Freezing Meats and Storage Times

Meats purchased from supermarkets, butchers or wholesale outlets are packaged individually or in family packages. With a thin plastic wrapping over a Styrofoam plate; this is not the ideal wrapping for freezing meats. With prices soaring, it is best to rewrap the meat into dinner portions enough for the family. What are the best ways to wrap meat? How long can it be kept in the freezer? These are questions that many wonder about and at times take chances which usually results in freezer burn and wasted food and money.

Wrapping meats

If a package of meat is purchased and the store wrapping is secure and air-tight it can be frozen for only one to two weeks. Then it needs to be thawed and cooked as it will not keep well.

When meats are purchased in bulk it is best to rewrap them making sure no air is left inside. Never wrap the meat just once. The cold air will loosen the wrapping at some point and that is where freezer burns begin. Always wrap twice by using a good plastic wrap, freezer wrap or even freezer bags. A vacuum sealed bag is best if a seal-a ‘”meal or vacuum sealer is an appliance that is available. If not, it is a great investment and product to have handy.

Never just wrap using aluminum foil or waxed paper alone. Both of these wrapping materials are not vapor or moisture proof. Therefore allowing moisture through these materials will put the meat in danger of spoiling in the freezer. With waxed paper wrappings; usually used to separate hamburger patties, always wrap again with plastic wrap. Any item wrapped in aluminum foil should first be wrapped with plastic wrap to prevent moisture from getting inside.

Waxed paper, since it is not moisture proof shouldn’t be used in the freezer. Freezer paper or parchment paper are better choices for the first wrapping, and then cover in plastic wrap for best results.

Storage times

Knowing how long meat can remain frozen will save money and make planning meals easier. Remember to add labels that include what meat was wrapped, when it was wrapped and if possible how long it can stay frozen for. Place like items together or place them in the freezer according to the maximum times allowed for storage.

Bacon (6 months)

Beef (6-8) months

Chicken (6-12) months

Game hens (4-6) months

Giblets (4 months)

Ground beef (3-4) months

Ham (6-12) months

Hearts (3-4) months

Hot dogs (4-6) months

Lamb (6-7) months

Liver (3-4) months

Pork (3-4) months

Quail (6 months)

Rabbit (6 months)

Sausage (6 months)

Tongue (3-4) months

Turkey (6-12) months

Veal (3-4) months

Venison (6-8) months

We all know how important it is to preserve our investments and the food we purchase is no different. Purchasing meats on sale at the local Winona SuperValu or driving to Grenada to take advantage of the special at Spain’s market or the Grocery Basket is vital to the budget and meal planning. Taking proper storage care is essential. Not only do these stores provide choice meats for our meals they also sell the various wrappings needed to store the meat properly once they arrive in our homes.

Enjoy these tips and the savings they will provide!