So you’re at the grocery store and you see a special running on a meat product.
The packaging has double the portion you would normally cook for your family. You get home and put the whole package in the freezer without separating the meat before hand.
The problem comes when thawing the meat. You don’t want to thaw the whole package as you won’t be using all the meat. But, the meat is stuck together and now it’s difficult to pull it apart.
The best method to avoid meat from sticking together in the freezer is to properly pack and store the meat in the freezer. Firstly, the meat must be portioned out and then individually wrapped with aluminum foil, parchment paper, or freezer paper before it is placed in a freezer-safe bag. All air must be removed from the bag before storing the meat.
How do you keep frozen meat from sticking together?
One of the more frustrating things about freezing meat is that it often tenses to stick together in the freezer during the freezing process.
This is problematic when trying to pull the meat pieces apart while they are still frozen. The meat may tear or, even worse, you may end up having to thaw more meat than you had anticipated. This will result in you having to cook all the meat, which in turn may result in food waste. That’s because the meat will deteriorate rapidly after being thawed.
Using the correct storage method
So what should a person do in such a case?
Prevention is better than cure. One way to prevent the meat from sticking together is to use the correct storage method. This will entail separating the meat before placing it in a freezer-safe container. When meat pieces are individually wrapped before storage, it’s easier to select the appropriate amount of pieces to be defrosted as opposed to having to defrost the entire container.
Furthermore, flash freezing meat before storage may help to prevent food items from sticking together in the freezer.
Why does meat stick together when freezing
Food that touches each other will most likely freeze as a single unit. Following proper meat storage procedures is imperative to ensure that meat products do not stick together during the freezing process.
How do you separate meat before freezing?
The first step in this process is to purchase meat from a local grocer or butcher in the quantities that you want. If you do not intend on using the meat immediately, its best to store the meat in the freezer as quickly as possible.
The fresher the meat is when you store it, the better the results after you have thawed and cooked the meat.
Start by portioning out your meat to the exact amount you will be using when preparing food. For example, if you are a family of four, you may want to freeze four pieces of meat together at a time. This makes the process of thawing that much easier.
Use the correct materials to separate your meat pieces before transferring the meat to the correct freezer-safe container or bag.
Aluminium foil can be used to wrap each individual piece of meat before placing the meat in the freezer bag or container. The US Department of Agriculture states that aluminum is possibly one of the safest materials to use as it will not only help to prevent freezer burn but is also very economical.
Furthermore, it is moisture-resistant. This means that the foil will not crack or break when it is stored at very cold temperatures. It is not only ideal for separating the meat but also great at preventing air from coming into contact with the food, which may cause changes in the taste and odor of the food.
Another great material to wrap meat in before storage is parchment paper.
One of the main reasons for using parchment paper is that it not only prevents the food from sticking together in the freezer, such as hamburger patties, but it also does not contain harmful chemicals that can leach into the food either during freezing or defrosting.
In addition, the parchment paper has a non-stick coating, which means that the meat will not stick to it either. You can easily remove the parchment paper when you want to defrost the meat. Alternatively, you could use wax paper to separate the food items.
Much like parchment paper, wax paper has a non-stick coating that prevents meat from freezing onto it. In addition, the parchment paper is also moisture-resistant, which means that it will not store moisture during the freezing process. And, it’s a less expensive alternative to parchment paper.
Meat products that have been individually wrapped and are now placed inside freezer-safe bags or containers for further protection. Keep in mind that the container or bag needs to explicitly state that it is freezer safe.
These bags and containers allow you to store multiple items of separate meat at the same time.
Label your bags properly
Make sure that you place a label on the freezer-safe container that indicates the date that the food has been stored in the freezer. While meat and other products can be safely stored in the freezer at 0° F (-18° C) indefinitely, it will most certainly have an effect on the quality of the meat over time.
Properly storing meat in the freezer
The following steps highlight the procedure to follow:
- Separate and pat dry individual meat pieces
- Tightly wrap each piece in aluminum foil, parchment paper, or wax paper
- Make sure to remove as much air as possible when wrapping each piece of meat
- Place the wrapped pieces of meat in a freezer-safe bag/container
- Label the bag/container and place it in the freezer
How do you freeze chicken breasts so they don’t stick together?
When planning to freeze poultry, make sure to portion the sizes out according to what you will be using.
Start by chilling the meat before you cut it into individual portions, such as for stirfry or stewing. Make sure to always use vapor resistant freezer material. When wrapping the meat, you could use one of two techniques:
- The drugstore wrap
- The butcher wrap
Remove all air before individually wrapping the chicken pieces. Then place the individually wrapped pieces in vapor resistant freezer material and label the bag before storing them in the freezer.
How to keep frozen bags from sticking together
A major problem you may have experienced before is the freezer bag stuck to the freezer.
So you may be wondering how you can prevent this from happening. The most important thing to do in order to avoid this is to put bags in the freezer that are completely dry on the outside. Sometimes when I put meat in the freezer bags, meat touches the outside of the freezer bag, which makes it wet. Or whenever I wash my hands and touch a freezer bag, the freezer bag gets wet from my wet hands.
So, bags that are wet from water or meat juices will most likely stick together after they freezer.
Another thing that usually happens is that freezer bags stick together in the freezer because they are stored in the freezer too tight. Freezer bags which include fresh meat, should ideally not touch each other. Since it is difficult to achieve this, the best thing you could do is not to stack them on each other but rather separate them through the freezer. Once they are frozen, you can put them all together with no worry.
There are also two alternatives if your meat is already stuck together and you want to separate it.
Firslty, you could use salt to help defrost the part of the freezer that the bag is stuck to. This can be done by sprinkling salt onto the bottom of the freezer. Pouring hot water over the salt at the bottom of the freezer will help to speed up the melting process.
Alternatively, you could place a bowl of steaming hot water inside the freezer and leave the freezer door open. This will also help to speed up the melting process and allow you to remove the bag from the freezer.