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Posted: 4/17/2008 8:49:37 AM EST
Let's say we stock our freezers, how long realistically can you expect that meat to last, so long as the freezer is working? I know other than some freezer burn I've pulled out meat after a year and it was still fine.

Have people who butcher their own meat (thinking especially rabbit here) found any difference to beef or chicken from the store?

Also, for protection from freezer burn what are the best methods you have found? Foil doesn't seem to work very well, freezer bags seem to work a lot better. Patting the meat dry before freezing seems to help as well.
The best I can think of was some vacuum packed meat from Costco, that stuff seemed just about like it would last forever.

Do you guys with vacuum sealers at home suggest them for storing meats in the freezer?
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 9:34:31 AM EST
The best way to freeze meat is to remove as much air from the bag as you possibly can and then freeze the meat as fast as possible.

I don't know exactly how long frozen meat keeps.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 9:48:15 AM EST

Originally Posted By AndrewS:
The best way to freeze meat is to remove as much air from the bag as you possibly can and then freeze the meat as fast as possible.


+1. The faster the better.

My vacuum sealer bags work great in the freezer. I have used both food-saver and an off-brand.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 9:57:02 AM EST
Vacuum packed and kept at -20 it will last for years but after 2 years it may develop some off flavors but still be "edible".
Incidentally if you don't have a vacuum sealer you can use a zip lock bag for meat. Just add some water to displace all the air then zip it closed and freeze.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 10:02:01 AM EST

Originally Posted By Rich_V:
Vacuum packed and kept at -20 it will last for years but after 2 years it may develop some off flavors but still be "edible".
Incidentally if you don't have a vacuum sealer you can use a zip lock bag for meat. Just add some water to displace all the air then zip it closed and freeze.


Hmmmm, never tried that with red meat, but it works great on trout!
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 10:08:08 AM EST
I have no idea how long it last either, but I use a vacuum sealer and then I mark oin the bag what it is and the date. It seems to be a lot better than using plain ol ziploc bags.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 10:08:34 AM EST
It will be a source of protein for ages but taste will be the issue. In my experience the meat will taste good for about six months to a year if its in normal grocery store packaging, much longer if vacuum packed.
Personally I'd emphisize canned meats for SF purposes they last a long time and don't require fuel to keep.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 10:09:08 AM EST
And Ive learned that you can buy the bags in bulk either online or through a butcher that might use them. I picked up a couple rolls of 100' for less than what 20' roll costs.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 10:49:22 AM EST
people saved meat for long periods of time before freezers with salt
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 11:04:30 AM EST
you can also can meat and have it last for 2-3 years on the shelf in the pantry.

google: canning meat
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 1:51:22 PM EST

Originally Posted By FlatlinesUp:
you can also can meat and have it last for 2-3 years on the shelf in the pantry.

google: canning meat


+1

I was just going to mention that. Canned meat lasts much longer than frozen meat. I started pressure canning last year in hopes that I would get some venison. So far it's just been stew meat and other meat I get on sale. It's easier just to can plain meat and use it in reciepes than to make stew or chili.

It's a lot easier to can meat too. Well, you have to have a pressure canner first, but after that you just put the meat in it and can it. You don't even have to cook it, it cooks in the jar!
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 2:47:48 PM EST
I have heard stories about canning sausage.

You fry it and then put it in a jar and fill the jar with the grease and seal.

Anybody tried that?
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 3:04:23 PM EST
I have begun rotating some of my frozen meat that is 2yrs. old. All of it was vacuum packed with a food saver. Ground beef, ground turkey, steaks, salmon fillets and chicken parts all taste fine and look fine. I can't tell the difference from store bought fresh and the 2yr old stuff. Neither can my wife. It is kept in my chest freezer and the thermometer I keep in there always reads between -5 and 0 degrees F.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 3:56:10 PM EST
I have also found some two year old rib-eyes, they tasted just the same as the ones I ate the day I vacuum sealed them.
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 4:19:13 PM EST
I've used 2+ year old vac sealed meat & it was just fine. Had some ice crystals on the meat; I'm wondering if the seals started to go or I just didn't get it dry properly.

Anyway I'd love to hear more about pressure canning
Link Posted: 4/17/2008 5:42:42 PM EST
One thing that a very frugal person told me about while packing deer meat(or whatever) up in ziploc bags is to get the bags as full as you want them. Fill up your sink with water, and right before you seal them, dip them in the water, seal up. This way, the water pressure pushes out most of the air. It'll take you a couple of bags to get used to it probably, but it works, and is cheaper than a vacuum sealer. I've had deer meat last like this for over a year.

Or, you can just buy a vacuum sealer. I just wanted to put that out there, as we call it the "poor man's vacuum sealer."
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