Freezing and Defrosting Meat


Freezer burn can ruin event the best cuts of meat, but you can prevent freezer burn by storing your meat properly. Put your meat in plastic freezer bags as soon as you get it home from the store, and carefully press all the air out of each bag before storing it in the freezer. Frost is less likely to form on your meat without air in the bag.

Make sure to label everything you put in the freezer. Include the date you sealed it, the name of the food inside the bag, and how much is in each bag (1 pound, 1/2 cup, 100 grams, etc.). You can then find exactly what you're looking for, make sure you're using the oldest food first, and make bags with specific amounts so you can easily whip up a meal by defrosting a bag of pre-portioned meat.

Do your frozen fish fillets taste like they've been in your freezer since the ice age? Your fish will taste fresher if you place it in a dish of milk to thaw. The milk softens the flavor. Some people also use this trick for defrosting chicken.

A big problem with defrosting meat is knowing whether the center is thawed. The thin edges often thaw much more quickly than the thick middle. If your meat is still frozen in the middle, it will not cook evenly, and even worse, the cold center could harbor bacteria and give you food poisoning. That's where your microwave comes in. Microwaves heat from the inside out—which is bad for cooking a roast but is great for defrosting one. Use the "defrost" setting on your microwave and put your frozen meat in for about ten minutes per pound of meat. Be sure to turn the meat over regularly and rotate it for even thawing. If you don't have a defrost setting, check your microwave's manual for recommendations (cooking on half power, for example).

Only use the microwave to defrost meat that will be cooked immediately. If you aren't going to cook your meat right away, it is better to allow it to defrost in the refrigerator for several hours.


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