Beef, chicken, veal or pork; how to preserve freshly purchased cuts of meat? Are there tips and rules to follow to do it in the safest way possible without sacrificing the taste and compactness of our steaks? Preserving fresh meat is possible and also very simple, so let's see how.
How to preserve freshly purchased meat without losing its flavor, compactness and organoleptic characteristics? We know that when we are dealing with raw food, the risk of bacterial proliferation can be higher than cooked food; yet with a few simple precautions we can safely keep food fresh, including meat. So here is a practical guide on how to preserve fresh meat, whether you choose to do it for a shorter time in the refrigerator or for a long time in the freezer.
1. How to preserve fresh meat in the refrigerator
The easiest way to preserve fresh meat is to put it in the refrigerator, where it can be preserved for up to 6-7 days, based on the cut of meat, the type of packaging and, of course, the freshness. To best preserve meat in the refrigerator, here are some simple tips:
It is better not to store the meat in the package in which you purchased it; remove meat from the plastic, dry it with a paper towel and place it in a tightly closed glass or rigid plastic container.
Place the meat in the lower compartment of your refrigerator, where the colder temperature ensures less proliferation of bacteria present in the meat.
When you decide to use the meat for your preparations, take it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you start cooking.
Before cooking, check that the meat does not have a bad smell, that it has not lost too many liquids and has no gray or greenish streaks.
2. How to preserve fresh meat in the freezer
If you want to preserve freshly purchased meat for a longer time, the best method is to put it in the freezer. After checking the freshness of the cut of meat, here are some simple rules to keep it in the freezer in the right way;
Before storing it in the freezer, remove the meat from the package, dab it with a paper towel to remove excess liquids and juices, then place it in a special container.
To preserve fresh meat in the freezer, we recommend using hermetically sealed plastic or glass containers, or bags suitable for freezing. If you do not have special containers available, you can vacuum pack the meat with a special machine that you can easily buy, or wrap it several times with plastic film.
Always place a label indicating the date of freezing on the meat you want to keep in the freezer.
3. What not to do to best preserve fresh meat
We have seen how to preserve fresh meat but, whether you place it in the refrigerator or in the freezer, you must always be careful not to make small mistakes that could ruin the preservation process:
Never put cuts of fresh meat in contact with cooked meat; the raw food bacteria could contaminate those already cooked.
Always use closed containers, refrigerator bags or plastic wrap to cover the meat you want to preserve.
Always separate the different types of meat (chicken, pork, beef): it is very important that they do not "contaminate" each other.
When you decide to use frozen meat for your recipes, take it out of the freezer at least 12 hours before cooking and let it thaw slowly in the refrigerator.
4. Preservation times
Not all cuts of meat are the same and according to the processing and the animal of origin, times and methods of preservation can also change.
Minced meat, more processed than other cuts, must be consumed within 24 hours from the time of purchase.
Pork can be preserved for a maximum of 5 days in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer, at a temperature of -18 degrees C.
Veal, stored in the right way, can remain in the refrigerator for 5 days and in the freezer for up to 12 months, better if sealed in a frost or vacuum bag.
The white meat of chicken and turkey must not remain in the refrigerator for more than 2-3 days while, stored in the freezer in vacuum-sealed or well-closed containers, they can be kept for a maximum of 6 months.
Beef can be preserved in the refrigerator for 2 days, in the freezer for 12 months, always at a temperature of -18 degrees C.