Certain instances call for buying and storing large quantities of meat at home. If a shop or supplier is offering large discounts for bulk purchases, for example, you will definitely want to buy more than you normally do, especially if proteins are a staple in your family’s diet.
If a particular situation (think COVID-19 pandemic) requires you and your family to stay indoors and avoid going out for dinners and other events, stocking up on a variety of proteins will allow you to serve amazing dishes that will satisfy everyone’s cravings at home.
You’re diverse and exciting meat dishes might even make your loved ones forget about eating at restaurants.
However, buying large quantities of proteins can pose a huge problem. How do you store them so that you can preserve their quality and ensure they are safe to eat?
Although this may present a challenge, it shouldn’t stop you from stocking up on this key ingredient and saving money at the same time. With the right storage tips and techniques, you can maintain the quality of your proteins even if you keep them for weeks.
The top meat suppliers in the UAE share below five of the best tips and tricks to follow for storing proteins in bulk:
Keep your fridge clean
Your fridge and freezer hold different types of food. From various kinds of meat to dairy products and fruits and vegetables, raw and cooked, you are introducing new microorganisms whenever you store additional items or put them back.
To ensure your proteins maintain their good quality and are safe to cook and eat, always keep your refrigerator and freezer clean. Remove spoiled foods immediately to prevent decay, molds, and germs from spreading to other items.
Additionally, clean up spills as soon as possible. Give the whole fridge a thorough cleaning every three weeks or so.
Keep in mind that cleaning your fridge frequently can help prevent cross-contamination that can lead to food poisoning. It helps cut down on food odors as well. As such, make this a regular habit.
- Store meat in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible
If you are buying your proteins from a shop, make your journey home as short as possible. If the trip is long, consider bringing a cool box or bag and putting the cuts of meat inside them.
If your meat supplier delivers, opt for this service so that your proteins reach your home frozen and you can store them in the freezer immediately.
Whether you are buying from a shop or having your meat delivered straight to your home, do not allow them to sit in their juices. Once you have your proteins, unpack them. If necessary, wipe off the moisture with some paper towels and put them in the fridge or freezer as soon as possible.
To conserve freezer space, trim excess fat and remove bones, if possible. Also, if you have a habit of salting meat before freezing it, stop doing so. Salt draws out moisture and oxidizes the fat, giving the protein a rancid flavor and reducing the amount of time it can be left in the freezer.
Store some meat in the fridge
If you don’t have a chest freezer, your instinct will tell you to cram all the meat inside the freezer. However, you don’t have to do this all the time since you can store some proteins inside the fridge.
Separate the proteins that you plan on cooking within the next three to five days and place them in the fridge. Make sure you put these items in the coldest part of the refrigerator and ensure the appliance maintains a temperature between 28°F to 32°F.
If they are not vacuum-sealed or you are dividing large cuts into portions, place the ones that you will use immediately in a firmly sealed plastic or glass container.
If the meat is already vacuum-packed and you don’t need to divide it into portions, don’t repack it. However, make sure there is no damage to the packaging because if air has already entered the package, bacteria can grow quicker, which will spoil the protein faster.
Take note of the meat’s use-by date as well and cook it before this date.
Invest in a vacuum sealer
A vacuum sealer would be a handy tool to have at home if you plan on storing bulk meat regularly.
A vacuum sealer removes all of the oxygen from the meat’s packaging. As a result, you can preserve the quality of the protein longer. Moreover, the pressure ensures that you prevent bacteria from growing inside the package.
Additionally, vacuum packing meat helps increase its shelf life whether you store it in the freezer or fridge. This is because the absence of air in the package reduces freezer burn, thereby allowing the protein to retain moisture better.
Refrigerate leftovers properly
Lastly, try to avoid or minimize food waste in your home. If you have leftovers, keep in mind that you can still eat refrigerated or frozen cooked meat dishes within two days.
Cool the leftovers as quickly as possible, ideally within two hours before putting them back in the fridge or freezer.
When serving leftovers, defrost them completely before reheating them. Additionally, make sure they are heated until they reach a temperature of 158°F for two minutes so that the dishes are steaming hot.
And once defrosted, you should only reheat the food once since the more times you cool and reheat it, the higher the risk for food poisoning.
With these meat storage tips and tricks, you can safely store your favorite cuts of protein in your fridge for a long time. Whether there is a special occasion that warrants a drink and meat dish or you simply want to serve something your family will love, you won’t have to worry about running out of this staple ingredient.
Jad Asaad is the Marketing Manager at Bidfood UAE with more than eight years of experience in digital, online and offline marketing. He started his career in Beirut working in a creative agency and then moved to Dubai to further expand his career. He created and implemented award-winning high-impact digital and offline marketing campaigns that consistently generated revenue streams and improved performance in targeted segments.