FoodSmart freezing. The safe way to extend meat's shelf life

Smart freezing. The safe way to extend meat's shelf life

How to correctly freeze meat?
How to correctly freeze meat?
Images source: © Adobe Stock | qwartm

2:55 PM EDT, April 30, 2024

Freezing is one of the preferred methods for prolonging the shelf life of various food items, including fruits, vegetables, and, notably, meat. However, the topic of freezing meat often sparks debate due to common misconceptions and practices that can pose serious health risks.

A decrease in meat prices often leads many to stock up and freeze their purchases as a cost and time-saving measure. Freezing can preserve meat for up to a year, depending on the packaging material used. But what is the correct way to freeze meat to prevent spoilage? Let's delve into this.

Freezing as a food preservation method gained popularity about a century ago, thanks to Clarence Birdseye. Inspired by the Inuit method of fishing and freezing under thick ice in the 1920s, Birdseye developed and patented a freezing technique still used today. This method allows almost any food item, including fruits, vegetables, ready meals, and various meats, to be preserved without losing nutritional value.

Regarding the duration, meat can remain frozen without losing quality; beef and veal can be kept for up to eight months, pork for six months, and poultry and fish for about four weeks. Labelling each item with the freezing date is important to ensure safety and quality.

Freezing meat might seem straightforward, but common mistakes can lead to contamination and foodborne illnesses. The key to proper freezing lies in the preparation and packaging of the meat. Using materials such as aluminium foil or plastic wrap and avoiding shopping bags, which offer insufficient protection against bacteria, is fundamental. The correct approach includes washing, drying, trimming excess fat from the meat, and securely packing it in a zip-lock bag. This method ensures the meat's safety from bacterial spread and maintains its quality.

By following these guidelines, you can confidently freeze meat, knowing it will be safe to consume and as nutritious as the day it was packed, mitigating any health risks associated with improper food preservation.
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