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Old 01-11-2012, 11:53 PM   #1
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Question for chefs or food experts in properly freezing meats and poultry

In cooking school did they teach how to properly store meats and poultry and freezing them? Should you wash beef, pork, or chicken before you freeze? my aunt does this all the time and I don't think it's right. I've tried to google it but it doesn't say if it it's harmful to wash before freezing which is my main concern. Thanks chefs..

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Old 01-12-2012, 12:30 AM   #2
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Old 01-12-2012, 02:04 AM   #3
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Good morning from North Wales. I dont wash meat ect before freezing.
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:51 AM   #4
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It's not necessary to wash meat before (or after) freezing. The USDA advises against washing poultry before cooking because of the potential for spreading any bacteria.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:02 AM   #5
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I don't recommend freezing your meat period. Every time you freeze your product you loose 10% of it.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:56 AM   #6
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I don't recommend freezing your meat period. Every time you freeze your product you loose 10% of it.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:01 AM   #7
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That 10% isn't physical product loss, rather, it's a loss of flavour, juices, and other valuables one must consider when purchasing or using a piece of meat.

Do me a favour, go purchase 1 side of chicken breast, slice it in half length ways. Freeze one, fridge the other. After two days, thaw out the frozen breast. Cook both piece's and you will notice a considerable difference between the two.

Consider, by trade, I'm a Chef. One would assume I know what I'm talking about.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:52 AM   #8
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I don't see the point of washing meat before freezing. (Unless, of course, you're doing your own killing and are properly rinsing it.) I rarely freeze anything. Most modern refrigerators are self-defrosting, and that's not a good environment for frozen meat in terms of maintaining texture. Far more important is how it's repackaged from the store pack and how well fat is trimmed, since fats can become rancid, even while frozen. I question how well most people package their meat for freezing. It's enough effort that I just don't buy more meat than I can use quickly and don't need to, anyway.

As to the suggested chicken freezing experiment... How much of that is a test of the home freezer's ability. I suspect a great many people have never tasted chicken that hadn't been frozen for considerably longer than two days. Almost all grocery store chicken pieces have obviously been frozen. They are not infrequently still frozen, when the store gets behind. (Of course, most chicken today is such pallid meat that it probably doesn't make much difference.)

I do sometimes have to buy frozen shrimp, when there's nothing else. It's thawed in the display, simply, I think, to make it look more appealing, but a few steps away are the same shrimp in its original frozen pack. There is a difference, though, when fresh is available, which it frequently is, being close enough to the shrimp fleet. There is a detectable and meaningful difference in texture.

I also sometimes have deer meat in the freezer, when someone shoots Bambi and a few friends and has more than they need. But it's professionally wrapped for freezing when I get it.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:08 AM   #9
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Welcome to DC. Looks as if your first question will generate a lot of replies and opinions.

I don't wash meat first. I do, however, take it out of the packaging if purchased in the supermarket, wrap it with cling wrap, and then double-wrap it with freezer paper. For economic reasons, I like to buy meat when on special, freeze it to use later. I wish I could afford to buy organic meat/grass fed, etc., but I can't. I have a freezer that has a "flash freeze" setting, so I freeze meat (and other stuff) in that freezer, and then move it to one of the other freezers (we have lots of freezers because of the 3000 sq. ft. garden).
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Old 01-12-2012, 12:30 PM   #10
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I sometimes buy fish at the market for use as raw sushi. When I do this, I use a Clorox bath for the fish to make sure that any bacteria that has been introduced to it in it's handling is killed.

You must measure the Clorox and water at exactly one teaspoon of unscented Clorox per/gallon of water.

You never know who has handled the meat at the market or what it has touched. This soaking/rinsing method will kill any bacteria on the meat or veggies. Read this entire article and the comments at the bottom before responding; you may learn more than you think.

Bacteria only gets on the surface and the outside 1/8th inch of meat. That is what is ground into minced meats that make it unsafe to eat raw.

I buy the huge cuts of Tuna Steaks and do this to them. I also buy any whole fillets and do it. It's a wonderful way to enjoy more raw sushi meat without the costs associated with "sushi quality meats".

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Old 01-12-2012, 12:31 PM   #11
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I never wash meat before freezing -- unless it's a fresh kill (game or chicken) and has some blood on it. Then I do just because. I don't know if I'd need to or not but we are doing that outside anyway and it makes me feel better.

