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Storing, freezing and thawing meat

Storing iconStoring Meat

  • Plastic will make the meat sweat. Remove meat from it's plastic as soon as possible after buying and store in the fridge. 
  • Meat should be transferred to a non-plastic dish and covered with foil or loosely covered with plastic to allow some air flow. 
  • Raw and cooked meat should be stored separately. 
  • Fresh meat will keep 3 - 5 days in the fridge. Cooked meat 5 - 7 days.

Freezing iconFreezing & Refreezing Meat

  • Depending on the cut, uncooked meat can be stored up to 6 months in the freezer. Larger cuts, like steaks and roasts, can be safely stored for up to 6 months. Smaller cuts, such as beef steaks, should not be frozen for more than 4 months, and minced meat should not be frozen for more than 3 months. 
  •  Meat stored in the freezer should be kept at 0† F (-18°C). 
  •  Freezer storage times for cooked meats are shorter than raw meat due to what's known as flavour taint. Certain flavours oxidise in the freezer after a period of time.
  • If frozen meat has defrosted, refreezing is not recommended unless it is cooked first, for a number of reasons: 
  • The quality suffers each time frozen meat is defrosted and refrozen. Freezing creates ice crystals within the structure of the meat (as meat contains a high percentage of water). These ice crystals rupture the fibre which causes the meat to bleed when defrosted. If repeated, the texture of the meat will be very dry. 
  • Never refreeze meat which has been thawed and held at room temperature.

Thawing MeatThawing Meat

  • In the refrigerator: Plan ahead as this is the slowest thawing technique. Small frozen items may thaw overnight in the refrigerator, while larger items will take significantly longer. 
  • In a microwave on the defrost setting: Plan to cook the food immediately after it has thawed in a microwave, because some areas of the food may have begun cooking during the defrost cycle.
  • Meat should not be thawed at room temperature on the kitchen counter. Meat that has been thawed in the fridge will keep for a few days. Meat thawed more quickly should be used immediately. Thawed meat should not be re-frozen in it's uncooked state.