Preserving Meat Tips on Storing, Freezing and Thawing Meat

Preserving meat, and how you handle your meat is just as important as how you prepare it and cook it. Read our tips on how to properly store, freeze and thaw meat.

Storing Meat

* Remove meat from its plastic as soon as possible and store it in the fridge.

* Meat should be transfered to a non-plastic dish and covered loosely with foil to allow airflow.

* Always store raw and cooked meat separately.

* Fresh meat will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days, while cooked meat will keep for 5-7 days.

* Before using it, wipe with a clean cloth that has been wrung out with cold water.  Wipe the meat thoroughly and dry off with another cloth.

* Trim off all the hard edges and excess fat.

* Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Freezing Meat and Re-Freezing Meat

preserving meat by freezing
How to Preserve Meat

* Freezing meats is one of the most commonly used ways of preserving food as it is fast and is a simple way of stopping microbial growth. When the meat is frozen the nutritional value remains the same although if meat is kept in a freezer too long texture and quality of the meat will be affected, and if the meat becomes exposed to the frozen air because the packaging becomes torn, then freezer burn will occur.

* Meat can be stored at above its freezing point (–1.5° C) for about six weeks without spoilage, during which time it undergoes an aging process that increases its tenderness and flavor.

* Larger cuts of meat, like steaks and roasts, can be stored for up to 6 months in a freezer. Preserving meat of smaller cuts should not be frozen for more than 4 months, while minced meat should not be frozen for more than 3 months.

* Never refreeze meat which has been thawed and held at room temperature.

Thawing Meat

* In the refrigerator plan ahead as this is the slowest technique. Small, frozen items may thaw overnight in the fridge, while larger items will take significantly longer.

* In a microwave on the defrost setting - cook the food immediately after it has thawed because some areas of the food may have begun cooking during the defrost cycle.

* Meat that has been thawed in the fridge will keep for a few days. Meat thawed more quickly should be used immediately.

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