Freezing & Defrosting FAQs
The Corona virus lockdown has seen many people stocking-up on frozen food. Stocks in many supermarkets are not at their normal level and understandably people want to know if there are other suppliers available. A number of companies that normally supply the catering and hospitality industry have now started online ordering and delivery services especially for vulnerable people who are not able to leave their homes. The following list of wholesalers will be updated as regularly as possible, so do come back to this page if there’s no one in your area at the moment.
Holdsworth Foods offers order and collect from depots in various English and Welsh counties: http://www.holdsworthfoods.co.uk/
JJ Foodservice has launched a home delivery service, available with immediate effect, offering key household essentials, and is now offering a ‘Just for Heroes’ service for all emergency service staff. Available with immediate effect, staff working for the NHS, police force and fire brigade will be served first when they visit a JJ Foodservice branch: https://www.jjfoodservice.com/
Waterdene Foodservice is offering a home delivery service in the Luton area: www.waterdenefoodservice.co.uk/
Adams is offering home deliveries. For more details visit: www.adams-wholesale.com/store_information/delivery-information.html
Bidfood is operating a click and collect service for the Slough area: www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer/
Waterdene Foodservice is offering a home delivery service in the Slough and Reading areas: www.waterdenefoodservice.co.uk/
Charles Saunders is extending its service to members of the public to support the wider community with essential food deliveries: www.charles-saunders.com/
Waterdene Food Service is offering a delivery service in the Milton Keynes area. For more details visit: www.waterdenefoodservice.co.uk or call 01525 371367 or email orders to: firstname.lastname@example.org
King Bros are offering a click and collect service for trade only in Peterborough. Call 01733 239445.
RD Johns is offering a delivery service in Cornwall. More information is available on their website: www.rdjohns.com
Pioneer Foodservice has made its entire foodservice range of products available to the public and opened its main foodstore to the public, as well as a shop. It is working hard to keep these stores fully stocked: pioneerfoodstore.co.uk/
Bidfood is operating a click and collect service for the Penrith area: www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer/
JMP Foodservice are offering a delivery and click and collect service in Sedbergh. Call 015396 20296 to place an order.
MKG Foods are offering delivery service for the Derby area through website, telephone 0330 058 8888 or email email@example.com. For their full range of products visit http://www.mkgfoods.co.uk/brochure/
MJ Baker Foodservice in Newton Abbot, has launched a Click & Collect scheme open to the public. Download the MJ Baker e-ordering app from Google Play or the Apple Store, then click on account application and you’ll receive an e-mail with log-in details. Once the order is placed you can collect the next day and pay by card.
Bidfood is operating a click and collect service for the Lee Mill area: www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer/
RD Johns has extended its service to members of the public to support the wider community with essential food deliveries: www.rdjohns.co.uk/
Chadds Foodservice is offering home delivery in North Devon: www.chaddsfoodsmiths.co.uk/en/covid/home-delivery
For Dorset RD Johns are offering a delivery service. Order through their website www.rdjohns.com
For the Dorset East region Adams are offering delivery. Visit their website for the range and more information: www.adams-wholesale.com
Country Valley Foods is offering a delivery service in Darlington. Find information on their website: https://www.countryvalley.co.uk
Tyneside Food Service is offering delivery for the Darlington area via telephone and their website: 0191 4146000 www.tynesidefoodservice.com
Metro WS are offering their products for delivery. Orders can be placed via telephone 01702 527441/510333 or email Emailorders@metrow.co.uk
Bidfood have extended their click and collect service to Harlow: www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
Creed Foodservice in Cheltenham is offering a click and collect: https://www.creedfoodservice.co.uk/
Bidfood’s click & collect service is available in Manchester. See their website for more details: www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
Adams are providing delivery to the county. Their full range is available via website orders: www.adams-wholesale.com
Bidfood is providing a click and collect service for Basingstoke: www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
In Portsmouth you can find a click and collect service by calling Dennis Edwards on 02392 673034.
