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Unread 01-14-2013, 04:24 PM   #1
qnbiker
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Default Freezer management

I was looking for some frozen burgers this weekend and had to dig deeper in my freezer than usual to find them. As I was moving around all the meat I have in there, I found half a beef tenderloin dated December, 2011. I vaguely remember buying a whole tenderloin and cutting it in half, cooking one half and freezing the other.

I've got butts, ribs, pork loins, turkey breasts, steaks, briskets, etc. in there and it's pretty full. I didn't think anything stayed in there more than a few months but this tenderloin did. I wonder what else is in there from my younger days?

I'm defrosting it now and will cook it tonight if it's still good. It's in a Foodsaver bag and they're supposed to keep for about a year, so it should be. Still, it bothers me that I left it in there so long. I'm thinking of making a spreadsheet of everything in there and the dates. That way, I can use the FIFO method and never let this happen again. Any of you have a method you like to document what's in your freezer?
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Unread 01-14-2013, 04:36 PM   #2
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Here is some info from the USDA.

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FACTSheets/...g/index.asp#19



1. Understand that freezing at 0 °F does not destroy whatever bacteria, yeasts, or molds are present in raw food; it only inactivates them. Given the right temperature and condition, thawed frozen food must be handled just like any perishable item in terms of cooking or eating. The microorganisms can be reactivated and multiply once the food is removed from cold storge.

2. It’s always best practice to rapid-freeze the food to prevent the molecules from forming large ice crystals. Frozen food with large crystals can cause frozen meat to drip out its juices during thawing.

3. Packages should not be stored stacked on top of each other; instead, they should be laid out in single layers, unless the packages being stacked are already frozen solid.

4. Ideally, keeping the freezer door closed most of the time, allows longer storage, since it maintains the freezer temperature at a constant zero or below -zero degree level. Use a separate freezer compartment for food that does not require long-term food storage.

5. Another frozen food safety practice is to keep an appliance thermometer inside the freezer compartment to allow temperature-checks. This is especially important when power outages or freezing mechanism malfunctions occur.

6. Keep a freezer storage chart as a ready reference to determine the optimum freezing time for a particular food. Although proper freezing can keep the food safe for an indefinite period, observance of the ideal freezing time keeps the food at its best quality.

7. Remember to cook thawed frozen food properly, because certain food parasites can be destroyed only by thorough cooking.

8. Discard any thawed, frozen food with a rancid smell or with off-odor, as it denotes food that has been over-stored.

9. When freezing fresh meat or poultry in their original packages, make sure to overwrap them to allow for long-term food storage and to prevent their permeability to air, which may diminish food quality and safety.

10. Freezer burn is caused by air, which contacts the food surface; this does not make the food unsafe, it only diminishes the quality. Freezer burn may appear as grayish brown and leathery dry spots. Do not include said portions by cutting them off before or after cooking the food.

11. In cases where the overwrapping gets accidentally torn or ripped while in the freezer, make it a point to add additional overwraps, or rewrap if necessary.

12. Color changes in stored meats can also be caused by abnormally long storage. Stored, frozen poultry may show some bone darkening when thawed because the natural pigments may seep through the porous bone parts.

13. Frozen, fully cooked food and vegetables that manifest dulled colors denotes prolonged storage beyond what is normal, or it may be due to improper packaging that caused the food to dry-up.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 04:57 PM   #3
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I've lost a few pieces of good meat in my freezer, and my freezer is not all that big. I see a good piece of meat for a good price, I buy it, vacuum seal it, and put it in the freezer. In the process, I bury another good piece of meat I got for a good price, vacuum sealed, and put in the freezer.

I pull everything out of the freezer from time-to-time, just to see what I have, and what I need to cook soon.

My main problem is that I don't remember what I have and don't have when I find a good piece of meat for a good price. I haven't figured out a system to deal with this problem, that I would actually use.

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Unread 01-14-2013, 05:06 PM   #4
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You are correct, a vac-sealed item will keep much longer than an ordinary wrapped meat item.

As far as management of the freezer, I keep separate shelves for beef, pork, poultry. I make it a point to put the newer items in the back of the freezer so it is found last. I tried to keep a list on the door and it was impossible to keep up with updates.

Now I have a small dry erase board that list the number of butts and racks of ribs so that when I order cases for an event, I don't have to order an extra case if I need an extra one, two, or three more than the full cases to have ample raw product.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 05:28 PM   #5
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I love numbered, plastic milk crates. Makes it easy to get to what ya want out without tossing stuff around in a chest freezer. A list of what, were and when for each.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 06:26 PM   #6
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My wife keeps a freezer log. Everything going into the freezer has the name and date written in sharpie on the ziploc. We suck out whatever air we can from the bag with a straw (cheapo foodsaver mod?). The item and date gets recorded in the freezer log book which stays in the kitchen. There are separate sections for which freezer (main kitchen or second freezer in laundry room) has what (meats, cooked food, etc).

I keep sabotaging the system by not recording what I buy and stash in the freezers, but she usually catches up with me and updates the log. It has worked pretty well for several years now.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 07:00 PM   #7
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I hear you pain on this one.! I have had the same problem. Smoke meat, vacuum seal and in the freezer, repeat. Then it is all buried and never know what is in there. So-------- I got hold of some milk crates and started a freezer log. It has worked great so far, always easy to look at the log and know what you have and how old it is. Just need to keep it updated, but not all that much extra work.
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Unread 01-14-2013, 09:18 PM   #8
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my wife and i(i cant take credit for it) keep the different types of frozen foods in plastic bins. it helps us dig through the large chest freezer to find what we want but we should definitely start a freezer log.

....as i'm typing i'm remembering some meat in my freezer that needs some attention
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Unread 01-15-2013, 12:20 AM   #9
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Tenderloin turned out great. I guess roasts really do keep over a year in FoodSaver bags.

I vacuum seal everything I put in the freezer and write the date and what's in it on the bag. I thought I really had it together but I guess I need a log. In December, I bought 2 butts on sale thinking I was out. Now I have 4 butts in the freezer. And the date doesn't do any good if you don't check.

If I had a spreadsheet, I could look and see what I have that needs to be cooked. My problem is I probably wouldn't check that either. MadMan's dry erase board seems like a good idea. I will have to walk past it every time I go into the garage. Oh, well, at least I know how to cook the stuff that doesn't go bad.
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Unread 01-15-2013, 06:45 AM   #10
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I do mine just a little different. Most everything goes into a ziplock because my vac sealer ain't worth a chit. All the air pushed out then triple wrapped tight in commercial film. I have never had a problem with drying out or freezer burn. I don't know if this effects the storage time or not. I do know that one year old vegetables are just fine.
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