Freezing Ground Beef
Cooking tips for the caring cook.
Avoid Freezer Burn & Other Nasties
Ground beef is prone to a process called self oxidation. The more surface of the meat you expose to oxygen, the faster the meat will deteriorate. Make freezing ground beef (or any ground meat) easier by following a few simple tips:
- First purchase good quality quart-sized plastic freezer bags. Place only one pound in each bag. Flatten the meat to a thin layer in the bag. Press to remove as much air as possible. Seal. Freeze.
- Another way of doing this: Separate hamburger into zip locks and roll with rolling pin until evenly flat. Takes up less space in freezer and thaws much more quickly.
- This method allows the meat to be thoroughly defrosted in the microwave oven without the usual browning around the edges. It also allows for quick, safe freezing.
Extra Freezer Tips
- To slice meat into thin strips, as for Chinese dishes, partially freeze and it will slice easily.
- Put meat used for stir frying in freezer for 45 minutes to 1 hour to make slicing easier.
- Never re-freeze ground beef.
When Thawing Ground Beef
Meats should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than three days in the original wrapper.
Remember: When ground beef is labeled 75 percent lean, it is still 25 percent fat content, which is a lot of fat. Since fat has twice as many calories as lean beef, a hamburger patty may be as high as 70 percent fat. Ground beef has different standards than steak - when ground beef is labeled "lean" or "extra lean", it can have as much as 22 percent fat.
The Best Ground Beef
The best ground beef is made by choosing the leanest piece of round steak you can find, having the butcher cut off all visible fat and grind it through the grinder twice. Grinding twice breaks the fat into smaller globules, allowing more fat to be lost in the cooking process.
Did you know?
Ordinary masking tape makes great freezer tape. You can write on it with anything, it stays on the containers in the freezer and it peels off easily without scrubbing.
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