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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How To Freeze Meat Properly

Finding good bargains at the store sometimes involves purchasing a higher volume of food when warehouse clubs offer great deals that are too good to pass up. The only problem for some will be having the capacity to store a large amount of food. Even if you do not have that spare freezer in the garage, consider purchasing the item anyway if you know you can split the cost with another family member or friend to take advantage of such bargains.

Meat will generally keep well in a freezer as long as you stay within the right freezing timeline and the meat is wrapped correctly. There is a proper way to seal the meat to guarantee you will be free of freezer burn and free of funky tastes or odors absorbed by other neighboring food in the freezer.

WRAPPING MEAT 101

How do I portion out the meat?

So you buy that larger than life pork loin, beef tenderloin, or large string of Italian sausages from Sam’s or Costco. You know you won’t knock down that much food in one sitting unless you are feeding a football team. Estimate how many meals you can get out of the meat and portion out prior to the wrapping stage.

What is the proper way to seal meat prior to freezing?

Meat that is sold and packaged in the supermarket polystyrene tray and wrap should be removed from store packaging prior to wrapping on your own. Yes the store packaging will work, but wrapping the food yourself will guarantee a better seal then the paper thin wrap job done by the local grocer. Besides, you may be unaware of pin size holes in the store bought packaging that would leave the meat susceptible to freezer burn.
Once your meat is portioned out or removed from store packaging, wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Then apply second wrapping using either heavy duty aluminum foil or freezer paper. Tape the paper or foil wrap shut and label the food by meat identification, quantity and date using a permanent marker.

What is the proper way to store meat in the freezer?

Items that you feel will be served within a week or so could probably stay in the freezer side of the kitchen refrigerator. Anything outside of that timeframe and the packages can be stored in the garage or basement stand alone freezer. Just make sure to leave the meat packages within reach and eyesight as to avoid forgetting your purchase. The one of a kind deal on steaks or chops may not be so great if you let the meat go bad due to old age.

How long does meat last in the freezer?

That all depends. Ground beef will last four months. Pork will last up to eight months. Steaks, roasts and whole poultry will last a year. Cooked meat or leftover meat can be frozen up to three months.

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