Meat, Fish and Chicken are very important ingredient in a variety of delicacies. People eat billions of kilograms of meat every year, but sobering statistics show that around 20% of all the meat that is produced is never eaten. The environmental impact of this waste is very high, we can avoid waste of food with right food preservation techniques.
In this article, we will tell you how to store your meat in your fridge correctly so you can enjoy it for longer, reduce food waste and live more sustainably.
8 tips on how to store meat in fridge
1. Do not pre-wash the meat
Many people have the habit of removing the meat from the packaging and washing it with water once they arrive home with their groceries. So, do you need to wash meat first?
Most experts recommend that you don’t. Any bacteria you think you may be removing by doing this will probably not be affected by a wash. They will only be killed when the meat is properly cooked.
In fact, depending on the quality of your tap water, washing meat may introduce new bacteria to it that may then affect the taste and storage life of your meat.
If you’re planning to freeze the meat, definitely avoid washing it. If the meat is wet, it may be more easily affected by freezer burn.
2. Cut the meat into portions before storing it
The most dangerous thing in the storage of meat is exposing it to temperature changes. Frequently going from cold to warm and back again can help bacteria on the meat grow. That’s why it’s best not to keep taking the meat out of the refrigerator until you’re actually cooking it.
If you cut the meat into chunks or portions before you put it into the refrigerator, you can take out whatever amount you need without affecting the rest. You can cook a smaller meal for just yourself or a part of the family while keeping the other meat fresh and tasty for when you need it.
3. Put the meat into the refrigerator quickly
If you’ve ever heard of the term “cold chain”, you know what we’re talking about. In the professional storage and transport of foodstuffs like meat, the products are kept consistently cold to prevent spoiling. When you take the meat from the supermarket, you should follow the same rules.
Don’t let fresh, uncooked meat lie on your kitchen counter and definitely don’t leave it in a hot car while you run errands. Experts recommend that you don’t let more than 1 or 2 hours pass between removing the meat from the supermarket fridge and putting it into your own fridge.
4. Wrap your meat correctly
When it comes to storing meats, the packaging is extremely important.
If you bought vacuum-packed meat leave it in its packaging until you want to use it. Vacuum packaging can prolong the storage life of meat considerably, so there’s no reason to open it.
For meat that isn’t vacuum-packed, the rules are a bit different. When storing meat in the refrigerator outside of its packaging, you should put it on a dish and cover it loosely with plastic wrap. There should be some air flow around the meat to prevent it from “sweating”.
If you’re freezing your meat, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, taking care not to allow too much air to remain close to the meat. This way, you can avoid freezer burn, which doesn’t spoil the meat, but can drastically change the taste.
5. Track your meat’s “use-by” dates
This is especially relevant for when you’re freezing meat but is also good practice when you store it in the refrigerator. Either write directly on the plastic wrapping or use a sticky note to mark meat with the date on which it was bought and/or the date by which it should be eaten.
This way, you won’t have to wonder about that piece of meat you discover in the freezer months later, peering through the plastic to see if it still looks fresh. You’ll know exactly how old it is and get a good idea of whether it’s still good.
6. Don’t put meat back after you’ve removed it
This is another rule that is particularly important for frozen meat, but as we mentioned before, frequent changes in temperature can help bacteria grow. So, it’s a good idea to observe this rule for refrigerated meat that was warmed up to room temperature as well.
Thawing meat and then re-freezing it can make it a hotbed for bacteria and is a surefire way to spoil its quality. So, make sure to only remove meat from the freezer or the fridge if you’re going to cook it.
7. Keep your refrigerator clean and organized
Hygiene is essential to keeping food fresh, whether it’s meat, vegetables or other foodstuffs. A dirty fridge provides ideal conditions for germs to grow and contaminate your food. Contamination can also occur when cooked meat and raw meat are kept close together.
We recommend that you keep your fresh, raw meat on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, which usually offers ideal temperatures. Make sure to keep your cooked meat and any warm foods you’re putting into the fridge to cool down far away from the raw meat.
8. How long can meat be stored in the refrigerator?
Different cuts of meat will keep in the refrigerator for different amounts of time, depending on various factors, like the method of preparation. Note that these are just reference points and meat can remain edible for 3-5 days in many cases. With Electrolux’s TasteSeal technology, your meat can even be kept fresh for 7 days.
Minced meat, thin steaks, diced meat of meat strips: up to 2 days
Steaks and boned roasts: 2-3 days
Roasts (bone in): 3-4 days
Vacuum-packed meat: up to 6 weeks (if unopened)
In the freezer, meat can be kept fresh for much longer periods. Note that the temperature of the freezer should be at or below -18°C.
There are three different methods for defrosting your frozen meat, depending on how quickly you need it: in the fridge, in cold water, or in the microwave. Note that you should not let frozen meat defrost at room temperature, as this may increase the risk of contamination.
Defrost in the fridge
Most experts recommend that you defrost your frozen meat in the refrigerator. It keeps the quality of your meat high and also allows you to store the meat for an additional few days in the refrigerator after defrosting. However, it takes careful planning, as the defrosting process is slow. For a half-kilogram piece of meat, allow up to a full day of defrosting.
Defrost in cold water
Defrosting in cold water is faster than defrosting in the fridge, but it requires you to be more careful. The meat must be placed in a closed bag or package and submerged in cold water. Make sure the bag is closed, since leaving the meat itself in the water will affect the taste and could lead to contamination. Change the water every half hour. A half-kilogram piece of meat can be defrosted within about one hour using this method.
Defrost in the microwave oven
Using your microwave to defrost your meat is the fastest method. However, be sure to use the correct defrosting method indicated in your microwave oven’s user guide. It’s also crucial that you cook the meat immediately after it is finished defrosting, since the temperature change could lead to contamination.
Enjoy safe food and reduce food waste
By knowing how to store your meat in the refrigerator to make it last longer and tracking when you should cook it, you can reduce your impact on the environment and keep you and your family happy and healthy. With an Electrolux fridge with TasteSeal technology, you gain even more flexibility for your tasty family meal.
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