Harvest Fine Foods in Southampton is offering a home delivery service to those who may struggle getting to the supermarket and who can’t find the items they need in the shops: https://harvestfinefoods.co.uk/keep-in-touch/
Waterdene Food Service is providing a wide delivery service across the county covering areas in and around Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Stevenage, Watford and Welwyn Garden City. Their full range can be found on the website: www.waterdenefoodservice.co.uk . Orders can be placed via the website, by telephone: 01525 371367 or email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Metro WS are covering the Home counties for delivery. Orders can be placed by telephone 01702 527441/510333 or email: Emailorders@metrow.co.uk
Adams are delivering to Kent. Find more information and order from their range at: www.adams-wholesale.com
For Kent north, orders can be placed for delivery by email to Lea Valley Foods at: email@example.com
A click and collect service in Sittingbourne is being provided by Q Catering. Order by telephone: 01795 425050
KFF has started a Click & Collect service open to the public and are also providing a home delivery service in and around the Kent area: kff.co.uk 01622 612345
Birchall’s are providing a click and collect service for Burnley. Visit their website for information and to place an order: www.birchallfoods.co.uk
Both delivery and click and collect are available in Clitheroe from Total Foodservice. Call to place an order: 01254 828330.
Trevor’s FS are offering delivery service for Blackpool, Bolton and Preston plus a click and collect service for Blackpool. For more information visit https://trevors.localfooddrops.co.uk/ or call 01253 393000 or email orders to: firstname.lastname@example.org
WDS Group is doing free home deliveries for the elderly, those who are isolating and to hospital staff. It also has sites in West Yorkshire. https://wdsgroup.co.uk/
Pilgrim Foodservice is offering home delivery and click and collect to support people in the local area 7 days a week, delivering to the following postcodes: PE11, PE20, PE21, PE22 and NG34. It has also opened an onsite Cash & Carry in Boston which will be open 7 days a week to the public with an hour at the start and end of trading dedicated to NHS and 999 services: https://www.facebook.com/PilgrimFoods Call: 01205 312 700
Bidfood is delivering to Battersea and orders can be placed online: www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
If you are in London or the South East, Lea Valley Foods are offering delivery. Place an order by email: email@example.com
A to Z is also offering delivery to London and the South East and in addition a click and collect service for London. Contact them via the website https://www.atoz-catering.co.uk or telephone: 020 8342 5000
Waterdene Food Service is delivering to the areas in and around Enfield, Harrow and Twickenham. Visit the website www.waterdenefoodservice.co.uk Orders can also be placed by telephone or email: 01525 371367 firstname.lastname@example.org
Orders can be placed for delivery in London from Metro WS by telephone on 01702 527441/510333 or by email at: Emailorders@metrow.co.uk
Bidfood is delivering to Liverpool. Find more information and place orders at www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
Midlands, Oxfordshire and the South West
Philip Dennis Foodservice is supporting existing customers and looking into options to open pop-up shops locally as well as offer click and collect for its customers: https://www.philipdennis.co.uk/
Savoy Catering Supplies in Great Yarmouth is open to the public. Please contact before going to the depot: http://savoycatering.co.uk/index.html
Camseng is selling direct to the public from its depot in Belfast: http://s417859621.websitehome.co.uk/
Lynas Foodservice has eight food outlets across Ireland and are now offering an online home delivery service to the public in Northern Ireland. Trying to cover as much of Ireland as it can, it has opened two pop up food shops in Carryduff and Portadown and opened the doors to its factory in Lusk to serve people in that area: https://lynasfoodservice.com/
MKG Foods are delivering in and around Northampton. See the website for the full range: http://www.mkgfoods.co.uk/brochure/ and place orders by telephone or email: 0330 058 8888 email@example.com
Waterdene Food Service is delivering to Northampton and the area. Visit the website at: www.waterdenefoodservice.co.uk Orders can also be placed by telephone or email: 01525 371367 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tyneside Food Service is offering a delivery service covering Ashington, Hexham and Newcastle. Visit the website: www.tynesidefoodservice.com or call 0191 4146000.
