The Best Ways to Freeze (and thaw) Meat!

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best ways to freeze and thaw meat

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Buying meat in bulk is a great idea; it’s easy to freeze and will last for up to a year in your freezer. Here’s how to avoid the freezer burn and icicles of poorly frozen meats, so you can enjoy your steak nearly fresh five months from now!

No Air in There: Air is the worst thing for frozen meat. Make sure to remove all of the air from the container when going to freeze any meat or poultry product.The best way to remove the air is by sucking all the air out of the packing with a straw before closing it up tightly.  If you freeze meat often, you might like to consider investing in a vacuum sealer  (this one is a great price).  With a small initial investment, it can save you tons of money with bulk purchases and not having to throw away damaged food. Amazon has some great deals on Vacuum Sealers.

Wrap It Right: Ziplock baggies are okay for freezing, however, another great option is to wrap your fresh to frozen meats in meat paper, like you get at the butcher. After wrapping it carefully in the paper, then stuff it into an airless plastic bag with a seal.

Labels, Labels, Labels: The worst part of digging through a freezer full of food is trying to figure out what you’re looking at. Label your bags with permanent markers or use freezer labels on your containers, with the contents and the date you froze it. This will let you know what is nearing its expiration date, and make freezer organizing easier in the long run!

Know your meats: Each type of meat product has a certain shelf life in the freezer. Make sure to know as much about the product you’re storing as you can. As a rule of thumb, sliced and shaved meats can only last in the freezer about two weeks. Ground, cured and pre-cooked meats can last about 2-3 months. Large, uncut pieces of meat are good for about 12 months in the freezer.

Keep it Light: An overstuffed freezer is an unhappy freezer. The foods at the center won’t freeze properly and can become unsafe to eat. The stuff around the edges of the freezer may suffer from freezer burn. If you have a lot of freezer storage needs, you may want to consider purchasing a second freezer for the basement or garage.

Thaw in the Fridge: Although some households thaw meat on the counter just fine, it may wreak havoc on the stomachs of guests who don’t thaw meat at room temperature. Make sure to leave your meat wrapped, and put it into the refrigerator several hours before cooking time. Meat products need about 1 hour of thaw time per pound.

Thaw Naturally: If you have forgotten to take your meat out of the freezer and need to thaw it quickly, don’t microwave it! The thaw setting on microwaves can ruin the taste of your carefully stored meats. Instead, submerge the sealed bag in a sink full of cold water and let it soak for a long as you can.  Be sure to change to water keeping it cold to keep your meat safe!

Visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation for the best how to freeze guide ever!

best ways to freeze and thaw meat

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Sources:

http://lifehacker.com/5663590/how-to-freeze-and-thaw-your-food-the-right-way
http://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/techniques/how-to-freeze-foods-00412000070351/
http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze.html
http://www.wikihow.com/Freeze-Food
http://allrecipes.com/howto/freezing-foods-a-real-time-saver/

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Holly

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

One comment on “The Best Ways to Freeze (and thaw) Meat!”

  1. When freezing ground meat… Beef, Turkey, Etc… Place in a zip storage bag and press flat. Use rolling pin to get all the air out and label it before freezing. A thin flat package of meat will freeze and thaw faster than a big ball or brick.

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