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Old 04-11-2019, 09:49 AM
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What can be done to avoid freezer burn?


I understand any meat will freezer burn if left for 6 months or more.

I was very irritated last night. Found a quarter sized (coin) area of freezer burn on ground meat that's only been in there six weeks.

Another package that's been in there maybe 4 months is completely brown and ruined.

Now, I have to make a special trip to the grocery for hamburger meat before cooking tonights dinner. Freezer burned meat tastes terrible.

What am I doing wrong? I used to routinely leave ground beef in the freezer for 5 monhs with no problem.

This is a large fridge with a sliding freezer drawer.

I am going to start labeling meat with a date before freezing. So I know exactly how long it's been frozen.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-11-2019 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:02 AM
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It has to be wrapped well enough that no leaked freezer air gets to it. Thin plastic wrap isn't good enough. Squeeze all the air out of the bag you use. I reuse cereal bags for this; they're thick enough to keep all the air out.
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:06 AM
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Bag, what bag?

I just put the package of ground meat in the freezer. Maybe that's my mistake? I was counting on the cellophane wrapping to seal the meat. There may have been a pinhole in the wrapping that I didn't notice. That would explain that quarter sized freezer burn.

I'll start putting the package in a Ziploc freezer bag. Write the date on the bag with a sharpie.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-11-2019 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:08 AM
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Since I sous vide much of our meat, I vacuum seal everything. No problems with freezer burn, to the disappointment of our dogs.
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:10 AM
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I remove meat from the store packaging (without touching it with my hands) and seal it with a FoodSaver vacuum sealer. I've kept meat frozen for well over a year, and I don't recall ever getting freezer burn.
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:11 AM
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Would wrapping the package of meat in Saran Wrap be better?

I think there's less chance of air pockets?
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:16 AM
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Would wrapping the package of meat in Saran Wrap be better?

I think there's less chance of air pockets?
Yes. I don't have a vacuum sealer.

I wrap the meat in Saranwrap then I place that into a Ziplock bag with all the air pushed out.

Works great.
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:16 AM
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I'm buying three packages of ground meat this afternoon. 2 for the freezer. I'll wrap well in Saran Wrap and then Ziploc bag. They should be reusable? Meat already wrapped in Saran Wrap shouldn't contaminate them?

I'll consider getting a FoodSaver vacuum sealer. They're pricey.

It would be worth it to keep meat fresh as possible in the freezer.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-11-2019 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:18 AM
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Vacuum sealers are less than $30 now. You can get bags that are basically just a long tube; you just cut to length and seal one end, put your stuff in, and vacuum seal it. If you leave extra room, you can even reuse the bag after you cut it open.
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:23 AM
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Vacuum sealers are less than $30 now. You can get bags that are basically just a long tube; you just cut to length and seal one end, put your stuff in, and vacuum seal it. If you leave extra room, you can even reuse the bag after you cut it open.
Last year either Woot or Meh had a fantastic close-out deal on a vacuum sealer, so I bought one. Later, they re-offered it at an even better price, that was actually less than the cost of the roll of bag material included with the device. I bought many. I gave a few away and the rest I have stored away for future use.
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:55 AM
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Make sure the bag you use is a "freezer bag" and not a "storage bag." There's a difference in the quality of the plastic.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:00 AM
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I double bag all the meat I freeze in freezer-quality zip bags. It seems to help and like the others say make sure you get any excess air out.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:29 AM
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Another vote for a vacuum sealer. Doesn't have to be Food Saver brand. I have a Sears brand that I bought 15 years ago and it still works just fine. You also don't have to use the Food Saver bags, although they're probably the best quality. Vacuum sealed food will keep about a year on average, perhaps longer. It also allows you to buy the larger (and cheaper) quantity packages at Costco. We buy the packages of lamb chops, and divide them into four packages of two for sealing.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:50 AM
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I am going to start labeling meat with a date before freezing. So I know exactly how long it's been frozen.
Hell yeah. Never hurts to know how long something's been in the freezer/fridge/wherever.
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:17 PM
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Whatever you can do to keep the air away from what you are freezing.

