How do you freeze your store bought meat

obrionusaDecember 14, 2011

I always bought my beef from a local farmer and had it processed and packaged from a meat locker. Well, I dont have the money to do it this year and Im planning on buying what cuts I like on sale at the grocer, freeze it and use it at a later time. My past experience doing it this way is it gets freezer burnt real easy and doesnt store near as long as the meat locker. Would wrapping it in freezer wrap or newspapers help?

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I always buy meats and fish on sale (if it isn't something that DH has shot). Either way I use a "Seal A Meal" Sealing system to vacuum seal all our meats, fish, veggies etc. for the freezer. They don't get freezer burnt and I can label and date them so I know what is in the freezer. I then make a list of every thing in the freezer so items don't get "lost" or forgotten in there.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 9:18AM
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I forgot to tell you it's a "Food Saver"
Here's a link they are having a sale right now.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 9:22AM
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I don't have a food saver....I wrap in saran, then foil....and it it's small stuff like steaks or chicken breasts portions, I them bag in a freezer plastic bag, the foil wrapped portions.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 9:35AM
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I wrap in saran or put in a sandwich bag to flash freeze on a cookie sheet. Then, when frozen, I put in a freezer weight zip bag and seal, getting as much air out as possible. If I have several packages of the same item, I will put all of them in one large freezer bag. Sometimes I use the Food Saver machine and bags when I have time.

Over wrap/double wrap....that's the way to less freezer burn!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:27AM
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Another trick: fill a pot with tap water. Put your food in a Ziplock bag, and close the seal except for about an inch. Holding the bag by the seal, with the small opening up, put the bag in the water. The weight of the water will displace most of the air; as you lower the bag into the water, once you get to the bag opening the water will have squeezed out most of the water. Not as elegant or effective as a Food Saver, but it helps.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 11:35AM
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My beef comes packaged in shrink wrap from my processor, so I'm good, but I do have a Food Saver. I seldom use it, mostly because my meat comes already shrink wrapped.

Anyway, if you don't have one, my extension service says that you can put a plastic straw into the open corner of a ziplock bag. Zip closed all the way to the corner and suck the air out, the remove the straw and seal it up. not as good as a FoodSaver but still better than just sealing up the bag. I was also told to wrap in saran wrap first, then seal in the plastic bag, you'll get a longer shelf life.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 2:40PM
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We buy our meat in bulk. When we get it home, Wayne cuts it into family sized portions, wraps some saran wrap around it and then vacs it with the Food Saver. It gets labeled and into the freezer it goes. Best small appliance we ever bought! We have had one for many, many years. If and when this one goes the new SS upright one will be on my Christmas list. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 5:03PM
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Another one who double wraps and then into a freezer bag like Linda and Teresa mentioned. I still have a food saver on my wish list though. Also, when I bought my deep freeze I didn't buy a frost free one. Read some where that the manual defrost freezers keep things better.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 6:06PM
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I do almost the same as arley.

First, it is not vacuum seal with Foodsaver type of bagging. It is basically air removal, not vacuum. If it is vacuum, the food would be squeezed by about 14 lbs per sq. in. of pressure on both sides.

I use thin veggie bags, put the food in the bag and dump the bag in water, The water pressure squeeze out the air, twist the bag to keep it air tight, then it goes in the freezer. No freezer burns.


    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 6:16PM
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I have a manual defrost freezer like David. I would not have a frost free one because foods do freezer burn more quickly in them.

I do like many of the others--wrap meat in saran or place smaller portions into sandwich bags. I like the foldover style. I save all the cereal & cracker inner bags we get and use those to freeze meat in, sealing them w/ a Foodsaver. You need to cut the bottom & top off the bags & lay them out flat, with the factory seam to one side, & re-seal a new bottom. Stuff my food into them, squeeze out most of the air & seal the top. You can also seal the top & snip off the corner just enough so you can slip a straw into the bag & suck out the air & then quickly seal across the corner w/ the Foodsaver.

I'd never thunk of using water to displace the air in Zip-Locs. What a great idea, guys! I'm going to try that, for sure.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 7:03PM
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obrion, any time I've had meat butchered and wrapped it has come back to me in paper, waxed or plastic coated on the side facing the meat. Occasionally the ground meat will come in plastic bags, like short tubes....

