People want their food to be as fresh as it can possibly be and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. However, if you want to cut down on your food costs, getting everything fresh is not compatible with that goal.
The good news is that freezing your food is a viable option if you want to save plenty of money both in the moment and in the future. In this article, we will discuss how to freeze meat the right way so that you can enjoy months after purchase and save money in the process.
How to Freeze Meat Perfectly to Cut Food Expenses?
Most items become better value propositions when they are bought in bulk and that applies to meat as well. If you buy smaller cuts of meat from your butcher daily or even weekly, then you’re paying a premium for your food.
This is where freezing can help you significantly lower the amount of money you spend on meat. Instead of going to the butcher regularly, you can just make one trip and buy a huge side of meat. Some butchers will sell you as much as half of an animal carcass.
Now that you have all that meat, you can just keep it in deep freeze to preserve its quality. Along with getting a lot of meat at a better price, you are also saving money by no longer making additional trips to the local butcher.
Factors to Consider before Freezing Meat
Before you open up your big freezer and fill it up with your purchases, you will first have to do some things if you want your meat to remain in good condition.
Cuts of poultry can go in the freezer without any prior preparation, but you don’t want to do the same thing to pieces of pork and beef.
You will want your butcher to age the pieces of pork you just bought.
It’s not advisable that you handle the maturation process yourself because the meat could end up going bad if you miss some steps or just fail to execute them properly.
Now ,if you are planning to freeze pieces of beef, you can be the one who handles the aging process for them. What you want to do is to first store the cuts of beef in your refrigerator. You can keep them there for about 24 hours. This is assuming that they were not aged previously. Once the 24 hours are up, you can place them inside the freezer.
Also, be sure to check with your butcher before you freeze any cut of meat. Ask your butcher if the cuts you’re eyeing are fit to be frozen. If you fail to do that, you could end up using space in your freezer to house cuts of meat you will never consume.
Mistakes often Made by People Freezing Meat
Freezing meat is not as simple as just chucking things into the freezer and forgetting about them. If you aren’t careful, you can easily repeat the common mistakes people often make when they are putting meat into deep freeze.
The first mistake you have to avoid is placing enormous cuts of meat into the freezer. The freezing process will not evenly affect a larger piece of meat and you could end up with portions that are no longer usable. Process the meat into smaller pieces and include only a few cuts in every bag to ensure proper freezing.
To avoid uneven freezing, you should also remember not to freeze cuts of meat that still feel warm to the touch.
You should also never re-freeze meat that has already thawed out completely after being frozen previously. If you don’t want to waste that meat, then the best thing you can do is to cook it up first and then place the finished dish in the freezer. Failing to cook the meat prior to re-freezing could cause whoever consumes it to fall ill.
Lastly, make sure that you do not put meat in the freezer without any kind of covering. Pieces of meat left uncovered in the freezer will not be able to retain their flavor and they may even end up discolored.
The Different Methods for Thawing Meat
There is more than one way to thaw your frozen meat and they involve using different appliances.
The first method is the easiest one. All you need is to take the cuts meat you are looking to cook out of the freezer and then place them inside your refrigerator. As long as you keep them separated from the other food items inside the refrigerator, you don’t need to worry about possible cross-contamination.
It’s also possible to use the microwave for thawing your meat. Most microwaves have a “defrost” setting you can choose for the purposes of thawing meat. However, you can’t just rely on that completely. The meat may react unexpectedly to the change in temperature and it may start cooking earlier than normal. If the meat starts to change color, turn off the microwave right away.
Meat can also be thawed by just allowing it to defrost on a countertop in your kitchen. This is not recommended though as you are putting the meat at risk for spoilage by thawing it in that manner.
If you do not have the time to sit around and wait for your meat to thaw, go ahead and put it into a pan or oven right away. Just remember to tack on a few more minutes to your cooking time to ensure that it doesn’t turn out raw or underdone.
How to Properly Package Meat for Freezing?
There are two items you will need if you want to package your meat correctly ahead of freezing.
The first item you’ll want to have is a Ziplock bag. It is absolutely crucial to the long-term viability of the meat that it is not directly exposed to air or the extreme cold of your freezer while it is being kept in storage.
Ziplock bags can provide the protection that is required for freezer-bound meat. Just make sure that the bag is completely dry on the inside before you put the meat in. After you’ve placed the meat inside the bag, you will then have to expel all the air out of it. That can easily be done by just pressing down on the bag until it is no longer inflated.
The other item you absolutely need is plastic wrap. The plastic wrap should be placed on both sides of each cut of meat. Doing that will prevent the cuts of meat from getting stuck to one another.
Cooked Dishes Are Also Candidates for Freezing
Cooked meat dishes can also be frozen and you may even want to do this is if you know you have a busy week ahead and are fearful that you won’t have enough time to cook during the coming weeknights.
To freeze a cooked dish, you first need to keep it in the refrigerator to cool it down. Once it’s cooled down, you have to cover it completely with some plastic wrap. Try to remove as much air as you can while you’re covering the dish.
With the dish completely covered, you can now store it in the freezer until you are ready to chow down.
Freezing meat is a practical way to save money. For those concerned that freezing meat for a long period of time will spoil its flavor, that will only happen if the process was done improperly. By following the proper procedure for freezing meat, you can reduce your expenses significantly while still having flavorful food items just waiting to be cooked whenever hunger hits you.