In these uncertain times many of our customers are getting into the habit of freezing meat to use at a later date. This can be a great way to get enough value in the order to qualify for free delivery and also be sure of having something available when you need it.

Millions of tons of food is wasted each year in the UK. As a large proportion of this is likely to be meat, anything we can do to address this problem will be helpful.

Here’s our guide to freezing and defrosting meat safely at home.

What to be aware of when freezing meat

Freezing meat is the perfect way to store it and doesn’t affect the quality or taste as long as you can avoid freezer burn and you use it within a specified time.

Freezer burn happens when air from the freezer comes into contact with the meat. This dries out the surface of the meat and causes oxidation. This usually appears as brownish, dry looking, areas on the meat. The best way to avoid this is to keep the meat well wrapped. If your meat has arrived from us in vacuum packs these will be ideal for freezing. Otherwise, wrap the meat well in cling film and seal in labelled bags.

Freezing doesn’t kill any bacteria in the meat, it just stops them from reproducing. The earlier you freeze the meat the safer it will be as you defrost it. So when your order arrives, freeze the cuts that you want to save as soon as you can.

When you defrost the meat, this will start the process of bacteria reproduction again. The cooler you keep the meat while defrosting the less the bacteria will multiply.

The “danger zone” for bacteria is between 8°C and 63°C. As some bacteria can grow below this temperature, the best way to defrost your meat is in a fridge with a temperature at or below 5°C

Don’t defrost meat at room temperature. Large joints, such as 5kg pork joints, can take 3-4 days to defrost fully in the fridge.

Make sure your food is fully defrosted before cooking. Partially defrosted food may not cook evenly, meaning that harmful bacteria could survive the cooking process. Once food has been defrosted, eat it within 24 hours.

What can you freeze?

Raw meat including poultry can be frozen if it’s within the use by date so long as the product has not previously been frozen in its raw state.

Cooked meat again can be frozen if its within the use by date & not previously frozen

Summary.

On receipt of your Grid Iron order ensure the packaging is not damaged.

If the vacuum pouch is damaged transfer to a new sealable freezer pouch, gently easing out as much excess air as possible before sealing the products. Then ensure the new pouch is relabelled. If you are splitting a batch of products each package should be relabelled and the date the product is frozen written onto the pouch.

If freezing the goods as they arrive, mark the package with an indelible marker pen with the date you are freezing the products on.

We suggest freezing produce for a maximum of 3 months, this is to ensure quality. The meat will not turn bad in the freezer but taste & texture may deteriorate beyond this.

When placing goods in the freezer, place towards the bottom of the freezer, rotating any older produce.

Your freezer should be set at minus 18°c, a separate probe is a good way to confirm the temperature is accurate.

Prior to cooking your products you must remove the items from the freezer a minimum of 24 hours before use (2 days for joints between 1 & 4 kilos then up to 4 days for larger joints.

Place the item on a flat tray and place in the bottom of the fridge to defrost gently.

Before cooking the items must be thoroughly defrosted.

Remove from the packaging, pat any excess moisture away and cook.

Remember:

Never defrost in warm areas such as on or near a radiator or in direct sunlight.
Never defrost in warm or hot water.
Never defrost items placed above cooked or ready to eat produce.
Never freeze meat which is out of date.