Read This Before Thawing Something On Your Countertop Again

After everyone became adults and had to learn to cook for themselves, folks began to understand on a much deeper level why their parents would lose their cool when they arrived home and the meat they were making for dinner wasn't defrosted. Not having the meat defrosted in a timely manner would delay dinnertime and cause moms, dads, and guardians everywhere to give that dreaded look of disappointment to their kids. 

There are several ways that folks use to defrost meat — from dunking it underwater to nuking it in the microwave to leaving it out on the counter to defrost. While some are considered to be on the safer side of defrosting, there is one popular technique that folks should really steer clear of. According to Bon Appétit, the most dangerous way to defrost any kind of chicken, pork, beef, or seafood is by leaving it out on the kitchen countertop to defrost. But what exactly makes this form of defrosting so unsafe?

Defrosting on the countertop could lead to bacterial growth on the meat

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it's best to plan ahead when you're looking to defrost any perishable item. Why is that? Well, the USDA details that leaving a perishable item out for longer than two hours at room temperature puts it into a "danger zone." This zone, Wide Open Eats explains, is reached when food hits temperatures of 40 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, often leading to a very quick rise in bacterial growth. The publication also explains how any bacteria that was present prior to freezing can become reactivated and multiply. 

When meat or perishable items are left out on the counter, the item also becomes susceptible to the fluctuation of temperatures (this is the same reason CBC states you shouldn't put things like milk and eggs in your refrigerator doors). Kitchn reports that normally home temperatures fall right smack in the middle of the "danger zone" temperatures, causing all the bacteria to multiply. So, how should you ideally defrost meat and other perishable items? The Daily Meal recommends defrosting it in the fridge or submerged under cold water that's changed out every 30 minutes.