food item had been cooked and then frozen, it could only be thawed out once. Knowing that, I’ve tempted fate on many occasions and reheated already cooked food from the freezer and then returned a portion to the freezer or fridge. I’ve eaten those bits at later dates, and I’m still here to write about it.

No, you’re not going to die.

Since it’s an old wives tale, perhaps it pertains only to old wives.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I thought the frozen/thawed thing was because otherwise it would get chewy and less tasty, not because it would be harmful.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Aethelflaed : I’ve personally done this with spaghetti sauce and lived to tell the tale. It tasted fine.

zensky's avatar

I’ve never done it – there’s a certain fear factor indelibly ingrained I guess. But I have refrigerated spaghetti sauce after heating it – using it the next day. But never double freezing. For me it’s taboo – like double dipping.

Nimis's avatar

I’ve done it in my college days.
The results weren’t great.

Probably won’t die.
But definitely don’t recommend—especially if it contains meat.

YARNLADY's avatar

The quality is diminished, that is the only reason, other than the supplier is cheated out of selling a replacement.

augustlan's avatar

I highly doubt that you’ll die (you’ve probably already eaten by now… are you still with us? I certainly hope so!). That said, I’m pretty sure it’s not a great idea. It’s something about the fact that every time food sits at room-ish temperature, more bad stuff grows in the food. Repeated thawing/eating/freezing cycles means more bacteria, right?

creative1's avatar

You won’t die however you could end up with an issue that has you running to the bathroom frequently for a little bit from the bacteria that it has built up from freezing and unfreezing and freezing again. Just because something is frozen doesn’t mean it stops aging and going bad. Freezer items have a shelf life as well its just a lot longer than something in the refridgerator. So the bacteria is there already when it was originally froze ages then when you heated it up ate some, it built up even more at a quicker rate than frozen. So refreezing not only makes food taste not so good it has more bacteria that will continue to age in the freezer at a slower rate. I wouldn’t do it personally because I hate having the runs.

Nimis's avatar

I agree with @augustlan and @creative1
By results, I meant poop.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

No, that’s bullshit. If you reheat it well, to the boiling point, you can reuse it and freeze it as many times as you want. I do it all the time.

JilltheTooth's avatar

What @Adirondackwannabe said. It won’t even lose any flavor or have texture issues. Doing that with meat is not advised, but, again, if you cook it or heat it to a certain internal temp you will kill the nasties and it will be safe. The flavor and texture of meat (and poultry and fish) does change and not for the better.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it is fine. Not ideal, but I can’t imagine you will die from it. I doubt it will make you sick at all.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Heat it to a boil and you are fine. It will only get thicker and richer.
By the way, where I come from some folks make Apple jack by using the freeze- thaw technique. You are just doing it with sauce.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JilltheTooth I do it with meatballs and/or sausage in the sauce. As long as you take the time to heat it thoroughly it works fine and as worriedguy said, the flavors just get more intense.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe What I meant about the meat was meat that is intact; chicken breasts, pork chops, tilapia fillets, etc. Meat in sauce is different and can take the freeze thaw cycle very well.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@JilltheTooth Gotcha. I don’t usually like frozen meat of any kind. The only exception was the Omaha steaks we got as a gift on year.

wundayatta's avatar

No, but your spaghetti sauce will be dead. The food police will show up. And you will find yourself on some reality food show being made fun of.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

It’s probably not going to literally kill you… But death is a bad way to find out I’d say so therefore not worth the risk unless you have a state of the art freezer that is set to a deep freeze temprature that allows for germs and microbes to be killed off…

I wouldn’t risk it.

Coloma's avatar

Well..I’m whipping up a couple of scrambled eggs that expired 2 days ago on the 11th..sooo, maybe a double funeral on the horizon. If I’m not around the next few days, you’ve been warned. lol

JLeslie's avatar

Well, did you live?

JilltheTooth's avatar

Last I heard Seelix was still alive, we’re a pretty hardy bunch, we Jellies.

janbb's avatar

But, but, but – it was @Jeruba who asked the question! Is she still alive???

JilltheTooth's avatar

Just trying to keep hope alive! She’s on the left coast…we may not hear for a little while yet…Crap, now I’m required to worry. I was doing fine before that. Curse you, Tiny Penguin! BTW, how’s the new book?

janbb's avatar

It’s very cool! The main character has many tentacles – err, facets to his personality.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Wondering if it’s available for my nook… ;-)

JLeslie's avatar

Crap, now I feel like I put a jinx out there. Can everybody spit three times or something.

Jeruba's avatar

Worse than my worst fears, @wundayatta. Better the spaghetti sauce should settle my fate.

I asked the question when I refroze it and not when I was about to eat it, so I’m still here. I’m all for the excitement of life on the edge—but not that close to the edge. Just peeking over and waiting to see what you all said! Thank you.

Actually I combined some very good previously frozen sauce with a fresh jar, and there was enough left over to save, so what I froze contains about a 20–25% proportion of sauce that was previously frozen. My husband told me not to refreeze it. So did his mother’s ghost and my mother’s ghost. All our mothers probably followed the same lore. (Hence my tags.) But at least some part of me lives in the 21st century and doubts the old moms’ tales.

So this story won’t reach its conclusion until a time some weeks from now when I combine this portion with another saved portion, at which point it should be well diluted.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I will be perched on pins and needles for the coming weeks. Ow.

janbb's avatar

Sounds like sour dough starter!

Judi's avatar

According to the USDA
Refreezing
“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 3–4 days. Do not refreeze any foods left outside the refrigerator longer than 2 hours; 1 hour in temperatures above 90 °F.

If you purchase previously frozen meat, poultry or fish at a retail store, you can refreeze if it has been handled properly.”

Berserker's avatar

If it was that easy, everyone would be dead by now. XD

Nah, you’ll be fine. Might taste none too good though, but death isn’t invited.

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