Whether it’s excess beef, steak, chicken, or fish, you can freeze most meats for later consumption. Freezing meat can save you time and money in the long run. But to do that effectively, you should be aware of the proper way to freeze meat. Most people think that freezing foods can be detrimental to one’s health, but that is not the case. Frozen foods can retain nutrients and freshness over time, and they are as good as fresh food when you defrost it for cooking.
In this blog, we discuss the things you should know about freezing meat, the best way to freeze meat, how to freeze foods, how to freeze chicken and steak, the best ways to freeze cooked chicken, how to freeze cooked meat, how to freeze food without plastic, fresh vs frozen meat, and other necessary information on freezing techniques.
Things You Should Know About Freezing Meat
When you are freezing meat, remember that the shelf time for cooked meat is less than raw meat. This is because some flavors get oxidized in the freezer after a certain period.
Also, if frozen meat has defrosted, you should not refreeze it without cooking it. As the quality or texture of the meat changes every time, the meat is defrosted. When meat is frozen, it creates crystals within the meat since meat has a lot of water content. The crystals break the fiber that causes the meat to disintegrate when it is defrosted. If you repeat the process more than once, the meat will dry up completely.
Best Way to Freeze Meat
First, remove the meat from the plastic after you take the meat home. Then, the meat should be transferred into a non-plastic container and covered with foil. It should be frozen immediately to prevent the formation of ice crystals during the freezing process. Also, raw meat and cooked meat should not be kept together.. The meat should be stored in the freezer at around 0 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
We have already discussed the best way to freeze meat; you should also know the steps to thaw meat perfectly.
Thawing meat in the refrigerator is the perfect way to thaw meat, though it is the slowest thawing technique. You can thaw small frozen pieces overnight in the refrigerator, while larger pieces will take up more time to thaw completely.
You can also thaw meat in the microwave with the defrost setting. You should cook the meat immediately after thawing it in the microwave.
Freezing foods prolongs the tenure of different types of foods, and can help plan your meals effectively. You can easily freeze most types of foods, and some foods can be frozen for a longer duration.
Here is a list of foods that you can freeze:
Raw and cooked meat
Raw and cooked fish
Raw and cooked chicken
How to Freeze Foods?
There are multiple ways to freeze foods, but here are some basic guidelines on how to freeze food:
Keep it cold: The freezer should be at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Don’t put hot food directly in the freezer: Once you have cooked food, you should let it cool properly in the refrigerator before placing it in the freezer.
Wrap the food: Use foil, wraps, and freezer bags to seal the food before placing it in the freezer tightly.
Refrigerator freezing food: After you have refrigerated the cooked food and wrapped it, you can now place it in the freezer for a few months.
Do remember that with raw foods, you can skip the second step entirely.
How to Freeze Cooked Meat?
You can store cooked meat for several months. Place the cooked meat in a covered wrap or in a container and refrigerate the freshly cooked meat within two hours of cooking. Cool the meat to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, then take out the meat from the refrigerator. You can store small portions of cooked meat in airtight Ziploc bags or containers that are safe for freezing. Do remember that any portion that is kept uncovered in the freezer can lead to freezer burn. You can easily freeze cooked meat for up to 3 months.
How to Freeze Chicken?
You can prolong the tenure of cooked or raw chicken by freezing them properly. If you want to freeze raw chicken, then you should remove it from plastic-wrapped containers, and then wrap the chicken with aluminum foil or place the raw chicken directly into airtight freezer bags. You can freeze raw chicken for 9 to 12 months.
Best Way To Freeze Cooked Chicken
You can easily store cooked chicken in the refrigerator for up to two days. After that, it is best to freeze the chicken. Shredded chicken defrosts faster than whole pieces of chicken. To freeze the cooked chicken, you need to place it in airtight ziplock bags. It is best if you can divide the chicken into smaller portions and freeze it. Frozen chicken can easily last 3 months in the freezer if frozen properly.
How to Freeze Beef?
To freeze beef most effectively, do the following:
Prepare your beef for freezing as soon as you bring it home.
Trim the fat near the cuts, level the minced beef, and make meal portions before storing the beef.
Place the beef in airtight freezer bags, and then seal the bags. For an extra layer of protection, wrap it up with foil. You can also buy a domestic vacuum packaging machine to protect the beef from freezer burn, and also to prolong the storage life of the beef.
Label the beef with the weight, date, and name of the cut before freezing it.
The ideal temperature to store frozen beef is 0 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Freeze Steak?
Raw steak is easy and convenient to freeze. First, remove the steak from the plastic wrap or grocery packaging. Then, it is important to wrap the steak for freezing. You need to wrap the steak in two layers; a plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and then place it in an airtight freezer bag. The steak should be tightly wrapped without excess air, as exposure to air can lead to freezer burn. To retain the texture, juiciness, and quality, use frozen steak within 6 months of freezing.
How to Freeze Food Without Plastic?
Even though everyone used plastic bags, wraps, and containers to freeze food, you should not use plastic to freeze food. Plastic can leach harmful chemicals into the food, and that can lead to serious health issues.
Here are a few alternative methods to freeze foods:
Glass - Glass is an easy alternative to plastic bowls or containers. Make sure to use hardened or thick glass to freeze the food.
Stainless Steel Containers - Stainless steel is the perfect way to freeze meat. You can place stainless steel containers directly in the freezer without worry.
Silicone storage bags - Silicone storage bags are a perfect alternative to plastic storage bags. These high-grade silicone bags are made of 100% non-toxic food grade silicone which is entirely safe for freezing food.
Ice Cube Trays or Muffin Tins - If you wish to store perfectly minced meat and other smaller food items, you can use non-plastic ice cube trays or muffin tins. You can store the food in ice cube trays for a prolonged period.
Aluminum Foil- The best way to freeze steaks is to wrap them in aluminum foil, but remember to wrap the steak properly before storing it in the freezer. A single hole in the foil can cause freezer burn.
Fresh vs Frozen Meat
We know that with time, food gets contaminated or loses its nutritional value. But frozen meat can retain more nutrition over time if it is frozen properly and quickly. Freezing slows down the decomposition of meat, and you can retain the nutritional value over a prolonged period of time. The texture of meat changes because of protein, but if it is frozen properly you will not see any noticeable change. If you freeze meat properly, it can be as good as fresh.