Your freezer is the perfect place to store and keep frozen items for long periods, but when it comes to meat, it needs to be wrapped and frozen so it survives in these harsh environments. There are also some important tips on how to wrap up meat products so it doesn’t become damaged as it freezes. By learning these simple storage tips, you can save money freezing all types of meat.
Why is freezing meat a better option?
We can’t always get to the store to pick up a select cut of meat or prepare your favorite steak when you like. At some point, there might be a shortage of meat or perhaps a big sale that sells out your favorite kind of meat sooner than expected. This is why buying meat in advance and storing it in your freezer is the best option. When meat is properly frozen, it can stay in the freezer up for a full year.
There is a downside to storing certain meats if you didn’t wrap them correctly. This can expose the meat to excess moisture and cause it to suffer the dreaded freezer burn. This is when ice crystals have attacked the meat and caused the meat to lose its natural flavor. The meat can also have a tough and leathery chew when it’s cooked. Aside from that, learning to store meat is all about removing as much air from the meat before it becomes frozen.
What is the best meat prepping solution?
It used to be a fancy notion that vacuum sealing was affordable at home. Decades earlier, these machines were very pricy and thus made it impractical to buy one for the average kitchen. These days, you can buy an effective vacuum sealer on Amazon for as little as 30 bucks! But the one thing that counts the most is the sealing bag that is best intended for keeping out air.
Sealing bags that are meant for freezing are often thicker than plastic wrap and feel more like Ziplock Freezer Bags. Once the air is removed from a quality vacuum-sealed bag, meat is better suited for long-term storage for at least a year or perhaps even longer. This method works best for beef, pork, chicken, fish, and shellfish. As long as it’s been sealed correctly with a vacuum sealer it will store in the freezer much better.
Best solution for short term
If you’ve seen Ziplock freezer bags, these are much thicker than the average zipping closure bags. These are still a good choice for freezing if you are careful about removing the air by hand. The best method for getting air out from a bag is to use light pressure and put the meat into each bag all the way to the bottom. Folding the plastic around the edges of the meat will help the plastic stick closer to form a seal.
Closing the bag as much as possible before the air is squeezed out is also a good idea. Some people like to use a small straw that sucks the remaining air from the bag to get a better reduction of air inside the bag. This might sound silly, but if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, every trick in the book is used to squeeze out as much air as you can.
When all else fails…
If you don’t have anything else but plastic cling wrap, you can always try this method. Lay your piece of meat onto a piece of cling wrap. The first step to wrapping the meat is to cover the top and let the cling wrap stick to the surfaces around the top edges. Leave the sides of the meat unfolded until the last step. To seal the sides off, carefully fold the cling wrap over the edge of each piece, one side at a time.
The final edge is then lifted up and allows the remaining meat to slide a little bit more snuggly into the cling wrap package while the last edge is folded over as tightly as possible. This piece of meat is then wrapped again in cling wrap once again the same way as the first wrap was done. This can then be labeled with a permanent marker saying what kind of meat it is and the date when it was frozen.
Best tips to freeze
Your freezer isn’t always going to be a spacious living area, so anything new to the freezer needs to be in the coldest spot possible. Take out anything that is on the bottom and place new meat at the very bottom where the air is colder. After this, frozen meat can be placed onto these new additions that will freezer faster. A slow freeze is fine, but the sooner meat is frozen will ensure that water molecules don’t have time to expand much.
Always keep track of dates on your frozen meat, so it won’t hurt to have a checklist of meats you have stored and the date they went into the freezer. This way you can plan when to remove them before their expiration date or check them for possible freezer burn.