Guide to home freezing

For a farmer, living off the land is always the way forward. When I was growing up on the farm pickling and jam making were some of the main ways to utilise the abundant harvest.

Meat was always considered to be a luxury and quite often the pig would be shared around family and friends.

With salt being readily available it was always a great way to preserve meat. (turning it into bacon). There is an old saying,  “you never kill a pig in a month that does not contain an R in it” This was generally because the months that contain an R are usually a little colder.

In order for Bacteria to accelerate in numbers it needs 3 things.

  • Temperature (warmth)
  • Moisture (water)
  • Oxygen (air)

You can slow down bacteria growth by taking any one of the above out of the environment.

From experience I have placed them in order of importance with temperature being the most important.

Paper packaging is excellent for meat as it dries the meat. But does not eliminate the air.

Vacuum packing takes out the air so meat has little to no oxygen to grow but does not take out the moisture.

So it is very important to keep meat at a low temperature as this bit is so easy to achieve.

When you freeze meat it should always be in a sealed pack or in a zip bag.

Freezer burns are only common on food where the packaging is broken or torn.

Bacterial growth stops in food that is kept at temperatures colder than 5°C or hotter than 63°C.

Myths about Refreezing

For many years we have been told not to refreeze meat!

Why?

When the average person pulls a chicken out of the freezer where do they defrost it?

Yes, the work top (room temperature), so the meat is out of it’s chilled environment and in a climate that is perfect for bacteria growth. If that’s not bad enough, they leave it out for hours overnight.

A friend rings up and says do you fancy going out for lunch “love to” and they put it back in the freezer.

Next week they fancy that chicken dinner again.

And yes you got it! They repeat the whole process all over again.

Not that I would tell anybody to refreeze meat as it’s not good practice, but I want you to know that defrosting meat has no bacterial gain whatsoever as defrosting should always be done below 5°C.

Does freezing meat spoil the texture and flavour of the meat?

I would always choose fresh over frozen, but only because I don't like waiting to defrost meat!

We put a use by date on all of our fresh meat.

Beef, Lamb & Pork 8 Days

Chicken 6 Days

Minced products 5-6 days.

These are a guideline only. I have completed laboratory tests on our meat which indicate that our meat is safe to eat up to 15 Days.

The problem is meat will spoil with time.

Although it remains safe to eat, the quality starts to drop as soon as you package your meat in a vacuum bag. High moisture and high temperature can be the leading cause for this.

Our meat does not contain any preservatives or put through any sort of process that takes it from its natural state.

Paper is a very good type of packaging as the meat keeps very dry and it is also environmentally friendly. See our plastic free pledge here..

So if I had a pack of sausages fresh today and I wanted to eat them 5 days later would I freeze them?

Yes every time.