If you’re no professional chef but are planning to cook meat for your meals, then it is likely that you’ve been reading plenty of DIY tips and tricks regarding what you can do with your burgers, steaks, and other cuts of meat. At this point, learning how to store meat properly is probably the last thing on your mind.
However, this doesn’t change the fact that proper meat storage is important. Keeping meat tucked away in your freezer correctly will help you avoid mislabeling headaches, or worse — finding out that they have gone bad because of improper storage.
Of course, you also need to learn about standard meat freezing protocols if you’re running a restaurant or any other form of food service establishment. So, whether you’re seeking to stash meat for personal consumption or business, you must learn the correct way to store meat in a freezer.
Ready to learn how you can keep frozen meat at their optimum quality? Here are five best practices we recommend for meat storage when using a commercial freezer:
One of the most cost-efficient ways to ensure that stored meat remains fresh and of high quality as the day they were bought is to keep the meat airtight. To do this, wrap it securely using wax paper before placing it inside the freezer. This can help prevent freezer burn.
The air can affect the quality of meat while in cold storage. When exposed to dry air for an extended period inside the freezer, the meat oxidizes and gets dehydrated. While you can still eat the frozen meat even after this happens, it would no longer taste as good as when you bought it from your trusted grocery store or wholesale food supplier.
This is one of the major reasons why you should invest in wax paper. But not just any wax paper; choose ones that are butcher-approved to ensure that your store-bought meat stays delicious even without the permeable packaging most grocery stores use for their meat cuts.
When choosing a freezer or butcher wax paper, make sure that one side is substantiated with a wax coating. This should be the side that touches the meat when you pack them before freezing. You can also do this with plastic-wrapped meat as an added measure to ensure their quality.
After taping the meat shut that has been securely wrapped in butcher-grade wax paper, you must also remember to mark the date on the package clearly. Don’t forget to write down the kind of meat contained in the package. This way, you’ll know exactly what’s inside and avoid unnecessarily opening the package.
Another tip to ensure that meat is kept at its best quality when stored in a commercial freezer is to freeze it as quickly as possible. This process, called blast freezing, can help preserve the meat for future consumption without sacrificing the flavor and texture. It also inhibits bacterial growth that can compromise the quality of meat.
You also need to freeze meat at the ideal temperature of -18°C. This can further help prevent pathogen growth that may cause food-borne illnesses.
Another important thing you should learn before freezing meat is the lifespan of each type of meat. Remember that not all meat is the same, and storage times vary as well.
Different meats have varying water and fat content, both of which are determining factors for proper freezer storage. The size of the cut and whether or not it has bones also matter when determining the length of time meat needs to undergo blast freezing, as well as the period for which it can be stored.
Check out the freezer lifespan of some meat products below:
For beef and lamb, the storage times can be longer because of the hard, partially saturated fats that they contain. On the other hand, younger meats like pork and veal tend to deteriorate faster since they have less saturated fat content.
Bigger cuts of meat also have a longer storage lifespan compared to smaller ones primarily because they take more time to blast freeze. This explains why minced beef has half the lifespan or regular-cut beef.
Last but certainly not the least of the things you should remember when keeping meat in the freezer is to avoid overcrowding them. Cold storage units, especially those used in restaurants and commercial establishments, have recommended weights that should be heeded. This is because overfilling the freezer can cause a slower freezing action that may leave the meat unfit for consumption.
As paradoxical as it may seem, keeping meat fresh in the freezer is something that can be achieved when best practices are observed.
Here at Bidfood, we offer more than competitive prices and the best quality meat sold in bulk; you also get sound advice on how to get the most out of your purchase. Send us a message for inquiries on our frozen meat and other food products. We’d love to hear from you.