The butcher we used to use would let me stand and wrap as he cut to save money on the wrapping. I can do the same thing at home with sale cuts of gro store meat with a roll of butchers freezer wrap - available in bulk some places (like Costco) but every grocery store should have a brand too, like Reynolds. Look on the bottom shelf in the section with plastic and aluminum foil rolls...

I have a food saver and like that for chicken, fish, odd shaped cuts beef like rib steaks and rib roasts, but I'll wrap in butchers paper too - meat is air tight and good for a year in a manual defrost freezer if you do it well.

Tear off paper, too much isn't any better than too little :) You'll want masking tape too and something to write boldly on the packages....

Start in the corner and begin to roll/wrap diagonally, make a complete turn and then fold the sides snugly over the meat, continue to roll (tug remaining paper one hand while you hold the meat with the other to keep some tension if you have to, until you come to that pointed 'paper tip' to tape...You want to end with a dense snugly fit package, no loose paper or sloppy folds to hold air.

Here is a link that might be useful: Drawing here, paper wrapping meat

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 9:37PM
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I also use a Food Saver vac thingie. BUT ARLY... you're a GENIUS with that freezer bag in water idea!!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 12:59AM
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I've used various methods, but have used the "double wrap" the most successfully. I wrap the meat in either waxed paper or foil, and then place inside Ziploc or Glad freezer bags (I personally like Ziploc best). I label and date the food and try to use the older stuff first.

Rarely has there been a problem with freezer burn unless there was a hole that got poked in the bag, or the zipper unzipped.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 11:18PM
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I have a Food Saver, and it is one of the best investments that I have ever made !! It is several years old and is still going strong. An investment that pays for its self with use.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 12:21PM
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I throw it directly into the freezer from the store. They shrink wrap it, no? once in a while, I'll ask the butcher to freeze wrap it. But most of the time, it goes from the shopping cart to the freezer.

Tell me honestly, what do you think is going to happen to that meat? Let's hear your stories. What will happen to the family who eats that meat? My family?

P.S. Give some thought to modern packaging methods. And some additional thought to modern freezers. And schedules.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 3:01AM
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Unless I buy in bulk, I usually just throw it in the freezer as is like westsider40 said. If I buy bulk, I will freeze it in freezer bags with the air pushed out. I don't leave it in the freezer too long before using it though. I've never had a problem with ruined meats and I've always done it this way. I understand a manual defrost freezer is best for longer storage? I just have a tiny chest freezer but it's really all my husband and I need. Stores are very close by.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 8:05AM
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In response to westsider40's questions:

~ if you are going to use the package of frozen meat within 2 weeks, then maybe there won't be any freezer burn in that short amount of time - but....there is often some air space over the pieces or portion of meat and that is why many of us recommend wrapping with foil or plastic wrap which will be in contact with the surface of the meat and eliminate that air space

~ I think many of us repackage our meat purchases to reflect our cooking needs, i.e. we only need 2 pork chops per meal instead of the six that came in one package or as I did last week, I repackaged 2 lbs. of ground round into 3 separate packages for later use in chili, spaghetti sauce, etc.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 9:06AM
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You might find the information at the link below helpful. I've been using a FoodSaver for freezer storage, as well as dry goods, for 25-years, so you could say I'm "sold" on the method. -Grainlady

Here is a link that might be useful: The Reluctant Gourmet - FoodSaver

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 10:15AM
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Westsider--Three reasons why I repackage meats for the freezer. One is to better protect from freezer burn. The packaging from the meat case leaves a lot of air around the meat & air is the enemy in preventing freezer burn.

Second almost equally large reason is to conserve freezer space. Those styrofoam meat trays consume a lot of freezer real estate. My freezer is almost always bulging at the seams.

Already mentioned third important reason is dividing bulk purchases into meal-sized pkgs.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 12:05PM
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Another way to prevent freezer burn is to freeze meat in a lot of water.

In other words, cover the meat with ice.


    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 3:57PM
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A food saver sealer is a real investment in keeping meat fresh and freezer burn free in your freezer for years.

I recently discovered a steak in the bottom of my deep freeze that was dated Jan 2007. I defrosted it and it was absolutely fine! I wouldn't tend to keep anything that long again, but I swear by my food saver, it's been one of the most used appliances I have ever bought. I'm not a kitchen "gadget" person at all (chop everything by hand!) but this is worth it, we never throw meats away which have been vaccum sealed with the food saver.

