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Opinions as to the relative merits of vacuum sealing meat vs. wrapping meat in butcher paper and plastic for freezing? Which is better? Thanks.

asked by Eliana60 over 6 years ago
7 answers 5703 views
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Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added over 6 years ago

Always best to remove as much air as possible, so I'd go for vacuum sealing if you have the tools. If not, butcher paper and plastic are time honored.

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hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

added over 6 years ago

What amanda said. Air touching meat ==> freezer burn. If you don't have the vacuum sealing stuff, try the Glad Press and Seal as your base layer, then follow with foil or freezer paper.

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pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 6 years ago

Agree with previous comments. If you have the vacuum sealer, well that's superior. But zip locks aren't so bad either. Just don't go all sous vide.

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added over 6 years ago

Agreed. Another great thing about vacuum sealing is it makes rapid defrosting in water easier.

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added over 6 years ago

How long are you storing it and what kind of freezer do you have?

If you have a refrigerator-freezer combination and the meat will be stored for only a week or two, it can be re-wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. If you opt for plastic freezer bags, press out the air or suck it out with a straw. If you're planning to use your refrigerator-freezer to store the meat for longer than two weeks, invest in a vacuum sealer. Even with a vacuum sealer, don't plan on it maintaining its quality for more than 3-6 months, depending on how your refrigerator-freezer maintains a steady 0 degrees.

If you have a stand-alone freezer, the meat won't be subjected to the temperature fluctutations of a refreigerator-freezer, so condensation will less likely form in the packages of meat. Nonetheless, you still want to remove all the air between the meat and its wrapping because it's in those gaps that freezer burn happens and ice crystals from condensation will form. For a stand-alone freezer, plastic wrap is the cheapest and easiest option. Wrap twice, making sure the first layer is smoothed onto the meat like it's a second skin. If you're worried about a sharp bone poking through the plastic, you can use paper over the plastic for additional protection. My old retired butcher says he can keep meat this way perfectly for two years, although it's beyond me why anyone would want or need to store meat for that long.

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added over 6 years ago

As I've posted before, ziploc makes a great vacuum bag. you buy the starter set with a pump (a bit like a vaccuvin) and then the bags. I've been using them for all kind of stuff (from stock, which I freeze in trays first, to raw stuff to cooked entrees and they work great without adding another appliance to my collection.


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added over 6 years ago

Thanks everyone.
Innoabrd-are these Ziploc bags re-useable?

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