If you’ve made the decision to go ‘zero-waste’ or just want to reduce plastic bag usage in your home, and, more specifically, in your kitchen, congratulations!
But, as you may already know, this may pose a problem in certain areas of your home. For example, when freezing meat, how do you get past using plastic or freezer-safe Ziploc bags?
And, what are the health implications, if any, of using plastic to freeze meat?
There are a few alternatives to using plastic bags when freezing meat. Single-use plastic and cellophane can be substituted with tempered glass containers that have air-tight lids. Alternatively, stainless steel freezer containers, reusable silicone bags, or even greaseproof paper can be used to store meat in the freezer.
Alternatives for freezing meat without bags
- Tempered glass containers
- Stainless steel containers
- Reusable silicone freezer bags
- Butcher or freezer paper
- Plastic deli containers
- Tempered glass containers
There are a plethora of reasons to avoid using single-use plastic or cellophane to wrap and store meat products in the freezer. Traditionally, most of these methods are air-tight and great for storing meat as they keep the air out and prevent freezer burn.
But, they are both bad for the environment, and more importantly, they are bad for your health.
Single-use plastic bags, for example, generate eight million tons of waste each year, and do not decompose nor can it be recycled. In addition, plastic is made of crude oil and fossil fuels, natural gas. That is one of the main reasons that you should never heat or defrost food in a plastic bag inside the microwave.
When the plastic is heated up, harmful chemicals, such as Bisphenol A (BPA), which is a common compound found in most plastic products, can leak onto the meat and cause the meat to become hazardous to consume.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to storing meat in plastic bags in the freezer.
Tempered glass containers are an ideal substitute to keep your meat products safe in the freezer. There are a few things to keep in mind when opting to use tempered glass containers.
Firstly, make sure that the product is in fact tempered glass by checking the label and make sure that it is freezer safe. It is extremely important to make sure that the tempered glass can withstand freezing temperatures before using it.
Secondly, when selecting tempered glass containers, check to make sure that the container has an air-tight lid. This will prevent any odor or smell in the freezer from affecting your meat, keep most of the air out of the container, and prevent your meat from getting freezer burn.
And lastly, make sure to leave a little room at the top of the container for some air. This will prevent the glass from cracking and breaking in the freezer.
Stainless steel freezer container
Much like tempered glass, these stainless steel containers also need to have air-tight lids that keep air out. This product is especially great for storing meat products in the freezer.
Two obvious benefits of using stainless steel containers are that they do not leak chemicals onto the food nor do they absorb any bacteria. The material is non-porous and non-staining. This means that whatever you store in the container will not stain the container, like ketchup, for example. And, cross-contamination is no longer a concern when using stainless steel.
Furthermore, stainless steel products with air-tight lids can actually preserve your food better.
According to Michigan State University, it’s extremely important to make use of a thermometer when freezing food. This helps to determine if the temperature inside the freezer is appropriate, if your food is still safe to consume, and can help monitor your food in the event of a power outage.
Reusable silicone bags
Technically, Tempered glass containers are still plastic.
However, they do offer some benefits, such as the fact that they are reusable, in some cases stronger and more durable than Tupperware, and great at reducing air inside the packaging.
How to freeze chicken without freezer bags
If you intend on storing the chicken for a short amount of time, you can wrap the chicken in un-bleached butcher paper, compostable parchment paper, or waxed paper sheets before placing the chicken inside tempered glass with an air-tight lid.
This will give a double layer of protection and help to keep the chicken fresh for longer, while keeping any unpleasant freezer odors away from the meat. This is a great alternative to plastic wrap for freezing and provides more protection as well.
How to freeze meat without ziplock bags
Tempered glass is an excellent way of storing meat products in the freezer without having to use plastic ziplock bags.
The same method can be applied to storing meat products as to storing poultry. Wrap the meat in unbleached butcher’s paper, compostable parchment paper, or waxed paper sheets before placing the meat inside the tempered glass container, making sure the lid is air tight.
In addition, this method allows you to store items individually inside a tempered glass container. So, if you have five pieces of ribeye steak, wrapped individually, you won’t need to defrost the whole container if you only need two or even three pieces.
Keep in mind, that utilizing the correct storage methods alone will not suffice. You need to ensure that your freezer is set to the correct temperature to prevent food from spoiling, as there is no point in properly wrapping the food if the freezer is not set to 0°F (-18°C) or lower.
How to freeze meat without using plastic bags
You don’t need to freeze meat in plastic containers anymore. You can use aluminum foil and make your own diy freezer bags by wrapping the meat individually, or together in aluminium foil, before placing the meat inside a non-plastic freezer safe container.
As previously mentioned, always make sure that the freezer safe container has an air-tight lid. Proper storage methods help to prevent enzymes from reacting and causing the food to spoil prematurely.
How to freeze meat without vacuum sealer
You can wrap the meat individually, or together, in aluminum foil, unbleached butcher’s paper, wax paper, or decomposable parchment paper. Then, place the meat in a reusable silicone bag and push the air out of the bag using your hands.
Alternatively, you can place the contents in the bag and then slowly lower the bag into hot water. This will create a vacuum around the contents as you slowly allow the air to escape.
Once a sufficient amount of air has been released, you can close the top of the bag and seal it.
Can you freeze meat without wrapping
It is possible to freeze meat without wrapping it by placing it directly into a freezer-safe, non-plastic container, by removing all the air. However, you will not be able to prevent freezer burn when you do this.
In addition, it may affect the quality of the meat, its flavor, and the amount of time it can safely be stored in the freezer.
Ideally, it is best to properly wrap the meat before placing it in a storage container. Properly wrapping the meat will not only preserve it for longer but will also prevent the juices of the meat from getting onto other products.
Furthermore, properly wrapping the food and eliminating any excess air will help to prevent the formation of rancid oxidative flavors on the meat products.