On the back of my bag of frozen broccoli florets it emphatically warns me to not refreeze defrosted vegetables. Why is that? What is wrong with refreezing vegetables after leaving them defrosted for a couple of hours?

I couldn't figure it out through a Google search. Thanks a bunch :) The broccoli bag

  • They'll be a bit soggy but won't kill you. Make sure you bring up to a temp to kill the bacteria before refreezing though (cook them)
    – Gamora
    Nov 28, 2019 at 11:31

2 Answers 2


The problem is two fold.
First is that thawing and unthawing make more and more water to penetrate to "object" breaking the cells. IMO such food (meat or veggies) become woody in texture and making it less tasty (sometimes I would even say I taste the freezer ice not the food).

Second is more serious. Bacteria. There are some bacteria, especially in your freezer, that develop once the food is thawing (or when the temp rise above certain degree). Such bacteria cannot be killed by re-freezing so each time you add more to the food. Same bacteria might not be killed by cooking.

NOTE: a food that have been once defrozen then properly prepared (cooked) can be refrozen again.

  • I've never heard of bacteria specifically in the freezer. How do they contaminate the food if you keep it in a bag?
    – Tinuviel
    Nov 27, 2019 at 9:26
  • 1
    @Tinuviel Listeria is one of the more common bacteria. Also there is bacteria in the bag itself (if the food haven't been through UHT process). And bacteria on the bag (from where you buy it, when it sit on the counter etc). There are some bacterias that are dormant in room temperature but het active after they are frozen and unthawed. Nov 27, 2019 at 9:41
  • Thank you for the answer, I wasn't aware of that!
    – Tinuviel
    Nov 27, 2019 at 10:01

The number one reason is that the vegetables will start to fall apart, and thawing and refreezing them will destroy their texture. If you don't mind that, you don't really need to worry about it.

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