February 13, 2021 10:55 AM CST
Written by Emily C / February 12, 2021
There are a lot of unwritten rules when it comes to freezing food, especially meat. While meat is sold at stores fresh, frozen, raw, and cooked we can give you all the information you need to make sure that the meat you buy is safe to eat and how to freeze, thaw, cook, and refreeze the meat that you purchase.
When meat is frozen:
Did you know that when you freeze meat, you are slowing down the yeast and bacteria, but they are still present? Nutritional content is not changed during the freezing process, however when you freeze meat, the freezing forms sharp ice crystals inside the meat and cause fibers to break down.
Here’s a tip to never waste a single steak! To prevent damage to the meat you are freezing, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or bags to keep the air out. Keeping out the air will prevent freezer burn which is what severely discolors and dries out the meat. Although, this meat is still safe to eat when you cut away the colored pieces and thaw it.
The best way to thaw frozen meat is to place the meat in the fridge 1 to 2 days before cooking. You can also place it in a bath of cold water, or thawing in the microwave - just be careful not to cook it if you would be doing it this way. Make sure that you never thaw meat at room temperature. Larger meats will require a longer defrost time compared to smaller pieces of meat and they will thaw at different rates.
The USDA has acknowledged that it is safe to refreeze cooked or raw meat; however, there are conditions to this. If the meat was defrosted in the fridge and you decided not to cook it, you can place it back in the freezer with no issue. You can also safely freeze any meat that has already been cooked as long as it is frozen within two hours of it being cooked.