The best way to freeze ground beef
This clever tip, called the flat-pack freezing method, will make the upcoming taco night so much simpler.
1. Before freezing, divvy up the ground beef into resealable bags. Using a scale, weigh each bag precisely at half a pound, if you’re feeling fancy.
2. Gently flatten the patties with a rolling pin or your hand until they are about a 12-inch thick.
3. There won’t be any freezer burn, and it will defrost much more quickly after you squeeze out any extra air and seal the bag. How fast? Keep reading.
If you have 2 hours (or days): Defrost in the fridge
The best way to safely thaw ground beef is in the refrigerator, says the USDA. If you use the flat-pack freezing method, you’ll have ready-to-cook meat in just a couple of hours, whereas half a pound of ground beef in its original packing can take up to 12 hours to thaw.
1. Up to two days prior to when you intend to cook the meat, remove it from the freezer. Place it on a plate and place it in your refrigerator’s bottom shelf.
2. Once defrosted, cook the meat within two days.
If you have 30 minutes: Submerge in cold water
Flat-frozen ground beef should thaw in about ten minutes, whereas denser meat chunks will take a little longer—about 30 minutes per half-pound.
1. If it isn’t already done, place the frozen meat in a bowl of cold water and seal it in a leak-proof bag. Make sure its totally submerged.
2. Once thawed, cook immediately.
If you have 5 minutes: Use the microwave
When you’re short on time, it’s the fastest way to defrost ground beef and is extremely useful. Just keep in mind that microwave wattages vary, so you might need to thaw your beef completely for longer or shorter periods of time.
1. Place the beef on a plate in a microwave-safe, resealable bag with a small hole for steam to escape.
2. The meat should be defrosted in the microwave for three to four minutes. Turn the meat over halfway through.
3. Cook the ground beef immediately. Some may have started to cook while defrosting.
How long does frozen ground beef last?
Frozen ground beef is safe indefinitely, but loses its quality over time. For the sake of texture and flavor, frozen ground beef should be used within four months of freezing. For best results, freeze ground beef as soon as you bring it home to preserve its freshness. If youre going to use the beef soon after you buy it, you can keep it in the fridge instead. Use it within a couple days, says the USDA.
Can I refreeze ground beef once it’s thawed?
Now that your beef has finally defrosted, you’ve decided against making burgers. No problem. Ground beef (or any other meat, poultry, or fish) that has been thawed in the refrigerator can be safely refrozen; however, this is the only method where this works. Although it can take up to 48 hours, this method is the safest and the only one that works if you decide to refreeze what you defrosted. However, it does require some forethought. Ground beef or meat, stew meat, poultry, and seafood can all be cooked once they have thawed. Beef, pork, or lamb roasts, chops, and steaks will keep for three to five days.
According to the USDA, any foods left outside the refrigerator for more than two hours or for more than one hour in temperatures higher than 90°F shouldn’t be refrozen. In other words, raw meat, poultry and fish can be refrozen as long as they were thawed safely in the first place. Raw frozen goods are also safe to cook and refreeze, as well as previously frozen cooked foods. If you want to skip thawing altogether, meat, poultry or fish can be cooked or reheated from their frozen state. Just know it’ll take about one and a half times as long to cook, and you may notice a difference in quality or texture.
Ready to cook? Here are seven ground beef recipes we love.
How to Defrost Meat Quickly & Safely
What is the best way to defrost beef?
It’s best to prepare ahead of time and thaw frozen food in the refrigerator where it will stay at a safe, constant temperature — at 40 °F or below. Food can be safely defrosted in three different ways: in the refrigerator, in cold water, and in the microwave. Foods can be safely cooked from the frozen state if you’re in a hurry.
How do you defrost beef in 5 minutes?
Their finding: Submerging frozen meat or fish in cold water works best for thawing it out. Of course, you must wrap the food in plastic to keep water out, but water will quickly and efficiently thaw food. This is due to the fact that water conducts heat more effectively than air.