Bidfood is providing a click and collect service in Nottingham. Find more information and place orders at www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
MKG Foods are delivering in and around the Nottingham area. See the website for the full range: http://www.mkgfoods.co.uk/brochure/ and place orders by telephone or email: 0330 058 8888 email@example.com
Bidfood is offering a click and collect service for Bicester. Find more information and place orders at www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
Savona is delivering to Oxford. Call for more information: 01865 852010
Savona Foodservice is open to the public. Its range includes laundry and cleaning chemicals, bathroom supplies, retail-sized tinned goods, frozen and chilled products: https://www.savona.co.uk/signin
Dumfries and Galloway: You can find both a delivery service to Dumfries as well as click and collect in Dumfries with Thomsons. For the full range and to place an order visit https://www.dennisthomson.co.uk. Telephone orders can be made 01387 250533
Glasgow: Glencrest are offering both delivery and a click and collect service in Glasgow. For information and to place an order visit: www.glencrest.co.uk
Oban and Edinburgh: Bidfood is providing a click and collect service in both Oban and Edinburgh. Visit the website for more information and to place orders: www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
Dunns has launched a home delivery and online ordering service. You can create an account at https://bit.ly/33L1GUG. They’ll call you back and take payment over the phone.
JB Foods is offering a call and collect service and introducing a home delivery service across Scotland and the borders covering the following postcode areas: EH1 to EH55, FK1 to FK10, G1 to G45, ML1 to ML8, TD5 to TD9 and TD11 to TD15. It has also created some essential retail packs which consist of products people are struggling to buy in supermarkets: https://jb-foods-home-essentials.myshopify.com/
MKG Foods are delivering in and around the Shrewsbury and Telford areas. See the website for the full range: http://www.mkgfoods.co.uk/brochure/ and place orders by telephone or email: 0330 058 8888 firstname.lastname@example.org
In Somerset RD Johns is offering a delivery service. Order through their website www.rdjohns.com
Bidfood is providing a click and collect service in Stowmarket. Find more information and place orders at www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
Thomas Ridley Foodservice in Bury St Edmunds is offering a click and collect service: https://www.thomasridley.co.uk/
Adams is delivering across surrey. Visit www.adams-wholesale.com for information and to place an order.
Adams is delivering to both East and West Sussex. Visit www.adams-wholesale.com for information and to place an order.
Bidfood is providing a delivery service in Worthing. Find more information and place orders at www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
Tyne and Wear
Bidfood is providing a click and collect service for Gateshead. Find more information and place orders at www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
Tyneside Food Service is offering delivery for Whitley Bay via telephone and their website: 0191 4146000 www.tynesidefoodservice.com
Harlech Foodservice in Criccieth is open to the public and involved in a project to deliver to local vulnerable people: https://www.harlech.co.uk/
Offering a phone and collect service 7 days a week from its depot in Cross Hands, Castell Howell Foods has various collection points across Wales (Llandeilo, Llanelli, Whitland, Llanybydder and Newcastle Emlyn) which are open 2 days a week. It also has a Cash & Carry Outlet which is now open to the public 7 days a week with extended opening hours: http://www.castellhowellfoods.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Public-Price-List-24.03.20.pdf. Call: 01269 505 919
Hunt’s Foodservice: The Hunt’s Outlet is open 7 days a week to the public and the business is working hard to ensure it is fully stocked for customers. It has also increased the number of retail lines it stocks in order to support retailers such as Co-op, NISA and One-Stop and Budgens: http://huntsfoodoutlet.co.uk/
Bidfood is delivering across Birmingham. Find more information and place orders at www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
MKG Foods are covering a wide area delivering in and around the Birmingham, Coventry, Walsall and Wolverhampton areas. See the website for the full range: http://www.mkgfoods.co.uk/brochure/ and place orders by telephone or email: 0330 058 8888 email@example.com
Bidfood is delivering across Salisbury. Find more information and place orders at www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
Bidfood is providing a click and collect service in Wakefield. Find more information and place orders at www.bidfood.co.uk/become-a-customer
Miller is offering delivery in Hull and a click and collect service in York. Call 01904 655368 for information.
