• By Micah Dorfner

Freezer Cooking is Convenient, But Make Sure it’s Safe

March 10, 2015

chicken crock pot freezer meals for slow cookingIn today’s fast-paced society it can be difficult to find time to prepare a healthy, home-cooked meal. For a lot of us, we try to avoid the fast-food solution in an attempt to stay healthy. That’s where batch cooking and doubling recipes — also known as freezer cooking — comes into play.

Julie Howard, M.D., a family physician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Tomah, says, "Freezer cooking can be an effective means of creating quick, easy, healthy meals down the road. However, it’s important to make sure you’re well aware of the health risks involved with improper food storage."

Dr. Howard shares food safety tips to remember when freezer cooking:

  1. Let food cool before storage. A lot of us like to clean up the mess left over from a meal right away. So, the tendency is to put our leftovers in a container and directly into the refrigerator. It’s important to let the food cool before storing it in the refrigerator. This keeps the temperature inside the refrigerator from rising. Also, be sure to allow the air to circulate around your food for 20 to 30 minutes — aiding in the cooling process.
  2. Cool foods before freezing. Make sure to cool your food to refrigerator temperature before freezing it. Loosely cover the food in the refrigerator to allow any residual heat to escape.
  3. Use freezer containers/bags. It’s essential to use freezer bags and containers when freezing food. These are obviously designed for freezer use, so they’re thicker, and they keep food fresh longer. Be sure to remove as much air from the bag as possible, and try to freeze food in a thin, flattened form as this will help with storage and thawing.frozen meat wrapped in plastic
  4. Remember to label. Using freezer tape, gummed freezer labels or permanent marker, label all foods you freeze. Be sure to include the name of the food, packaging date, serving size/amount and special ingredients.
  5. Thaw properly. It’s essential to avoid thawing your food at room temperature. When foods are left out at room temperature too long, bacteria form. Those bacteria produce heat-resistant toxins that can cause food-borne illnesses. You must plan ahead so that you can thaw properly. Safe thawing is a slow process. Five pounds of food can take up to 24 hours to thaw in the refrigerator. In crunch situations, you can thaw in the microwave, but refrigerator thawing is the healthiest option.

“Improper thawing of food can cause many stomach ailments, including food poisoning,” adds Dr. Howard.

Our busy lives can make it feel impossible to find the time to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals. Freezer cooking is a great option, as long as the proper food safety procedures are followed.

I do understand the reasoning behind not having clocks in the waiting rooms, more because they are always wrong and if they are off by 2 minutes patients start getting angry about being seen late…..but we could really use more clocks around the clinic in the hallways and open areas people mill around in waiting between appointments. Not everyone has a cellphone, and the clinic really drains your battery life so half of their phones are probably dead by midafternoon anyway.

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This doesn't answer the question, which asks about how often the equipment is serviced, not cleaned. How often is the equipment in the lactation rooms serviced/changed out? I wonder if the pumps are being overused and are therefore not as effective for expressing breast milk. Environmental Services is responsible for daily cleaning of breast pumps in lactation rooms at all sites. Cleaning in-between uses is the responsibility of individual users. Learn more about lactation rooms, resources and policies.

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Please don't start questioning the PTO awards we have in Rochester as unfair… the last times this questioning occurred we lost out STD benefit of 16 hours, and then lost our ability to wear jeans on second shift in the labs…

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@amandajacobson

Please don't start questioning the PTO awards we have in Rochester as unfair… the last times this questioning occurred we lost out STD benefit of 16 hours, and then lost our ability to wear jeans on second shift in the labs…

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A few yrs back Mayo EC employees lost our straight night bonus because they said Rochester did not have it. I wonder why its ok for you to keep valued benefits we don't have the opportunity to enjoy but ours was taken away due to your facility not having it? Honest question.

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@amandajacobson

Please don't start questioning the PTO awards we have in Rochester as unfair… the last times this questioning occurred we lost out STD benefit of 16 hours, and then lost our ability to wear jeans on second shift in the labs…

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Life isn't fair. RST may have some benefits that other sites don't have; we invite other to tell us about their parking privileges… I appreciate the effort to synchronize things across the institution – but I really do agree with the answer: There is something to be said for each locations culture and heritage.

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@rebeccahale

I do understand the reasoning behind not having clocks in the waiting rooms, more because they are always wrong and if they are off by 2 minutes patients start getting angry about being seen late…..but we could really use more clocks around the clinic in the hallways and open areas people mill around in waiting between appointments. Not everyone has a cellphone, and the clinic really drains your battery life so half of their phones are probably dead by midafternoon anyway.