Probably not good for ground meat, but I dig a lot of razor clams during the season and after they are cleaned I put them in a large Ziploc bag and fill the bag with water and then run the top of the bag over an edge forcing all the air out. Then I lay them flat in the freezer. Essentially freezing them inside a casing of ice. Then I can stack them in the freezer and they will keep for several years and come out just like fresh (well, close to fresh). Works well for fish filets too. The ice prevents any exposure to air.
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Old 04-11-2019, 12:57 PM
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Vacuum sealer, like everyone else has said. But I think the best way to prevent it is to get a chest freezer that doesn't have the auto-defrost cycle like most freezers. That regular warming and re-cooling is probably the biggest contributor to frozen food decline. Take a tray of ice and leave it in an auto-defrosting freezer and put one in a freezer without it and compare in one month. Taste the ice. The difference in size and taste is amazing.
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Old 04-11-2019, 01:06 PM
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Another option is to wrap meat in plastic, and then wrap that in aluminum foil. I then stick that whole thing into a ziplock freezer bag. Plastic wrap and plastic bags are often permeable to air, so it will allow freezer burn. As stated, vacuum seal bags work well. The trick to that, particularly with ground meat, is to freeze it before vacuum sealing it. So, take the meat out of the store packaging, otherwise that absorbent pad under the meat will freeze to it, then put the meat on a plate or something and leave it in the freezer overnight or so, then vacuum seal the frozen block of meat. That isn't strictly necessary, but vacuum sealing normal ground meat will compress it, and suck raw meat juice into your vacuum sealer.
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Old 04-11-2019, 01:16 PM
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Freezer burn is caused when the water in the frozen meat sublimates into gaseous water without melting. So in effect, the meat is freeze-drying due to exposure to the air of the freezer. This causes it to oxidize as well. The duo of dehydration and oxidation cause unpleasant taste and texture changes.

The best way around it is to tightly seal your meat so that it's not exposed to outside air. I've found that a vacuum sealer like a Food Saver or whatever does a terrific job of preventing freezer burn.
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Old 04-11-2019, 01:39 PM
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Make sure the bag you use is a "freezer bag" and not a "storage bag." There's a difference in the quality of the plastic.
I believe this is mostly a matter of thickness. LLDPE does have some (low) permeance. So a thicker wall will have lower permeability. The freezer bags feel thicker to me.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:06 PM
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I wrap ground beef in Saran Wrap and then aluminum foil, and other types of meat in Saran Wrap and then a freezer bag. Individual chops and steaks all get wrapped separately.
Never have had freezer burn, though we don't keep stuff for a year.
We also inventory the freezer before going shopping each week so we can plan meals around what we have and so things don't get lost.
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Old 04-11-2019, 02:39 PM
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You can save a lot of Saran by buying some brown paper bags at the $ store. Fold the bag around whatever you’re freezing, write on the bag what’s in it, date, etc, then the zip lock bag. The brown paper provides a lot more insulation. The zip locks are totally reusable for ages as long as you remove that first layer before defrosting.

Uses a lot less plastic, costs less than Saran!
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Old 04-11-2019, 03:47 PM
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And what purpose does this “insulation” serve? What is it insulating *from?*
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:20 PM
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I can keep meat for years by wrapping:

1) In a layer of Saran wrap, push out air.
2) Over that, a layer of freezer paper, shiny side in, push out air. This is paper labeled for freezer use, not waxed paper, not parchment paper.

Vacuum sealers are fine though an investment. If you meat has bones or sharp corners poking out, they may puncture the bag and make it moot, YMMV. Cheap ones may not do as well with liquids and such than expensive ones.

You shouldn't be throwing away an entire package just because a corner got hit.
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Old 04-11-2019, 04:33 PM
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If you are putting the grocery store wrapped package in the freezer, that's the mistake. They deliberately use air permeable wrap so that the meat looks nice and red where some air gets to it, and they've conditioned people to think meat should be bright red. You may have noticed that the inside of a package of hamburger is sort of greyish or purplish. That's actually the normal color of the meat - they're not wrapping up spoiled meat with fresh meat, which is what people occasionally think.

Take the store wrap off and just use your own plastic wrap. Saran wrap, etc, probably isn't the best sealer, but it's better than the store wrap.
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Old 04-11-2019, 05:19 PM
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If you are putting the grocery store wrapped package in the freezer, that's the mistake. They deliberately use air permeable wrap so that the meat looks nice and red where some air gets to it, and they've conditioned people to think meat should be bright red. You may have noticed that the inside of a package of hamburger is sort of greyish or purplish. That's actually the normal color of the meat - they're not wrapping up spoiled meat with fresh meat, which is what people occasionally think.

