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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Store Bought Meats

Frugal Kitchens 101
A good portion of the meat we buy is bought on the hoof then cut, wrapped and frozen by the abattoir. The meat comes packaged in butcher's wrap which is a heavy pinky tan paper coated with wax on one side. Any meat we buy from the butcher shop is wrapped in the same paper suitable for short term storage or freeezing. However, when we buy boxed meats (eg. burger patties, pork kabobs) they come in a box that is lined with a sheet of plastic wrap that comes up and over the meat. Once opened the plastic can be tightened down but is not enough to prevent freezer burn. Store bought meats present another problem. Some ground meats come in tubes that can be frozen as is but others come on foam trays with flimsy plastic wrap protecting the meat. In addition this chicken from the farmer or store bought usually comes in plastic bags. Store bought meats and poultry presents a problem when storing in the freezer because the packaging is only meant for short term storage.

When you buy fresh meat or poultry at the store you should do the following when you get home:

  • Refrigerate it immediatly.
  • Cryovac (vacuum sealed) fresh meats (eg. hams, roasts, bacon) can be froze as is without a problem.
  • If you are planning on freezing the meat for later use, remove it from store packaging unless it is vacuum sealed. Store meat packaging is meant for short term storage only. Dry with a paper towel. If special cutting, do so then. Package into vacuum sealer bags in meal sized portions then vacuum seal. Air is the enemy in the freezer as it causes freezer burn. Vaccum sealing eliminates the air so the product keep longer. An alternative to vacuum sealer bags is to use the freezer zipper bags and remove as much air as possible before closing.
When buying frozen meats at the grocery store you should:
  • Any cryovac (vacuum sealed) frozen meats can go into the freezer as is. Ground meat in tubes can also be frozen as is.
  • Any frozen meats such as burger patties, bulk bacon and boxed meets should be divided into meal sized servings then vacuum sealed. Aside of better protection against freezer burn they take up less room this way.

2 food lovers commented:

A Year on the Grill said...

Great tips... i have a freezer full of commercially wrapped meat... but from now on, will redo

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Dave :)