If you own a butcher’s shop, you must have a lot of storage facility for the meat that you procure. Although you might know all the basics of meat storage, you might encounter a lot of customers who are new to cooking or purchasing meat. At such times, it is important for you to give them effective and quick tips for storage and thawing of meat for their home and kitchen use.
Storage of Meat
One most important that rule everyone should know about storage of meat is raw meat and cooked meat should always be stored separately.
Some other tips that should be always followed are:
- Meat should never be stored in plastic. This is because meat tends to sweat in plastic. Thus, even if you purchase meat in a plastic bag, it is important to remove it from the plastic cover before storing it.
- When storing meat, transfer it into a non-plastic container and cover it with a loose foil before storing. This allows some air flow and prevents meat from contamination.
- Uncooked meat can be stored to up to six months in the freezer. But it highly depends on the cut of the meat.
Usually you can safely store the different cuts of meat for the time frames mentioned below:
- Larger cuts like steak and roasts – up to 6 months
- Smaller cuts like beef steaks – up to 4 months
- Minced meat – up to 3 months
- The meat that you store in the freezer should have a temperature maintained at -18 degree Celsius for optimum results.
- Avoid multiple defrosting and freezing sessions. Each time the meat is defrosted and refrozen, its quality degrades a little. There is a scientific reason for this. Meat is known to have high water content. Freezing meat results in creation of ice crystals within the meat. These crystals end up rupturing the fibre content in the meat. This can cause the meat to bleed when it is defrosted. Each time the process is repeated, the meat gets dryer and ends up losing its juices and nutrients.
How to thaw meat
Firstly, note that you should not thaw meat at room temperature on the kitchen counter. There are two easy ways to thaw meat: refrigeration and microwaving
If you wish to thaw the meat in refrigerator, make sure you have enough time on hands as this is one of the slowest thawing techniques. Frozen items that are small in size can thaw overnight. Larger items take a bit longer as compare to the smaller items. Also, it is important to note that meat once thawed should not be refrozen in an uncooked state.
However, when you thaw in the microwave using the defrost setting, you must cook the meat immediately. This is because the meat starts cooking during the defrosting cycle.