Tyneside Food Service is offering delivery for Middlesborough via telephone and their website: 0191 4146000 www.tynesidefoodservice.com
Total Foodservice is offering both delivery and click and collect in Huddersfield. Call for information and to place an order: 01484 536688
Turner Price Foods is providing free home delivery to postcodes in Hull and next-day collection from its depot and lorries in the town https://turnerprice.localfooddrops.co.uk/
As of Monday 30th March, Delifresh has extended its delivery days to a 6 day a week service: https://delifresh-ltd.myshopify.com/
A good way to know that it is time to defrost is when you see around 1/2 inch thickness of ice around the inside of the freezer. Another way is to look out for ice crystals forming on frozen food packages and frozen ready meals. Luckily most freezers today are made to be frost-free and require little or no defrosting. However if you have an older model and you want to keep it running efficiently, use these steps to do so. Taking the time to defrost periodically will save you the headache of having a huge mess later down the road.
How to defrost your freezer:
- Wrap frozen items and frozen ready meals in newspaper and place in a box in a cold area
- Unplug your freezer and wedge the door open
- Remove freezer drawers
- Place towels or any type of absorbent material at the bottom and in front of the freezer to mop up the water as the ice thaws
- Do not use any sharp implements to remove the ice build-up from the freezer, as this will damage the appliance
- Once all the ice has thawed, clean the freezer and drawers with warm water
- Wipe the freezer dry and replace the drawers
- Plug the freezer back into the mains, making sure that the thermostat is set at the correct level
- Re-pack the freezer.
Click here for more information on defrosting your freezer.
Refreezing thawed frozen foods is not advised from either a safety or quality point of view. The main reason is to avoid the risk of improper defrosting methods. Freezing foods stops any bacteria found naturally in foods to grow, until the food is defrosted. Once frozen food is thawed, the bacteria become active again. We recommend that thawed foods should be cooked as soon as possible.
However, frozen ingredients can be cooked and then frozen again. Once you have cooked food, you should wait until it has completely cooled to room temperature before placing it in a Tupperware container and then storing it in the freezer. The food will now be stored safely until you decide to warm in up and eat it!
Click here to see more about storing and cooking your frozen food.
A recent poll said that 70% of us buy a frozen turkey at Christmas so here is our guide to defrosting safely.
In the fridge
Defrosting the Christmas frozen turkey in the fridge is the safest way and our recommended method.
Your frozen turkey should be kept in its wrapper in the fridge for the duration and it should be kept on a dish large enough to catch any leaking juices. Thawing your turkey this way might take several days depending on its size (see below for recommended thawing times) but it is the safest way. Your fridge minimises bacteria growth in the meat with its lower temperature. Up to five hours in your fridge per pound of meat should be allowed to thaw your bird. But remember, times vary depending on the temperature of your fridge.
Recommended turkey thawing times
|Frozen turkey size||Defrost time|
|8 to 12 pounds||1 to 2 days|
|13 to 16 pounds||2 to 3 days|
|17 to 20 pounds||4 to 5 days|
|21 to 24 pounds||5 to 6 days|
Alternatively, follow the instructions provided on the packaging
This method of defrosting is not recommended for turkeys. While waiting for the bird to defrost fully, harmful bacteria will grow quickly in areas where the turkey is already thawed
Note: Additional Safety Recommendations
- Do not thaw your turkey at room temperature. Harmful food poisoning bacteria may grow
- Frozen turkey that has been thawed should not be frozen again until after the meat is cooked (cooking reduces the risk of harmful bacterial growth)
- Frozen pre-stuffed turkeys should not be thawed before cooking (bacteria can multiply in the stuffing whilst defrosting)
Depending on the time you have available there are two methods to defrost frozen chicken; in the fridge or in your microwave. Remember – frozen chicken should never be defrosted at room temperature.