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Many years ago I was waiting Waiting Waiting….before cell phones gang. Ended up calling a friend while waiting in the doctors office….I had been waiting 2 hours for a scheduled apt!!! Came to find out my doctor was on a plane returning from Hawaii!!! This was a RTW after surgery appt. or I would have walked out….Ha I might understand but…

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@rebeccahale

I do understand the reasoning behind not having clocks in the waiting rooms, more because they are always wrong and if they are off by 2 minutes patients start getting angry about being seen late…..but we could really use more clocks around the clinic in the hallways and open areas people mill around in waiting between appointments. Not everyone has a cellphone, and the clinic really drains your battery life so half of their phones are probably dead by midafternoon anyway.

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I understand your logic in not having clocks, but many elderly people perceive time as passing much faster than it is…therefore if there are no clocks to tell them they are only 5 minutes past their appointment times to them it feels like hours and this is ourwardly how they communicate it to others.

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@amandajacobson

Please don't start questioning the PTO awards we have in Rochester as unfair… the last times this questioning occurred we lost out STD benefit of 16 hours, and then lost our ability to wear jeans on second shift in the labs…

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The band Rush had a song called "The Trees" that illustrates standardization perfectly: "So the maples formed a union And demanded equal rights 'The oaks are just too greedy We will make them give us light' Now there's no more oak oppression For they passed a noble law And the trees are all kept equal By hatchet, Axe, And saw"

COMMENT
@amandajacobson

Please don't start questioning the PTO awards we have in Rochester as unfair… the last times this questioning occurred we lost out STD benefit of 16 hours, and then lost our ability to wear jeans on second shift in the labs…

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Here in Menomonie we have lost a lot because other sites didn't have the same little perks. But if we are to be aligned then it should be all or none. We have had our being on call time cut in half because other sites are being paid differently. Aren't all employees valued the same no matter where they work.

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@amandajacobson

Please don't start questioning the PTO awards we have in Rochester as unfair… the last times this questioning occurred we lost out STD benefit of 16 hours, and then lost our ability to wear jeans on second shift in the labs…

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The problem is that, recently, "all or nothing" has meant "nothing." Rather than take things away to make sites equal, it would be nice if they would provide benefits to everyone instead.

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@rebeccahale

I do understand the reasoning behind not having clocks in the waiting rooms, more because they are always wrong and if they are off by 2 minutes patients start getting angry about being seen late…..but we could really use more clocks around the clinic in the hallways and open areas people mill around in waiting between appointments. Not everyone has a cellphone, and the clinic really drains your battery life so half of their phones are probably dead by midafternoon anyway.

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Actually, since the elderly perceive time passing more quickly, a 5 minute wait to them shouldn't be anywhere near as big of a deal as it is to, say, a two year old.

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@amandajacobson

Please don't start questioning the PTO awards we have in Rochester as unfair… the last times this questioning occurred we lost out STD benefit of 16 hours, and then lost our ability to wear jeans on second shift in the labs…

Jump to this post

As stated in the answer, you're never going to have perfect alignment across all the various Mayo sites. However, the chances of benefits being added to any site are basically zero. So when you complain that another site, or department has something and you don't, its never going to help you in any way. The "best" case scenario is that you drag the people at that site down. Chances are, you enjoy something that they don't and don't even realize it.

COMMENT
@amandajacobson

Please don't start questioning the PTO awards we have in Rochester as unfair… the last times this questioning occurred we lost out STD benefit of 16 hours, and then lost our ability to wear jeans on second shift in the labs…

Jump to this post

Agreed

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My comment is in response to the question on Mayo’s emphasis on a four-year degree. In the second paragraph it says “…the experience one gains by working at Mayo Clinic is immensely valued by the organization” is only valued if you meet the minimum educational requirements. HR never reviews the experience portion if you do not meet the minimum educational requirement. This is a disservice to the more “mature” employees who began their employment at Mayo meeting the minimum educational requirements at that time and now have the immensely valued experience. I once applied for a job submitting grants thinking my 25+ years of submitting program project grants, RO1s, training grants, etc., as well as 10+ years of teaching grant classes would substitute for my lack of a bachelor’s degree. When my application was rejected my inquiry revealed my experience would have been relevant if I had a degree – even if the degree was in acrylic painting (still have the email containing that response). So for those hoping for a transfer, get a degree – any degree.

COMMENT
@rebeccahale

I do understand the reasoning behind not having clocks in the waiting rooms, more because they are always wrong and if they are off by 2 minutes patients start getting angry about being seen late…..but we could really use more clocks around the clinic in the hallways and open areas people mill around in waiting between appointments. Not everyone has a cellphone, and the clinic really drains your battery life so half of their phones are probably dead by midafternoon anyway.

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This happened to me also. I was roomed to see the doctor. I sat there for two hours. I finally got up and went to find out what was going on, and where was the doctor. They could not find her. Needless to say, I walked out and never went back. Never had a follow up from surgery to this day.

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