As to freezing meat, I would venture that most of us don't have the luxury of eating fresh meat only. I know we sure don't.
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:15 PM   #12
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I don't recommend freezing your meat period. Every time you freeze your product you loose 10% of it.
Not everybody are so lucky or able to buy meat at the snap of the fingers. Some of us have no other choice.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:14 PM   #13
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There's no reason to wash meat or poultry before freezing. I wash poultry after thawing. I never wash meat.

Maybe you shouldn't freeze this stuff but I buy meats and poultry when on sale, and freeze what I won't use within a reasonable period. Maybe it's not as good after freezing but I can't afford to eat only fresh.

I wrap steaks separately before freezing them. I wrap individual chicken pieces separately too before freezing, so I can thaw only what's needed. Whether meat or chicken I always discard any retail container and packing material, then wrap in my own plastic wrap. I often then put the wrapped steaks or chicken pieces in a plastic bag.

Also, with steaks, I mark the date on the wrap with a permanent marker.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:14 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone for the warm hospitality..

For the record I would never ever wash a good piece of steak or beef. It's mainly the infamous oinkster, fish, and chicken which are always in the news for semonella or some food related poisoning.

And if y'all watch food network or just about any cooking show on pbs and what not...nearly all the chefs emphasize washing poultry esp chicken..not so much pork or beef. Surely you've seen Alton Brown? But for me my pork chops always seem to have that icky, slimy film on it that I must wash off so that it can be nice n clean to absorb my marinade which I think makes a difference.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:22 PM   #15
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Instead of washing pork or beef, just wipe it off with a paper towel. Washing may cause loss of internal juices.

And now that fish has been mentioned, you never ever freeze store bought fish. Use it fresh or buy already frozen.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:27 PM   #16
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There is no reason at all to wash your meat/poultry. Think of it this way, bacteria (like salmonella) is usually present on raw meat, especially when that meat is in the temperature danger zone 41-135 degrees F. When you cook your meat, the heat kills the bacteria. For poultry, it has to be cooked entirely because the bacteria is generally through all of the meat. Beef, lamb, and I'll even say pork, don't need to be cooked all the way through because, unless it is ground, the bacteria only lives on the outside. Long story short? Cook your meat/poultry properly and make sure you don't cross-contaminate it after it is done and you probably have a 95% chance of never getting sick from it. I can't say that's an accurate percentage, but its a good guestimation. :)
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:38 PM   #17
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It's mainly the infamous oinkster, fish, and chicken which are always in the news for semonella or some food related poisoning.
If your meat was contaminated with salmonella washing it would not get rid of the nasties. All it would do is spread them to wherever the water that you used to wash the meat hits next.
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Old 01-12-2012, 05:56 PM   #18
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Actually I sometimes wash poultry and sometimes not, and don't have any reason other than my whim at the moment.

I used to cook chicken often while camping and with my primitive cooking facilities (Coleman stove, ice chest, jug of water, portable gas grill) I realized that washing chicken was just going to get contaminants on my hands and anything else that came in contact with the chicken. When camping there is just no way to wash poultry that doesn't make the situation worse, no way to avoid spreading any contamination. At home it's a lot easier to wash your hands, wash the counter, etc.

So far eating Chicken that wasn't washed before cooking hasn't ever harmed me. I'm willing to add chicken to the other things I don't wash.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:52 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by apple916 View Post
In cooking school did they teach how to properly store meats and poultry and freezing them? Should you wash beef, pork, or chicken before you freeze? my aunt does this all the time and I don't think it's right. I've tried to google it but it doesn't say if it it's harmful to wash before freezing which is my main concern. Thanks chefs..
I think everything has been discussed but your actual question. If your Aunt wants to wash everything she freezes, why would you think it's "not right"? Nothing harmful will happen to the meat if it's washed first.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:05 PM   #20
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I think everything has been discussed but your actual question. If your Aunt wants to wash everything she freezes, why would you think it's "not right"? Nothing harmful will happen to the meat if it's washed first.
A friend of mine told me never to wash meat because it will get slimy. I was baffled. I eventually found out that she had been buying meat and washing it as soon as she got home. Then a day or two later when she wanted to use it, it was often slimy.
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