FROZEN VS FRESH MEAT - The Great Debate!
We know that keeping a ready supply of great quality meat in the freezer is so convenient. But will you be compromising quality? Not with Dirty Clean Food Meat!
Can you tell if meat has been frozen?
Some people will argue, but if meat is blast frozen and properly thawed there should be no compromise of quality or flavour.
What happens to meat during freezing?
Meat is complicated…..with the texture and flavour varying depending on how the animal was raised, what it was fed, what cut of meat etc. Some changes do happen on freezing, but we minimise their impact through careful management.
Texture: Ice crystals are formed during the freezing process which can damage the cell membranes in the meat. It primarily affects the lean muscle fibres which are more susceptible than the connective tissue or fat.
- Freezing quickly in a commercial blast freezer will ensure the ice-crystals are small, minimising the damage to the fibres.
- Air gives ice-crystals space to form, insulates the meat so it freezes more slowly and can allow drying or freezer burn on the outside of the meat. We use vacuum sealing to remove all air from contact with the meat.
Flavour: The metabolic processes are slowed when meat is frozen, but not completely stopped. Changes in amino acids which give meat their distinctive flavour, for example, may break down very slowly.
- We freeze the meat straight after processing and hold it at a very low storage temperature.
- You should use and cook meat prior to the Best Before Date on the pack. This is the maximum time we recommend keeping the meat frozen before it starts to impact on eating quality.
What is the best way to thaw meat?
- In the refrigerator – this is the safest way and just takes a little bit of planning. Place the wrapped meat on the lowest shelf to prevent dripping and allow 24 hours for every 2.5kg.
- In the microwave – need to be careful since your microwave can start to cook the meat before it’s completely thawed. Only useful if it can be cooked immediately after defrosting.
- As part of the cooking process – may work for small thin items like hamburger patties etc. Need to check that the internal temperature is safe.
- Cold water - place the wrapped meat in the sink or large bowl and fill with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes as the meat continues to thaw. A 500g package of meat can thaw in an hour or less. Packages of 2kg can take more than two hours.
- Don’t thaw on the bench and never keep meat at room temperature for more than two hours.