Friday 27 September 2013

How to quickly (and safely) defrost the freezer

So, some clown left the freezer door open last night, and now you have ice, lots of ice.

Or if you've been away for the weekend and left the door slightly ajar, you now have an alpine glacier running through your kitchen!

How do you defrost a vertical freezer quickly, before your valuable stock of burgers go all mushie?

I guess we all have our own ways of dealing with this. Our first instinct is to find something we can use as an ice-pick.

But because modern freezers contain an array of delicate pipes and sensors, and have interior walls constructed from thin plastic, I'd strongly advise you not to reach for a sharp knife. In fact, I don't think you should be using any mechanical means to dislodge the ice, as the ice is almost certainly stronger than the plastic.

So here is a method I came up with recently, which is relatively safe (OK, it involves boiling water), relatively quick, and doesn't require you to sit on the floor for 2 hours, waving a hair dryer.

Start By Dealing With The Food

You need to get your frozen food to a safe refuge. Its great if you have a neighbour with spare capacity, but how likely is that? Everyone I know keeps their freezers stuffed full of goodies ..."just in case".

Tightly pack your meat into chill-boxes (if you have them) or plastic containers like swing-bins or dustbins (but do clean them first!). Put these containers in the coolest place available, maybe your shed or garage, or under the stairs.

If you have any space in your fridge you can store some frozen stuff there, but don't lay frozen food on top of vegetables, as this may destroy the texture of some items.

Hot water, and plenty of it

Normally, the quickest way to boil water is by using an electric kettle.

This should then be poured into saucepans and stood on the freezer shelves.

But to make sure the heat does not damage those plastic covered shelves, place up-turned baking trays under each pan.

The water in the pans cools quite quickly, so tip it back into the kettle every 20-30 minutes and re-boil.

As you reach the final stages of defrosting, you could apply gentle heat to free-up any stubborn chunks of ice, using either a cloth soaked in hot water or a hand-held hair dryer.

In our freezer its quite difficult to get the bits of ice out from between the gap at the very top.

Once again, it is important not to poke or lever ice in an attempt to remove it.... in the picture above, what appears to be just another chuck of ice (top left) is in fact an electrical sensor.

What pity they didn't paint it some bright colour.....maybe red!

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