We are all about eating bruised food and ignoring sell by dates when the food smells perfectly fine. But that being said, we do want to help you re-use that food without getting you sick. So here Food 52 breaks down rules for re-freezing. We've summarized the most important points below!
1. Only re-freeze food that has thawed in the refrigerator. If it has thawed anywhere else, use it up. "... since bacteria grows rapidly once thawed, you should cook or refreeze the food as soon as possible. A good general time frame is within 48 hours of thawing, depending on the food."
2. Refreeze food 48 hours after thawing or less. Aka don't refreeze food that you thawed a week ago. ESPECIALLY meat.
3. It is safe to thaw raw foods, cook them, then refreeze the cooked version. This one is pretty self-explanatory.
4. Refreeze only once. Yes, I'm talking to you who wanted to make chicken but all the breasts were frozen together so you thought you could thaw them all and then refreeze the ones you didn't end up cooking.
And finally, Food 52 also mentions a few super helpful tips that we wish we had thought of ourselves but didn't so here they are:
Anything that isn't delicious frozen the first time won’t be good refrozen, either. So soft cheese and milk are out.
Upon freezing, ice crystals puncture the cell walls of these foods, breaking down the emulsions. So those creamy sauces and emulsions won't be the best after that second time in the freezer.