Make Your Meat Last

Meat can cost a pretty penny, so don’t let it go to waste. Check out these tips to make the most of your meat and poultry.

Make Your Meat Last

No Need to Rewrap if Using Immediately

If you plan to use that store-bought beef on the day of purchase or the following day, leave it in its original wrapping and store in the coldest part of your refrigerator. 

Saving for Later Use

You can keep roasts and other large cuts of beef in your refrigerator for up to five days after purchase if you remove the store packaging and rewrap loosely in plastic or foil so air can circulate.

Preventing Deli Meats from Drying Out

Store these items in your refrigerator for up to a week, wrapped in the packaging from the deli counter. Or place in plastic containers in the fridge.

Freezer Dos and Don’ts

Don’t freeze luncheon or deli meats such as salami or bologna. Do freeze freshly store-bought cuts of meat as soon as possible. If you intend to freeze them, don’t store them in the refrigerator first.

Make and Freeze Burgers

Try making hamburger patties on the lids from coffee cans and using those lids as burger separators. They’ll come apart easier than burgers stored on waxed paper. Store your stack of burgers in a freezer bag.

Repackage Before Freezing

If you’re planning to freeze a cut of meat, first unwrap it from its original packaging. If the meat was displayed on a foam base, throw that away. Neither the foam nor the plastic on the meat in the store is meant for long-term or low-temperature storage. Rewrap in a moisture-proof wrapping product, such as heavy-duty foil or freezer paper. This helps the meat retain its moisture. Wrap your meat tightly, and make sure the entire item is sealed in. Use freezer tape if needed, to seal the wrap shut.

Hot Dogs Can Take a Month in the Freezer

Was there a sale on hot dogs at your local grocer? You can freeze frankfurters for up to a month. First, remove the dogs from the store packaging, which is not meant to withstand long periods in the deep cold. Repackage by double-wrapping in a moisture-proof product, like heavy-duty foil or freezer paper. Wrap tightly, making sure the entire item is sealed in. Use freezer tape if needed, to seal the wrap shut.

Double-Wrap Pork

When freezing pork roast for more than four or five months, double-wrap it.

Be Poultry Wise

Whole, uncooked chickens or turkeys can be frozen for up to a year. If you plan to freeze a bird for more than a few months, remove the giblets and freeze separately. Cooked chicken and turkey, properly wrapped, can keep in the freezer for two to three months. Be sure to remove all air from the freezer bag before popping it into the freezer.

Rush Cooked Turkey to the Fridge or Freezer

According to the Louisiana State University Agriculture Center, you have about two hours from the time you remove a turkey from the oven to safely serve and refrigerate or freeze your leftovers. This includes turkey, stuffing, and gravy. Here’s why: Bacteria grow fast. They can multiply to undesirable levels on perishable food left at room temperature for more than two hours and can cause food-borne illness.

Don’t Unwrap Before Thawing

Thaw poultry in its original freezer wrapper. Defrost in the refrigerator or in cold water. Keep the wrapper tight until poultry is defrosted, unwrapping when the job is complete.

Not All Frozen Meats Need to Thaw Before Cooking

Frozen chicken pieces can be held under running water to separate, then cooked as usual, adding just five minutes to the cooking time. Whole roasts, while best if thawed, can be cooked frozen.

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