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Sassie1961's avatar

Refreeze canned tomatoes?

Asked by Sassie1961 (11points) July 25th, 2012

My electricity went out and my freezer defrosted my canned tomatoes Can I refreeze them

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11 Answers

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t understand, did you have a can of tomatoes in your freezer? Or did you have a can that you put into a plastic container and froze?

I don’t refreeze anything, once it thaws, I use it or toss it.

bookish1's avatar

Welcome to Fluther. I’d say it depends on how long they were thawed. And were they thawed completely?

YARNLADY's avatar

@rooeytoo Canning is the generic name for putting fruit and vegetables into containers for long term storage. They are usually boiled first, placed into sterilized containers and allowed to cool. The cooling down creates a vacuum to preserve the food The containers are glass, but the food is called canned.

rooeytoo's avatar

@YARNLADY – I guess I knew that, but I got confused about the freezing, are frozen foods referred to as being canned?

What do you think though about refreezing? I do it occasionally with leftovers but only for the dogs, not human consumption.

CWOTUS's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

If the tomatoes had never been warmed to room temperature after opening then I probably would at least consider freezing them. The big reason for not thawing and re-freezing most frozen vegetables is “loss of quality” of the “fresh-frozenness”. That is, flash-frozen vegetables that have been allowed to thaw and then re-freeze lose a lot of the qualities that we want in our frozen vegetables: a certain “fresh feel” when cooked. Since canned tomatoes never have that “fresh feel”, you don’t suffer the loss of quality. Who cares (or even notices) if a canned / frozen tomato feels a little soft?

But if they’ve been warmed to room temperature after opening (or, since the can / jar was likely already at room temperature when first opened, if they’ve been allowed to sit out for more than an hour or so after opening), then I’d toss them on principle, because of the potential for contamination while they were opened and left at room temperature. (Although tomatoes are less likely to have been fouled or contaminated in the first place because of their relatively high acid content.)

And if I have used them in cooking, then I don’t have a second thought about it: they can be frozen / refrozen indefinitely.

rooeytoo's avatar

@CWOTUS – so any bacteria that could gather while it was thawed can be killed by cooking?
Are you saying it is safe to use anything (such as contents of a bulging can) as long as you cook it first? I ask because this has always worried me and it is difficult to get a definitive answer.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would consider refreezing it if it wasn’t opened in the meantime. If already open, I would cook and eat.

CWOTUS's avatar

@rooeytoo re: bulging cans: NO! Those are inherently unsafe. That’s a botulinum toxin which often causes that (a toxic protein buildup as a result of bacterial action, not the bacterium itself), and not at all to be taken lightly. You’d also be unlikely to cook at a high enough temperature to denature the poison. If you have a “bulging” can and you’re not absolutely certain that the bulging isn’t from simple and ordinary mishandling (dropping the can on its side, for example) then don’t even open it. Just throw it away.

Otherwise, I generally follow @YARNLADY‘s simple and succinct advice: if it’s opened, cook it and eat it (or cook it and then refreeze the cooked product).

rooeytoo's avatar

@CWOTUS Thank you, I am a bit fanatical about cans that are in the least bit convex, so I should be safe.

hardyvon's avatar

I can my own tomatoes & froze it

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