TIP: I store it under the counter cabinet in a place easily accessible so that I can grab and use it very quickly and easily. I used to keep it in my pantry closet and it collected dust - I just never thought about it.

My neighbor has one of the cheap, hand held vaccum things for zip lock bags and isn't happy at all with it, the vaccum seal breaks too often and then the food dries out badly.

I can buy meats on sale, divide them into the portion sizes I wish, wash and dry them and seal them up, I.
D. them as to type and how much ("rainbow trout, one meal for 2" for example) and date them with an indelible marker and they are fine for YEARS in the freezer. I also make up lasagnas etc this way and meat loafs etc.

It's really a wonderful way to take food out of your freezer and have it as fresh tasting as the day you put it in.

I realize I'm sounding awfully enthusiastic, I don't sell this product or have a connection to it other than as a customer but when I find something I really like I like to spread the word.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 2:38PM
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westsider, even freezer burned meat is perfectly safe to eat, it's just not as good. Another reason for repackaging or overwrapping is that the grocery store plastic wrap is very thin and easily punctured and somehow, whenever I toss a package from the grocery directly into the freezer, it ends up with a hole punctured in it from something else next to it or on top of it, like a box of ice cream bars or a plastic container of freezer jam or frozen berries.

Elery just smoked two whole pork bellies, so we're slicing and freezing bacon tonight, and he wants to use the Foodsaver. (sigh) I can never get the blasted thing to work and keep a seal, so tonight I'm running the meat slicer and HE'S using the FoodSaver! Then next week, when 75% of the seals have failed, I'll stick it all in ziplock bags, so thanks for that water trick, Arley.

Yes, it's my SECOND FoodSaver, the first one didn't work at all so I'm improving with a 25% success rate. Oh, and their customer service sucks too. I'm the only person in the world, I think, that hates the FoodSaver. So what did Elery's daughter get me for Christmas? The deli container and attachment for lids/jars, LOL.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 3:23PM
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Thanks, everyone. I have never had freezerburn on any meats.

Iirc, ground beef is packaged with very little air around it. Very little styrofoam.

I also think that the butchers wrap meat tightly in plastic and then put a second coat of plastic around it. I hope I don't sound like a snotty snob but I think it's pretty well super wrapped here, in my fancy supermarkets. Hey, I don't know.

Seems ok, toss in freezer. pERHAPS, I am wrong.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 1:16AM
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On the Foodsaver, be sure that you freeze your meats long enough to freeze the juices before you use the foodsaver, I figure about two hours in my freezer does the trick. If anything at all gets into the fine line of the seal, including juices, then the seal will break and that can be frustrating,.......most especially when you find that you have to reseal an entire sprial ham you carefully divided up into portions and then spent the time sealing up!

For something like a spiral ham, I place all the slices in a huge pan for an hour or so and then only a few individual portions of itfrom the freezer, time it so that it all won't freeze together making it impossible to pull apart but also so it won't defrost enough for the juices to be sucked up into the seal.

It really is incredibly important to keep the seal free from seepage or bits of food/grease to insure a tight seal. I also keep lots of paper towels around to wipe hands and the sealer frequently when sealing a lot of meat at one sitting. Once you get the hang of using it, it's a wonderful tool and using it for small jobs like just a couple of steaks you bought and stuck in the freezer for an hour or two is VERY fast and easy.

I can't stand the taste of freezer burn, I've tried using it in different ways and perhaps it's really just in my head, but I don't care for it at all, so it gets thrown away which is just terrible waste.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 11:56AM
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I use tinfoil. Wrapped tightly around the meat, masking tape across the seam, then labelled with a magic marker.

A bit of running water loosens any sections that are sticking to the meat.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 1:06PM
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I do the same basic as many here. Saran wrap, sometimes foil depending and freezer ziploc.
I close the ziplock down to about the last half inch, push the open ends together a bit so it pooches and then suck the air out manually with my mouth (don't breath in first, sort of defeats the purpose, quick close. Not 100% like a machine but probably 90% and that seems to help with freezer burn quite a bit. Alton Brown uses a straw, whatever:)

    Bookmark   December 21, 2011 at 6:15PM
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