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 Preparing Meat for your Freezer

Meat is one of the best foods for freezing because buying larger quantities of fresh meat and freezing it is very economical.

As well as fresh meat, large portions of cooked meat dishes can be prepared, frozen and defrosted whenever required.

Few of us have the facilities, equipment or knowledge to cut up and de-bone a large portion of meat. The best alternative is to ask your butcher to do this for you. This will take him time, so be prepared to pay for the service.

Which Meat to Choose
Kineton butcher boning and rolling sirloin joint
Always select meat which is in the best condition possible. If it is packed, frozen and then thawed as we describe below it will be virtually as good as the fresh product.

Wherever possible it's best to choose meat which is already boned (or small enough for you to removed the bones). Freezing meat on the bone simply takes up valuable freezer space with no corresponding benefits.

Use the chart below when deciding which meat you want to freeze because storage times differ considerably. The principal factor in storage times is the fat content of the meat. The higher the fat content, the shorter the storage time. Another factor is seasoning. The more highly seasoned the meat (e.g. sausages) the shorter is the safe freezing time. The table below assumes a constant freezer temperature of -20F.

Type of Meat

Maximum Storage Months

Beef joints and steaks 8 to 12 months
Minced beef 3 months
Joints of pork (shoulder, leg etc) 4 to 8 months
Pork chops 3 to 4 months
Bacon 1 month
Lamb chops 3 to 4 months
Joints of lamb (shoulder, leg etc) 6 to 9 months
Minced or cubed lamb 3 to 4 months
Veal joints 4 to 8 months
Veal steaks 3 to 4 months
Meat based soups 2 to 3 months
Meat pies 1 to 2 months
Sausages 1 to 2 months

Basic Principles of Freezing Meat
1. Prepare and freeze meat as soon as is possible. The longer meat is stored unfrozen the lower is the quality.

2. When buying meat, first consider how long it will take to freeze. Only buy as much meat as you can safely freeze. Large portions of meat cannot be frozen in one go. See our article on fast-freezing for more details.

3. Freeze in portions only large enough for one meal or cooking session.

4. Separate chops steaks etc. with greaseproof paper so that they can be separated easily when thawing.

5. Fat has a much shorter freezer life compared to lean meat. trim off excess fat before freezing.

6. Seasoned food also has shorter freezer life compared to unseasoned food. Leave all seasoning to the cooking process.

We have divided up the various methods of freezing meat into three separate sections. Click below on a section for step by step instructions on how to freeze that type of meat

  1. Joints
  2. Minced meat, chops, steaks, meat pies, bacon
  3. Cooked meat dishes

BACK TO FREEZE FOOD INDEX PAGE
 

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