Meat preservation is a process that can consist of many different methods. Whether you want to freeze dry, smoke, cure or can meat, there are things you should know. Since the most common method of preserving meat is freezing, storing and thawing, the tips below will focus on those techniques.
1. Prevent Microbial Growth
One of the biggest concerns surrounding meat is problems that can arise as a result of bacterial growth. That’s why it’s so important to freeze meat; it stops the growth of bacteria. Fortunately, freezing meat does not detract from the taste or nutritional value as long as it’s for a short period of time.
2. Don’t Store For Longer Than Recommended
While freezing meat will prevent microbial growth, overexposure to cold can result in decreased quality. Meat should not remain in the freezer for longer than six to eight weeks because there’s a chance that it will become spoiled. Freezing meat for as long as a couple of months or more can sometimes change its texture and flavor.
3. Some Meats Can Be Stored Longer
There’s often an exception to rules associated with preserving meat. That’s definitely the case when it comes to the amount of time that you can store meat in a freezer. If you want to store large cuts of meat in a freezer, you can actually do so for about five to six months. Just keep in mind that this does not apply to small cuts or minced meat. The best type of meat to store for longer periods of time are red meats like steak.
4. Don’t Freeze Meat Twice
While it might go without saying, there should never be an occasion when you freeze meat twice. In other words, you should not take it out of the freezer to cook for dinner and then place it back in the freezer when you change your mind at the end of the day.
5. Thaw Meat in the Refrigerator
The best way to preserve meat while you’re thawing it is to place it in the refrigerator at night. Generally speaking, it will be ready to cook the next day, unless it’s a large piece of meat. Even larger pieces should only take a few extra hours.
6. Cook Immediately After Defrosting in Microwave
Some people simply don’t like the idea of using a microwave to defrost food, but not everyone has a problem with it. If you happen to defrost meat in a microwave, it’s important to cook it immediately to avoid any bacterial growth. You definitely should not let it sit around before it’s cooked.
7. Do Not Retain the Original Plastic
If you choose to freeze meat, remove it from the original plastic before placing it in the freezer. This is because the plastic used is not air-tight, in most cases. You should transfer the meat to your own packaging, which can be either a freezer bag or aluminum foil. Sometimes experts use parchment paper first, which is a good practice for keeping it airtight.
8. Start Cooking Meat When It’s at Room Temperature
If you make a decision at the last minute to cook a steak that’s in the freezer, you should not do so before it’s been thawed out. You can use a variety of methods to thaw meat, but you should never try to cook it while it’s still frozen.
9. Store Meat Separately
Storing meat is an easy process. However, it’s important to make sure you don’t store meat that’s been cooked in the same wrapping as raw meat. They should always be stored separately.
10. Don’t Keep Cooked Meat Too Long
If you cook meat and place leftovers in the refrigerator, make sure it’s eaten within 7 days. Cooked meat after that timeframe cannot be eaten. If you have not cooked the meat yet, but you already placed it in the refrigerator without being cooked, it should be thrown out after a few days.
11. Trim Away Excess Fat
Before freezing meat, it’s a good practice to trim off excess fat in advance. It makes things much easier once it’s thawed and ready to cook.
12. Clean Meat Appropriately
Whenever you handle meat, the methods used are important because so many things can go wrong. The good news is that properly cleaning meat isn’t as complex as it might seem as long as you keep it separate form other foods.
These tips can help to ensure you’re able to preserve and enjoy meats of all kinds. You can find more information about meat preservation from a Brisbane Best Butcher.