Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Freezing and thawing bulk ground beef

I typically buy ground beef in bulk at Costco, since it seems to be the most reasonable price (other than sales) and good quality meat I can find.  Recently, I've developed a better way to freeze it to save room in the freezer.  This new way also helps with the thawing process, and makes it much faster.

The large packages of ground beef typically come in somewhere in the 5½-6½lb range.  I look through and try to find one that is close to 6 pounds, this makes the division into freezable portions much easier!

Using six, quart size freezer bags, I separate the meat into 6 portions.

Zip the bag, leaving 1-2" open for air removal and begin flattening the meat.

The goal is for it to be even-thickness and fill up the entire bag.  Try to get it as level as possible for better stacking.  Then seal the bag.

Once all six bags are flattened and sealed, stack them.

Then they fit nicely in the freezer.

This also makes thawing the meat so much faster.  Stick it in a dish in the fridge and it will thaw in about half the time a "lump" of ground beef will thaw.  The thinner packing also makes it easier for those occasions when you forget to thaw your meat.  Just pull it from the freezer and drop it into your skillet or pot.  It will thaw quickly once it hits the heat.

This post is linked to: Kitchen Tip Tuesday

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mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I do this too, and I agree! It saves money and thaws super quick.

I usually go ahead and brown the ground beef for soups, tacos, spaghetti, etc before freezing so that I can save prep time and put meals together *really* quickly during the week. If we're having hamburgers, I'll make the patties and freeze between sheets of waxed paper. Tonight we're having meatloaf, so I have a flat 2lb ziploc of raw ground beef thawing in the fridge!

Mom2fur said...

I like to brown my ground beef ahead of time, but sometimes I just leave it raw. I, too, flatten it out like this! It really does make storage easier--I wish all meat was this easy to stack up, LOL!

Aimee Kieffer, aka "Momzoo" said...

That is a good idea, I usually use the "lump" method...lol...