Meat products have a fairly short lifespan. They rot quickly especially with incorrect storage and poor preservation methods. Find out the ways on how to preserve meat and save more money right here.
Food storage controls and extends the lifespan of fresh foods such as produce, dairy, meat products, and poultry products. It is vital to maintaining food safety. Moreover, it limits food wastage. It allows you to preserve precious ingredients and save more money. However, one simple mistake can have major consequences. Storage mistakes can lead to food contamination, and worse, food poisoning.
All fresh foods are prone to contamination. However, studies show that most food contamination incidents are due to the consumption of contaminated meat products. These incidents often stem from storage mistakes and poor preservation methods. To avoid spoilage of meat products and prolong the shelf-life, it is important to follow correct food storage.
Common Meat Preservation Methods
Drying is perhaps one of the oldest methods of preserving food. It involves the process of removing moisture from the food to stop the growth of spoilage bacteria and organisms. Pathogens thrive on moisture; thus, eradicating moisture stops water activity on the food and prevents microbial growth.
There are different ways to dry meat. You can dry the meat products by leaving them under the sun. Meanwhile, others use a dehydrator machine for easier and faster meat drying.
Smoking kills the bacteria on the meat’s surface by using the heat of the smoke. The higher temperature prevents bacterial regrowth and the smoke contains inhibitory chemicals that help prolong meat shelf-life.
Hot smoking is more suitable for meat preservation than cold smoke. Although the latter is applicable, it can’t preserve the meat for longer periods, unlike hot smoking.
Chilling or refrigeration is the most popular method of preserving meat. It extends the lifespan of meat products by keeping them in storage at an accurate temperature.
Chilling requires a temperature lower than the average room temperature. On the other hand, freezing is a food preservation method that extends food shelf-life by using below zero degrees temperature.
Freezing retains the meat quality due to the small size of ice crystals. This method can also help extend the lifespan of food by years in some cases.
Meat Storage Tips
- Organize the Meat Products
Proper food organization immensely helps in preserving their quality. Make sure to store the meat products on the bottom shelf and ready-to-eat meat on the top shelves to prevent the risk of leaks from the raw meat. If you are preserving the meat on a refrigerator, place the meat products in the chiller compartment or the freezer for longer preservation.
- Use Air-Tight Containers
Keep the meat products in an air-tight container or vacuum seal the food. Keeping the meat in a vacuum-sealed bag prolongs its freshness and quality. Likewise, it prevents freezer burn, which is a common consequence of preserving food in freezers. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can get the best vacuum sealer under $100.
- Keep an Eye on the Expiration Date
Make sure to take note of the meat’s expiration date. Place the meat products with a near expiration date on top. Also, keep track of the vacuum-sealed meat you already opened. Consume them first before opening another bag.