Take the store wrap off and just use your own plastic wrap. Saran wrap, etc, probably isn't the best sealer, but it's better than the store wrap.
That and they use carbon monoxide to keep the meat artificially red.
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:02 PM
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You do know people go in grocery stores and poke holes in the plastic with their nasty fingers, don't you? Any meat I buy comes out of the store wrap immediately. Rewrapped and into fridge or freezer.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 04-11-2019 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 04-11-2019, 06:51 PM
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I don't trust any plastic wrapping that the food comes in from the supermarket. Since I often divide large quantities into single-serving portions anyway, everything gets re-bagged in ziplock baggies of appropriate size. Seems to work. 2 lbs of bulk Italian sausage becomes 8 patties in individual bags.

Saran wrap, by itself, is no good. It doesn't stay together in the freezer. It might be good inside a baggie, but what's the point? Just use the baggie.

Many bakery items come in bags that are deliberately perforated (for ventilation?), the worst kind for freezer storage. If I get a bunch of rolls, I re-bag half in ziplocks for the freezer and the rest stay in the original bag on the counter for a few days as they are used.
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Old 04-11-2019, 07:03 PM
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You do know people go in grocery stores and poke holes in the plastic with their nasty fingers, don't you? Any meat I buy comes out of the store wrap immediately. Rewrapped and into fridge or freezer.
I hadn't considered that people poke the packaging. The grocery plastic is very thin.

I buy throw away food Server gloves from Sams Club. They'd be useful in removing the wrapping without touching the meat with my fingers. Also keeps my hands clean too.

Rewrap in freezer paper and then into a Ziploc bag.

Last edited by aceplace57; 04-11-2019 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 04-11-2019, 10:33 PM
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I believe this is mostly a matter of thickness. LLDPE does have some (low) permeance. So a thicker wall will have lower permeability. The freezer bags feel thicker to me.
Yep, you're right. Good call!
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:39 AM
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I hadn't considered that people poke the packaging. The grocery plastic is very thin.

I buy throw away food Server gloves from Sams Club. They'd be useful in removing the wrapping without touching the meat with my fingers. Also keeps my hands clean too.

Rewrap in freezer paper and then into a Ziploc bag.
Go hang around the meat counter at your grocery store. Its amazing what people will do trying to choose. My next gross out place is the fresh produce. The idea that someone puts a cantaloupe up to their nose makes me pukey. Yeah, I'm bored and a germaphobe. Deadly combo.

ETA, I'm not too concerned about my own germs getting on MY meat. My own germs are fresh!

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 04-12-2019 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 04-12-2019, 02:39 AM
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If you are putting the grocery store wrapped package in the freezer, that's the mistake. They deliberately use air permeable wrap so that the meat looks nice and red where some air gets to it, and they've conditioned people to think meat should be bright red. You may have noticed that the inside of a package of hamburger is sort of greyish or purplish. That's actually the normal color of the meat - they're not wrapping up spoiled meat with fresh meat, which is what people occasionally think.

Take the store wrap off and just use your own plastic wrap. Saran wrap, etc, probably isn't the best sealer, but it's better than the store wrap.
This.

They have changed this in recent years. I'm guessing that the plastic manufacturers recently developed these new wraps that allow oxygen (and water vapor) pass through, so the meat remains red. Frost-free freezers don't help, as the defrost cycle removes moisture, but the best solution is what has already been said; vacuum seal bags. Mylar bags are best, although I have had good experience with the standard plastic ones.
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Old 04-12-2019, 03:00 AM
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now most of the ground meat we buy come in those "chubs" like ground sausage looking packages.... even a 10 pound flat of meat is just 5 or 10 1lb chubs wrapped on a tray

is it safe to just put a chub in the freezer or should I put it in a Ziploc bag also ?

it looks like this https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...vt=0&eim=1,2,6
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Old 04-12-2019, 07:31 AM
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My next gross out place is the fresh produce. The idea that someone puts a cantaloupe up to their nose makes me pukey.
As someone who worked produce at Safeway for years, I'll agree that's gross, but not because they put their nose on it, but rather because they touched it to their nose.