Defrosting in your fridge
To defrost your frozen chicken place it at the bottom of the fridge, in a bowl large enough to catch any juices that may drip. Do not allow any of these raw meat juices to come into contact with fridge surfaces or food as this may contaminate them. If the bird has packaging or wrapping this should be kept on during the defrost process. The thawed chicken can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days before you cook it. If your chicken does not have any packaging you should cover the bird whilst it is in the fridge.
This is the slowest method but this is the safest method. You should plan your defrosting time for roughly five hours per pound of meat (see below).
|Chicken size||Defrost time|
|3 lbs||15 hours|
|5 lbs||24 hours|
|7 lbs||34 hours|
|10 lbs||48 hours|
Defrosting frozen chicken using your microwave
If you are pressed for time, this method can be useful. Refer to the microwave manual as many microwaves are different and require different times to defrost a whole bird. Care needs to be taken to ensure that you do not dry out the meat when you defrost.
For chicken breasts or small pieces of chicken, ensure that the wrapping is removed before putting the meat in the microwave. Put the pieces in a microwave dish so as to catch dripping juices and, using the defrost setting, defrost two minutes at a time checking progress between each go. Once the chicken pieces have been defrosted, they should be cooked straight away.
Chicken must be properly defrosted before it is cooked. Ensure your chicken is completely defrosted by feeling for ice crystals inside the cavity of the bird. If crystals are there, the bird is not defrosted yet. You can also test thicker parts of the meat with a fork to see if it feels frozen.
Never refreeze chicken once it is defrosted, it is however safe to do so once the meat is cooked. Always clean plates, utensils, surfaces and hands thoroughly, after they have touched raw or thawing meat, to stop bacteria from spreading.
Here’s the ideal Sunday dinner made with frozen food ingredients.
Or if you fancy something a little lighter, try one of our other chicken recipes.
Defrosting frozen fish should be carried out overnight in the refrigerator. Do not thaw frozen fish at room temperature as this encourages bacteria growth. Once defrosted, the fish should be eaten within 48 hours.
Defrosting frozen fish is easily done but to get the best results we have some useful tips:
Thawing frozen fish fillets under water is not recommended as the flavour of the fish will be lost. The flavour of fish is salt based and these minerals will be washed away and dissolved in your water.
Defrosting frozen fish in the microwave should be avoided unless you’re in a hurry and the fish has to be cooked immediately. If you use a microwave incorrectly the fish can partially cook and dry out, stop the defrost cycle while the fish is still icy but pliable.
Defrosting Frozen Fish in a fridge
Thawing frozen fish in the fridge is the slowest but safest method
Thawing Time: 6 to 24 hours, depending on quantity. Generally, 6 to 8 hours per pound.
The temperature of the refrigerator should be maintained at 8°C or below as anything between 8°C and 63°C may allow the multiplication of bacteria.
Leave the fish wrapped and place on a plate or a tray to catch the drips as it thaws. Place in the fridge to thaw and keep away from ready-to-eat foods.
Defrosting Frozen Fish in cold water
Thawing frozen fish in cold water is a faster way of defrosting fish
Thawing Time: 1 to 2 hours per pound
This method of defrosting is faster but precautions need to be taken.
- Fill a basin or bowl with enough cold tap water to cover the frozen fish. Put your fish in a sealed bag and submerge it in the water. The water should be changed every 30 minutes.
- Do not use warm water, even though it will thaw the fish faster, it may also encourage the growth of bacteria to harmful levels.
