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I blend up meals for a family member who has trouble swallowing, which are made partly of tinned beef curry, tinned lentil soup, olive oil, peas/broccoli, tinned beans, tinned tuna, tap water.

The blender is high powered and will partially warm/heat the ingredients, though they need further heating in a saucepan for eating.

My question is, how safe is it to freeze this? Should I cook it though, then cool it to freeze? How long would it last if it could be frozen.

Trying to cut down on blending each day, but food safety is the big concern here as I don't want to make them ill.

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There's really nothing to worry about. As long as it's safe when it goes into the freezer, and it's in a reasonably-sized container so it doesn't take forever to freeze, it's going to be safe when it comes out. Freezer storage limits are more about quality than safety; things can dry out or pick up odd flavors, especially if they're not well-sealed, but it'll be safe indefinitely.

I'm guessing you want to freeze it in reasonable serving sizes anyway, so you shouldn't have problems with container size.

You can do the cooking before freezing, or after as part of thawing, whichever works better for you. I'm guessing that cooking after would save a bit of time, and it also means it'll go into the freezer a bit cooler and freeze a little faster. But cooking before is totally fine too. All that really matters is that it doesn't spend more than a couple hours total in the danger zone (40-140F/4-60C), and you can accomplish that either way.

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It might be safer if you heat the mixture in a pan immediately after blending to above pasteurization temperature. Or you can simply take it to boiling. If you refer to USDA guidelines, pasteurization happens at:

160-170F (70-77C) for 15 seconds or longer

Some blenders would take it above these temperatures. It is best to heat/pasteurize before freezing, blend-heat-freeze-heat-eat rather than blend-freeze-heat-eat.

  • How long would it need to be blended to reach ~160°F (assuming a sufficiently powerful blender)? – Erica May 2 '17 at 16:52
  • It all depends on the blender and the temperature of your ingredients. Of course, majority blenders do not have have a heating function. – user110084 May 2 '17 at 18:43

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