Freezing Meat

Meat of all types can be frozen for later use, but there are some considerations to keep in mind. This is a guide about freezing meat.
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January 14, 2009 Flag
2 found this helpful

This is a tip for easy storing and thawing of ground beef, turkey, chicken, or bulk sausage. Divide into 1 lb. portions and place each lb. in a gallon zip lock bag. With the bag zipped closed, flatten by hand or roll meat flat with a rolling pin. The thinner the better! Now the bags can be stored in the freezer stacked flat. They take up much less room. When ready to use, the meat thaws in 15-20 minutes. This works well for dough too. With veggies, spread them out in the bag before freezing.

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January 14, 20090 found this helpful

After you put the meat in the bag and flatten it, use a chopstick, or the handle of a wooden spoon to make indentations to divide the meat into fourths inside the bag. Then, if you don't need a full pound of meat, you can break it off 1/4-lb. at at time for ease.

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January 15, 20090 found this helpful

Thanks for the sensible idea! Good thought. I like the chopstick one, too. We do this with rice. Precook, fill and flatten bags and then freeze. One time we even got it to work with stew! It had to be cooled first, and the ziploc bags were top quality, but it worked.

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February 2, 20090 found this helpful

Thank you for the best tip I've seen in a long time!

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February 2, 20090 found this helpful

Thank you for the best tip I've seen in a long time!

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February 4, 20090 found this helpful

Great ideas for freezing ground beef. I do the same so if I need a little, it's convenient. What I do is make patties out of my ground beef before freezing them. Cut squares of wax paper the size of the pattie and place a piece on each side of the pattie and put the patties in a zip lock bag. The wax paper keeps them from sticking together.

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July 9, 2006 Flag
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Selecting High-Quality Meats:

Select fresh, high quality meats from a reputable butcher, meat packer or grocery store. Cured meats such as ham and bacon can only be frozen for a short period of time (1 to 3 months) because the salt in them hastens rancidity. Organ meats, like liver, tongue, heart, etc., may lose some of their texture during freezing. freezing guide

Preparing for Freezing:

Package meat in convenient, meal-size portions and remove as many bones as possible to save freezer space. Place two layers of freezer paper or wrap between slices or patties of meat so they are easier to separate when frozen and speed thawing. Large game like deer and moose can be frozen the same way as other meats. Small game should be skinned and dressed appropriately before freezing.

Suitable Packaging:

Package the meat in freezer paper or wrap, using either the drugstore or butcher wrap. Freezer bags or containers can be used for ground beef, stew beef or other meats frozen in small portions. Store-bought meats need to be wrapped with additional protection. The clear packaging they normally come packaged in does not provide sufficient moisture-vapor resistant protection for freezing. Meats from a meat packer should come in heavy-duty wrapping, but double check to make sure. If it does, it will not require additional wrapping. Make sure the wrapping is sealed tightly and labeled.

Maximum Storage Time:

If possible, meat should be left in its original packaging when frozen and wrapped again in vapor resistant heavyweight plastic wrap, foil, freezer paper or freezer-grade plastic bags.

Meat TypeRefrigeratorFreezer (0ºF)
Bacon2 weeks1 month
Corned Beef5 to 7 days1 to 2 months
Canned Meat3 to 4 days*3 to 4 months
Chops, Pork & Lamb3 to 5 days4 to 8 months
Cooked Meat2 to 3 days2 to 3 months
Frankfurters3 to 5 days*1 to 2 months
Ground Meats & Stew Meat1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
Ham, Canned1 week*3 to 4 months
Ham, Fully Cooked2 weeks3 to 4 months
Lunch Meat3-5 days*1 month
Pickled Meats (vinegar)2 weeks*
Roasts, Beef, Bison & Pork3 to 5 days9 to 12 months
Sausage (fresh)1 to 2 days1 to 2 months
Sausage, Breakfast Patties/Links1 week2 months
Sausage, Smoked1 week1 to 2 months
Sausage, Summer2 to 3 weeks*6 months
Small Game (rabbits, squirrels, etc.)2 days9 to 12 months
Steaks, Beef & Bison3 to 5 days6 to 12 months
Tofu4 to 5 days6 to 8 weeks
Variety Meats1 to 2 days3 to 4 months
Veal1 to 2 days4 to 6 months
Venison (ground)1 to 2 days2 to 3 months
Venison (steaks, roasts)3 to 5 days9 to 12 months

* opened

Thawing:

All meats should be thawed in their packaging in the refrigerator. For microwave defrosting, remove packaging and refer to your manufacturers recommendations for settings. If meat is in a waterproof package and you need it quickly, run it under cold water or submerge it in a cold water bath for faster thawing.

Tips & Shortcuts:

Freezing tends to damage the texture of organ meats like live, heart, brains, tongue, and kidneys. If freezing these meats is necessary, trim all excess fat, wrap in an airtight package and freeze as rapidly as possible.

Refrigerating Meat:

Ideally, meat should be stored in its original package. Once it has been opened, it is necessary to rewrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil, or pack it in an airtight container.
May 1, 20050 found this helpful

Buy in bulk and then wrap in plastic wrap (cheap stuff works just as well as "name brand") to cover ALL of the meat, NO air pockets, then wrap in freezer paper. Label and freeze. If you miss a spot then there will be air on the meat and you will get freezer burn on that spot. Meat wrapped this way can stay good in the freezer for 3 or 4 years.

Note: the more fat in the meat the less time in the freezer it will stay fresh. For example: pork tastes old faster than venison...more fat throughout the pork.

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May 4, 20050 found this helpful

Don't forget to write the date on your packaging! - I use sandwich bags and have meat and leftovers from months ago...(note to oneself...must have a clean out soon!!!)

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August 24, 20070 found this helpful

Um... what about chicken? It's not on the table...

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April 28, 20080 found this helpful

Can sausage be refrozen?

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June 20, 20080 found this helpful

How safe is it to re-freeze thawed meat?

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February 15, 20090 found this helpful

August 4, 2005 Flag
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We like to marinate meats for the grill, but we usually forget to thaw and marinate it ahead of time.

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June 29, 2011 Flag
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Can you freeze deli meats like bologna, ham, roast beef and sliced cheese? Thanks.

By Pamela

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June 30, 20110 found this helpful

I do. The cheese gets more fragile, crumbles more easily after freezing. The meat tastes about the same. Just bag it well to keep the air out.

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June 30, 20110 found this helpful

Yes and most cheese freezes beautifully. I buy a two pound loaf of sliced sheese and freeze it in two inch stacks. The important thing to remember about lunch meat is to freeze it in packs no larger than you can eat in a few days.

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June 30, 20110 found this helpful

ya you can I do it and when you want to use one just take it out the day before and let it thaw and you can use it the next day!

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July 1, 20110 found this helpful

Freezing cheese cuts down on the flavor slightly but I still do it.

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September 4, 2004 Flag
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When I purchase family packs of meat I individually wrap 1 meal servings in plastic wrap and then in TinFoil (shiny side out). I have never had freezer burned food. Katz from Alberta

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June 9, 2013 Flag
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Super simple way I save time and money. I buy meats on sale; ground beef, chops and even poultry in larger packages, since it is usually cheaper in larger amounts. I don't have the time nor do I want to pay to rewrap everything in smaller or single serving sizes.

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July 8, 2008 Flag
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Wrap all meat products well before you freeze them. This prevents flavor changes and drying of the meat. Heavy duty foil and coated freezer paper are excellent barriers to both air and moisture.

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