- Once the fish is thawed, it should be cooked immediately.
- Once the fish is thawed, remove it from the sink and clean all utensils and surfaces affected during the thawing period with hot water and soap.
Defrosting Frozen Fish in a microwave
Thawing frozen fish in a microwave is the quickest method
See your manual for defrosting details
Using a microwave to defrost your frozen fish is a quick method but is not recommended because of the difficulty in getting the different thicknesses of fish fillets to defrost evenly.
Defrosting times vary according to different microwaves and according to the form of fish (whole or pieces) you are thawing. Use the steps below for thawing in the microwave:
- Place the fish on a microwave rack in a microwave safe pan.
- Microwave for 1/2 the defrosting time. See time chart below. Then turn the fish pieces over. Place on the rack so the thinnest sections are towards the middle and are overlapping each other.
- Finish microwaving. Pieces should still be pliable and still cool to the touch. They may be slightly icy but they will finish thawing while they stand for 5 minutes.
Note – If the individual fish pieces are frozen together, defrost in microwave just long enough to be able to separate the pieces and then follow directions above.
Microwave Defrosting Times
Using Defrost Feature or at 50% Power Level
|Minutes per lb.||Minutes per lb.|
|Whole-Small||1″ – 1¾”||3½ – 6½||4 – 6½|
|Fillets||¼” – 1″||3 – 5||3½ – 5½|
|Steaks||1″||3 – 5½||3½ – 6|
Other thawing tips:
Do not defrost fish at room temperature
- Always cook defrosted fish that hasn’t been thawed in a refrigerator as soon as possible.
- Fish thawed in a refrigerator can be kept refrigerated for 2 days.
- Do not refreeze thawed fish. It is safe to refreeze fish once it has been cooked but some of its quality will be lost
Cooking frozen fish
How you want to cook your fish can determine whether you need to defrost
- Deep frying in batter – cook from frozen
- Deep frying in bread crumbs – cook from frozen (although the bread-crumbing is more successful if done with defrosted fish
- Shallow frying – defrost first. This is mainly a safety issue: the water within the fillets will likely cause the fat / oil to spit or sometimes the fillet can explode in parts
- Grilling – cook from frozen if thin fillets / steaks (maximum 3cm) or defrost if thick fillets / steaks
- Baking – cook from frozen if thin fillets / steaks (maximum 3cm) or defrost if thick fillets / steaks
- Baking in tinfoil – cook from frozen
- Baking in a crust / pastry – defrost first or the water within will cause soggy pastry
- Making a stew – cook from frozen if you can safely cut the fillet to size.
Has reading this made you hungry for fish? Try one of our fantastic fish recipes.
Always refer to the on-pack ‘best before’ date. The manufacturer’s ‘best before’ date on frozen foods is a quality indicator and is the date until which the product will remain in peak quality (when stored at -18°C or below).
After the ‘best before’ date a reduction in eating quality may become evident, whilst the product remains safe to eat.
Try to rotate foods; putting newly purchased items at the back of the freezer so older items are used first.
For a handy list of common frozen foods and how long they can be stored visit our pages on storing, defrosting and cooking frozen foods.
The purpose of thawing frozen foods thoroughly before cooking is to ensure that during cooking the food is heated sufficiently to kill harmful bacteria.
There are three safe ways to defrost food:
- In the refrigerator
- In cold water
- In the microwave*
*Most importantly, follow instructions from manufacturer
- It’s best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. The bottom of the fridge is ideal.
- For faster defrosting, place food in a leak proof plastic bag and immerse it in cold water. Change water every 30 minutes. After thawing, cook immediately.
- For defrosting ready meals, always follow the instructions.
Click here to see our guide on how to store, defrost and cook frozen foods.
Most home freezers should operate at temperatures -18°C or lower. Rule of thumb, if your freezer can’t keep ice cream solid, its temperature is above the recommended level.