Using these tips to keep your meats fresh in the freezer will save you tons of money over the years.
Proper freezing of foods will help save you tons of money and better prepare you for good food storage in the future.
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We always talk about “filling our freezer” with wild game harvested during the season, but what could we do to improve that time spent in sub-freezing temps?
The best approach to save meats is to freeze them within two days after processing. If they have been exposed to air you can simply re wrap them and freeze them.
In order to preserve meat or other foods the longest, you need to make sure of several things. First, make sure to check the temperature of the freezer, it should be at zero degrees.
Second, make sure that you have a alternative means to power your freezer in the event of a power outage. A common misconception about frozen foods is that once they are frozen and thawed they can not be re-frozen, this is false and foods that are thawed can definitely be re-frozen.
To best prepare foods for freezing is to purchase a food vacuum sealer. Any time you can remove the air from food and reduce the moisture you guarantee a much longer shelf life in the freezer.
Foodsaver brand is one of the most common Vacuum sealers on the market, but brands like Kenmore, Seal-O-Meal and many more are on the market. I personally have own two Foodsavers over the last 20 years and wouldn’t be without one again.
If you don’t want to purchase a vacuum sealer, than make sure to purchase specially designed freezer bags to store your food. These bags are stronger and prevent air from getting in, causing that terrible freezer burn.
When you package your food into freezer bags try to remove as much air as possible in each bag before sealing them. You should also us a bread cooling rack to place meats on to initially freeze meats or other items on. Using a rack to freeze foods you allow the cold air to circulate around the food to help freeze evenly.
After 10 hours or so in the freezer you can remove the meat from the cooling rack and stack in the freezer with the rest of your frozen foods. This allows the formation of ice crystals in the correct shape to preserve foods for even longer periods.
Storing smoked or dried meats like jerky is also a concern, yet these items are best preserved in the freezer the same manner as the rest.
A bit off topic, but there are additional steps involved in freezing freezing fresh produce and vegetables. During the peak gardening season, fresh fruits like berries and melons are great to have in the middle of winter.
Fruits and berries should be rinsed off thoroughly first and patted dry to remove as much moisture as possible, than place them on a sheet pan and flash freeze them for a couple hours prior to packaging. This allows you to package them so that you can remove them from the package and use a little or a lot and they won’t all be clumped together.
Fresh melons should be cut into pieces and flash frozen in the same manner prior to packing in freezer bags and freezing.
Fresh vegetables as also a great item to have. But you should first clean them thoroughly and blanch them in boiling water.
After cooking for a few minutes put your vegetables in a ice bath to quickly bring them back to room temp before freezing them.
You can also view more tips on freezing foods at the USDA Website.