I can't tell you how many times the produce truck showed up at the store with the pallets toppled over and produce scattered everywhere around the trailer, which we and the driver would proceed to collect and put right back into the boxes. They don't wash those trailers out nearly as often as they probably should, and our walk-in produce fridge wasn't much better.

The only produce we ever washed in-store was the lettuce, and it was really just a cold water bath; the purpose was to re-crisp the leaves and to get some of the dirt and silt out, but mostly just to re-crisp the leaves (it's a really good trick if you have wilted lettuce).

ALWAYS wash your produce.
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Old 04-12-2019, 09:57 AM
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The idea that someone puts a cantaloupe up to their nose makes me pukey.
How else are you going to know that it's ripe? Same with strawberries. Ripeness with those two is best determined by their aroma, in my experience. You usually don't have to actually touch it to your nose though- a sniff is all it takes.

That said, that's one of the many reasons they suggest you wash your produce before you eat it!
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:06 AM
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That and they use carbon monoxide to keep the meat artificially red.
Controlled atmosphere packaging isn't just limited to meat; how do you think all that bagged cut salad doesn't turn brown particularly fast?

All they do is adjust the mixture of gases that the product is packaged with- in the case of beef, they do one of two things- either a tiny amount of CO (0.4%) along with N (69.6%) and CO2 (30%), so that the red color is produced, and bacterial growth is inhibited (spoilage bacteria are apparently aerobic), or they use 80% O2 / 20% CO2, which achieves the same thing- apparently 20% CO2 inhibits bacterial growth even in the presence of 80% O2.

With other meats, the red color isn't as important, so more CO2 is typically used.


In the case of fruit/vegetables, CO2 and O2 levels are both at 3-5%, with nitrogen making up the balance.
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Old 04-12-2019, 10:27 AM
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now most of the ground meat we buy come in those "chubs" like ground sausage looking packages.... even a 10 pound flat of meat is just 5 or 10 1lb chubs wrapped on a tray

is it safe to just put a chub in the freezer or should I put it in a Ziploc bag also ?

it looks like this https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...vt=0&eim=1,2,6
How are you defrosting those? It would be way easier on you if you took the time to make the meat into patties and wrap & freeze. Defrost time for patties is so much faster than defrosting a hunk like that.

Even if you end up making meatballs or browning it for chili, you can defrost the appropriate amount of patties (most people make 1/4 lb patties before freezing) before re-forming the meat.
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Old 04-12-2019, 11:08 AM
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Vacuum sealers are fine though an investment. If you meat has bones or sharp corners poking out, they may puncture the bag and make it moot, YMMV. Cheap ones may not do as well with liquids and such than expensive ones.
I bought a Food Saver vacuum sealer about two years ago and have been using it for putting up meat for some time. When CostCo has NY steaks at $6.50 a pound for a four or six pack, I buy a tray and eat one right away, and put the remainder in a vacuum bag for later. They get used before a year is up but are perfectly fine after three or four months; twelve should be no problem.

Likewise I often will run five one-pound chubs of sausage through my pellet smoker and freeze four of them. The VS plastic is sturdy enough I heat them in a simmering waterbath to reheat -- avoiding the spotty temp and drying out a microwave does. A full boil sometimes makes the bag leak.

Rather than try and vacuum seal something wet like a soup or stew, I freeze it in a small container overnight, then seal the resulting block. Vacuum chambers will handle the wet stuff just fine but are awfully pricey compared to the ordinary sealer. Since their plastic does not need to have the textured side as do regular sealer bags, it's about half as much per bag, but it would take an awfully long time for me to pay off the price difference at the rate I am using the sealer.
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Old 04-12-2019, 08:11 PM
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Yep, you're right. Good call!
Other than getting permeance and permeability backwards
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Old 04-13-2019, 05:07 AM
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How are you defrosting those? It would be way easier on you if you took the time to make the meat into patties and wrap & freeze. Defrost time for patties is so much faster than defrosting a hunk like that.

Even if you end up making meatballs or browning it for chili, you can defrost the appropriate amount of patties (most people make 1/4 lb patties before freezing) before re-forming the meat.
we just put them in a bowl of water . takes about an hour or so
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Old 04-13-2019, 08:26 AM
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I defrost overnight in the fridge.

