Storing Meat

Table of Contents

Without a refrigerator

Fresh meat must be kept as cool as possible, preferably in a meat safe which allows circulation of air. Always use meat that was bought minced and cooked meats on the day of purchase.

In a refrigerator

Keep raw and cooked meat separate and loosely wrapped in foil or film at 2°-6°C (35°-43°F).

In the freezer

Meat will keep for varying lengths of time.

Before freezing, trim the meat and remove excess fat. Trimming helps ensure neat packing, and fat can become rancid. If you are freezing chops, rashers or slices of meat, put sheets of greaseproof paper between each portion. Pack the meat in thick-gauge polythene bags or in foil. Exclude as much air as possible to prevent dehydration and ‘freezer burn’.

If you have bought meat in bulk, make sure you freeze minced meat and offal first, then small cuts followed by large joints. Everything should be clearly labelled. The date on which the meat was frozen must be shown so that you will know by when it must be eaten, and nothing be wasted. Don’t overload the freezer; the storage temperature must be —17° (0°F). Adding extra food will raise the temperature in the freezer and the contents will start to thaw.

Thawing meat Joints are best thawed in the refrigerator for one or two days before cooking but, if cooked from frozen, place a meat thermometer in the thickest part half way through cooking to ensure that the centre of the joint is thoroughly cooked. Do not allow the thermometer to touch the bone. Boned and rolled joints should always be thawed before cooking.