As we have known, meat can be stored safely for weeks, months, or even years if you preserve it properly. In general, keeping meat cold in a freezer is the most popular method. However, there are many other ways to preserve meat. Let’s check our guide on how to preserve meat by two ways step by step.
Store Meat by Freezing
Prepare meat before freezing. To avoid freezer burn, you should prepare and package the meat before placing it in the freezer. Meat and poultry will be frozen in the store packaging but you should over-wrap the packaging to ensure that no air can enter the package. Choose plastic bags and heavy duty aluminum foil which specially designed for freezer use to over-wrap.
You can’t preserve meat forever in a freezer so you need to know how long you can safely store frozen meat. In general, you can keep uncooked meat (such as steaks or chops) frozen safely for 4-12 months. But uncooked ground meat can only be kept safely for 3-4 months. You should store cooked meat for 2-3 months and keep poultry (cooked and uncooked) frozen for 3-12 months. In the other side, you can preserve the wild game for approximately 8-12 months.
Last but not least, when you preserve meat, you have to know how to thaw meat in the right way. Thawing meat properly will help reduce the chance of food-borne illness. You can do it in the refrigerator. Plan ahead because it takes quite a lot of time. Large items such as turkeys will take you about 24 hours to thaw in this way. Moreover, you can defrost by submerging the meat (in air-tight packaging) in cold water. Remember to change the water every 30 minutes until completely thawed. Besides, you can defrost meat in a microwave but remember to cook it immediately. Microwaves do it unevenly and it may lead to cook parts of the meat. You should check how to cook the meat right for your perfect meal for better.
Preserve Meat with Salt
Cure meat with salt. This is one of the oldest ways to preserve meat for a long time. You should use curing salt which can be often purchased online through retailers. First of all, place pieces of meat in plastic storage bags or air-tight storage jars. Make sure that you have fully covered the meat with salt. Don’t forget to alternate layers of meat and salt to make sure that all parts of the meat are covered in salt. Finally, keep the jars or bags in a cool place (approximately 36-40 degrees Fahrenheit) for a month and do not allow to freeze to preserve meat perfectly.
You ought to know the way to determine how long to salt cure meat using this formula: 7 days per inch of thickness. For instance, a 12-14 pound ham which is 5 inches thick should be cured for 35 days. In the other hand, you can store salt-cured meat for 3-4 months without refrigeration if you keep it in air-tight packaging such as plastic bags.