You may be tempted to wrap different meats in the same bag for freezing, simply to save space in the freezer. But, the question on your mind is:
Is it safe to freeze different meats together? And, what about defrosting? Will it affect the safety of the meat products if they are defrosted together?
While it is possible to freeze different kinds of raw meat together as well as defrost different kinds of raw meat at the same time, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Different types of meat have differing life spans in the freezer and refrigerator. Fresh and raw meat can never be frozen in the same bag or defrosted together. And, all the meat must be cooked immediately after defrosting.
Can I freeze different meats together
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives clear instructions on how to properly freeze different kinds of meat. But it gives no indication whether these meats can be frozen in the same bag.
Freshness and Quality
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) highlights that food, more specifically meat, should be frozen at 0°F. Keep in mind that freezing meat will not sterilize or tenderize it. The freezing process simply halts the enzyme activity in the meat and prolongs its shelf life.
Furthermore, it is important to inspect the condition of the food at the time of freezing. If the meat is placed in the freezer at its peak, it will proceed with enzyme activity from the same point, after the thawing process. In other words, placing meat close to spoiling in the freezer will not save the meat.
How to store different meats in the same bag
Prepare each type of meat by wrapping it in parchment paper or aluminum foil before putting the different types of meat in the same plastic bag. Ideally, you should use a Ziploc bag, or any other type of heavy duty plastic bag or container that is clearly marked as freezer safe.
Always follow safe food handling techniques, such as washing hands and surfaces, when working with raw meat, to prevent cross-contamination.
Freezing different meats together with different meat lifespan
Another key point to keep in mind is that different meats have different shelf lives in the freezer and the refrigerator. For example, roasts and steaks may last anywhere from six to twelve months in the freezer, while a whole chicken may only last up to three months in the freezer.
These timeframes are an indication of how long the different meats can be stored before storage starts to alter the taste of the meat. The same applies to defrosting meat in the refrigerator. Some meats can sit longer than others.
This is where it gets a bit tricky. While you can freeze different meats together, its best to freeze meats with the same freezer life span together. This is because meat should be cooked immediately after thawing.
And, if you have different meats in the same bag, and you’re defrosting different types of meat at the same time, the question you should consider is this:
Will I be cooking all the meat in this bag today?
If you don’t intend on cooking the different meats on the same day, you may want to avoid freezing them together.
Is it safe to freeze different meats together
It is safe to freeze different kinds of meat together. Keep in mind that as long as all the meat is raw it is safe to freeze together. Or, as long as all the meat has already been cooked, it is safe to freeze the meat together.
Never freeze raw and cooked meat together.
You will need to use the appropriate storage material and method when freezing the meat. You can use double layers of wax paper between the different pieces of meat before placing the meat into the freezer safe plastic container/bag. This will help to easily separate the meat when you are ready to thaw it.
Furthermore, you need to make sure that you label and date each package. And finally, when you put the individually wrapped pieces of meat in the freezer safe Ziploc bag or other freezer safe container, make sure to release as much air from the bag/container as possible before putting the meat in the freezer.
As long as you follow the guidelines for freezing different meats you should be able to put the pieces in one bag.
Can pork and beef be frozen together
This will depend entirely on the type of pork or beef that will be stored.
For example, ground beef and ground pork only lasts for 3 to 4 months in the freezer, while beef and pork cutlets, roasts, and chops can last for 4 to 12 months in the freezer.
If you are freezing the same type of meat, for example ground beef and ground pork, or beef and pork cutlets, you may be able to freeze them together.
It is imperative to inspect the quality of the meat before freezing and to ensure that each piece of meat is properly wrapped in aluminum foil or parchment paper before putting it into the freezer safe plastic bag/container. In addition, you may want to take it a step further and separate each piece of meat with a double layer of wax paper.
Can you defrost different meats together
Yes and no.
How do you intend on thawing the meat? There are several options for thawing meat safely, including putting the meat in cold water or allowing it to thaw in the refrigerator over night. Provided that you understand how to thaw meat and how long different types of meat are able to last in the refrigerator, while thawing will help you to prevent meat spoilage.
Keep in mind that some meat may discard liquid when thawing. It may be best to separate the meat and thaw it in different containers in the refrigerator during this process. This will prevent the liquid from different cuts of meat from touching other cuts of meat.
Is it safe to defrost different meats together
Thawing meat together should not pose too much of a problem, provided that you understand how to correctly thaw meat using the different techniques.
When using the microwave, you want to be sure that it is set to defrost, or at least that it is set to 20% to 30% of its full capacity. You don’t want to cook the meat in the microwave, you simply want to defrost it.
In addition, when using certain techniques, such as the microwave, you need to make sure that the meat is being rotated during defrosting to prevent the edges from starting to cook.
How can you safely thaw different types of frozen meat
The best method for successfully and safely thawing different types of meat at the same time is to use the refrigerator and thaw the meat over night.
Place a rack inside a refrigerator dish and place the meat onto the rack. Allow the meat to thaw overnight. Open the bag to allow liquid to fall down into the dish while the meat is elevated away from the liquid.