Meat is a valuable protein product containing amino acids, lipids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and trace elements. Moderate eating meat is good for maintaining good health.
It strengthens bones, maintains muscle elasticity, and is involved in strengthening immunity and metabolic processes. Possessing high energy value, it is especially indicated for people engaged in heavy physical labor, and athletes. It replenishes iron stores in the body and normalizes hematopoietic processes.
However, meat is perishable food. And stale or spoiled can cause serious harm to the body, threatening severe food poisoning. It is extremely important to ensure the proper storage of meat, allowing it to stay fresh as long as possible. In this article, we will talk about reliable ways to store this product.
Refrigerated meat storage
The ideal option is to cook meat immediately after purchase, but this is not always possible. In this case, try to place the product in the refrigerator as soon as possible. If you plan to use it in the near future, just put it in the main chamber. Keep the product in the refrigerator if the purchase took place immediately after the slaughter of the animal (for example, if you bought it on a farm). In this case, it should be allowed to “mature” for a couple of days so that it becomes soft and juicy.
Keep meat in the refrigerator at a temperature of 0 to 5 degrees Celsius. It’s a bad idea to put it in the cold on wooden cutting boards. The wood will absorb the juice and it will become dry. Boneless meat can be stored longer. Therefore, separate them and store them separately. And do not wash the meat. To remove excess fluid, just pat it with napkins or paper towels.
Typically, a temperature of up to 7 ° C is maintained in the main refrigerator. Whole pieces can be stored on a shelf with a temperature of 5 – 7 degrees for no longer than 10 hours; from 0 to 5 degrees – up to a day; from -4 to 0 degrees – up to 3 days.
Minced meat is best used on the day of purchase, or frozen. Consider that meat of young animals (like veal) is stored less than adult animal’s meat.
Poultry has its own storage features. Before putting in the refrigerator, the meat should be placed in a glass dish, vacuum container or plastic bag and stored: at a temperature of 4 to 7 degrees – not more than 48 hours; from 0 to 4 degrees – up to 3 days; from -2 to 0 degrees – up to 4 days.
Do not violate the shelf life. If the expiration date is soon and there is no way to use the product right now, send it to the freezer.
Meat storage in the freezer
Place pieces of meat individually in plastic bags and wrap them, releasing all the air. If you are a lover of natural materials and do not want to use polyethylene, you can store meat in ice. Ice will ensure the safety of all useful properties not worse than the package. For this:
- put a piece in the freezer and wait until the frost forms around it;
- remove the meat and pour it over with cold water;
- put back in the freezer.
Storage of meat in the freezer at a temperature below – 18 degrees is possible up to 1 year. Minced meat – up to 3 months. When the temperature rises to -12 ° C, the time should be reduced by a third, up to -10 ° C – by half.
Storage of poultry meat has its own characteristics. It is undesirable to keep it frozen for more than 9 months. Chopped in pieces – can be frozen not longer than 8 months.
Put a sticker on the package with the date of placement, so that you know when it will expire. Violation of the shelf life leads to a loss of useful properties and taste. A specific taste of old meat may appear, which is difficult to remove even with spices, and cooking time will need to be increased.
Always try to defrost meat in a natural way. It is best to move it from the freezer to the refrigerator. Slow defrosting will retain all the beneficial properties and taste. Do not do this repeatedly. If you have thawed a piece, cook it all.
Meat storage without a refrigerator and freezer
Storage of meat without a refrigerator is possible if you know how to do it right.
Fresh meat sprinkled with salt is stored for a week. Sprinkle a piece on all sides, put it in a container and completely cover with salt. If there is a lot of meat, lay the pieces in layers, generously sprinkling with salt. A layer of charcoal added on top may slightly increase shelf life.
You can extend the shelf life of meat outside the refrigerator for up to 5 days if you wrap it in a natural cloth and dip it in milk or yogurt.
Meat can be stored for a day if you dip it in well-salted water or wrap it in a cloth soaked in vinegar. Lemon will successfully replace vinegar.
This is another way to keep meat out of the refrigerator. Rinse the whole piece well with warm water (up to 30 ° C), remove grease and veins, dry with paper towels or napkins. Dice approximately 1×1 cm / 0.4×0.4 inch. Sprinkle the pieces with spices, add bay leaf and chopped onion, and place under oppression for a day. Lay on a baking sheet in one layer, salt and send it to the oven, heated to 55 ° C / 131 F for 10 – 12 hours. It is better to use the ventilation mode. The finished product should have a dark color, be hard and elastic to the touch.
You can also use the following method. Prepare and chop the meat as described above. Boil for 5 minutes. Put in a colander and dry. Salt, pepper and send to the oven for 8 – 12 hours, setting the lowest temperature.
If you decide to carry out drying in the fresh air, you need to string the pieces so that they do not touch and hang them in a way that the sun rays do not fall on them. Protect the structure from insects using gauze.
Dried meat is stored for up to 2 months without a refrigerator in a tightly closed container. Before use, it should be cooked for at least 20 minutes. Note that dried meat will be only 1/3 of the original weight.
For canning, choose only the freshest product and follow basic rules. Violation of the rules of conservation can lead to the development of various bacteria that produce harmful toxins. For example, botulinum, causing the most serious disease – botulism.
Use glass containers with a volume of not more than 1 liter. Wash and dry them well. Fill with fresh or pre-cooked meat (baked, stewed, etc.). Pour in water or sauce so that at least 2 cm / 0.7 inch is left to the top. Place the jars in water and bring to a boil. Ideal to use an autoclave. At home, you can use a pressure cooker instead of an autoclave. In it, you can sterilize it within 1-1.5 hours.
To preserve minced meat, you must first process it. Form the meatballs (or don’t) and fry until golden brown. After roasting, throw it in a colander so that excess fat is gone and place in a glass container. Add the broth, tomato or water, leaving 2.5 cm / 0.9 inch of free space to the neck of the jar. Canning time – up to one and a half hours, depending on the volume.
If the canned food will be stored for 6 months, and sterilization takes place at a temperature of 100 ° C, it is recommended to repeat it every other day. Store at a temperature of 20 – 30 ° C. If your preservation will be stored at temperatures below 10 degrees, sterilization should be repeated after 3 months.
Of particular importance is the tightness of the lids. Glass covers complemented by rigid clamps are considered really good.
How to keep meat on the road
It’s not easy to keep the product fresh on the road, but it is possible. Soak gauze with lemon juice and wrap a piece with it. If possible, place fresh meat in a container and fill it with milk.
Use a refrigerator-bag or a cooling bag. It provides freshness for a long time, even on a train or a car. If you don’t have a refrigerator bag, make it yourself.
Take a small box (from sweets, for example) and sheathe it from the inside with polystyrene foam. Place a couple of plastic ice bottles down in there, put a frozen product on them, and add a couple of ice bottles on top. The construction is bulky and suitable for traveling by car. Try using thermal packs also. Put the meat and a couple of plastic ice bottles inside.
Another way is to freeze a piece, wrap with gauze soaked in vinegar, and place it in a plastic bag. You can additionally wrap the bag with two to three layers of newspapers. This method ensures safety and freshness for more than a day.