Take the meat out to cook 30 minutes before putting on the grill. That's what my cookbooks recommend.
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Old 04-13-2019, 09:14 AM
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Your microwave probably has a defrost cycle. I know some people claim you shouldn't use it, but I don't have any problem with it. Newer ones can even operate at low power for the defrost cycle without switching the magnetron on and off like the old ones. I do partition things into smaller packages before freezing them.

Last edited by yabob; 04-13-2019 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 04-13-2019, 10:24 AM
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The most obvious answer to the question is: stay out of the freezer.
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Old 04-13-2019, 11:59 AM
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I don't trust any plastic wrapping that the food comes in from the supermarket. Since I often divide large quantities into single-serving portions anyway, everything gets re-bagged in ziplock baggies of appropriate size. Seems to work. 2 lbs of bulk Italian sausage becomes 8 patties in individual bags.

Saran wrap, by itself, is no good. It doesn't stay together in the freezer. It might be good inside a baggie, but what's the point? Just use the baggie.

Many bakery items come in bags that are deliberately perforated (for ventilation?), the worst kind for freezer storage. If I get a bunch of rolls, I re-bag half in ziplocks for the freezer and the rest stay in the original bag on the counter for a few days as they are used.
Saran wrap inside a baggie never comes loose, and you have all of one kind of meat together. When I didn't do this chops or steaks would stick together which increases defrost time.
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Old 04-14-2019, 09:00 AM
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When I freeze pairs of pork chops I put a sheet of baking parchment between them as I drop them into the bag before hitting the vacuum. When it's their time on the grill a screwdriver into the seam and a twist makes them part easily. After eight minutes on the grill, it's time to flip them and they've thawed to the point where I can stick my remote thermometer probe in and I simply wait until they reach 160-degrees.
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Old 04-14-2019, 10:34 AM
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When I freeze pairs of pork chops I put a sheet of baking parchment between them as I drop them into the bag before hitting the vacuum. When it's their time on the grill a screwdriver into the seam and a twist makes them part easily. After eight minutes on the grill, it's time to flip them and they've thawed to the point where I can stick my remote thermometer probe in and I simply wait until they reach 160-degrees.
Non ground pork can be safely cooked to 145 now per USDA guidelines. Unless you can't stomach it.
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Old 04-14-2019, 10:34 PM
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Go hang around the meat counter at your grocery store. Its amazing what people will do trying to choose. My next gross out place is the fresh produce. The idea that someone puts a cantaloupe up to their nose makes me pukey. Yeah, I'm bored and a germaphobe. Deadly combo.

ETA, I'm not too concerned about my own germs getting on MY meat. My own germs are fresh!
I have to sniff the stem end of the cantaloupe. Only way to tell if it's ready to eat. But i also scrub the outer surface of all melons before i cut them. The idea of transferring the crap from the outside of the melon to the inside via the knife blade gives me the heebjeebies.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
Non ground pork can be safely cooked to 145 now per USDA guidelines. Unless you can't stomach it.
I've only had it twice, but Mett (raw minced pork with onion) is delicious.
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I've only had it twice, but Mett (raw minced pork with onion) is delicious.
Two separate issues: E coli and Trichinosis. E coli infects the surface of meat, but cooks away with heat. Therefore ground meat, whether beef, pork, turkey needs to be cooked on all surfaces, so 160 F. Unless it sourced from meat that has been butchered to avoid umm... butthole juices so that you can serve it raw.

Trichinosis is a worm parasite that infects omnivores like pig, bear. Needs higher heat to kill. But modern practices avoid it because we don't feed infected meat to pigs anymore. Once it's in the meat they can "rest" until heat kills them.
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:55 AM
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I know all of that, but still enjoy Mett, carpaccio, sushi, oysters on the half shell, etc. The times I've had Mett I've procured the pork from a local source who knew my intent.

Anecdotally/coincidentally, the only experiences I've had with assumed food poisoning has been with cooked foods. The vast majority of my meals are cooked, so there's that.
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Old 04-15-2019, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
How else are you going to know that it's ripe? Same with strawberries. Ripeness with those two is best determined by their aroma, in my experience. You usually don't have to actually touch it to your nose though- a sniff is all it takes.

That said, that's one of the many reasons they suggest you wash your produce before you eat it!
This. I also smell the peaches and a lot of other produce. I don't touch my nose to it -- that would be gross -- but I sniff it.
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