Here are some tips when freezing meat and seafood.
To freeze meat and seafood, I use the following:
- Ziploc bags – snack size (mainly for bacon), quart size (for most meats), and gallon size for larger items like fish or bones. You can use either the bags that are made for the freezer or normal ones.
- Sandwich bags with a fold top- these are cheap and great for freezing smaller portions before placing the frozen items in a larger Ziploc bag or container.
- A permanent marker for labeling.
When labeling the frozen meat and seafood, it is helpful to write the following information:
- What the item is and how many of item, if applicable (e.g., ground beef, pork loin x4, pork ribs, chicken thighs x6, etc.)
- Date of freezing – do note that meat does not keep forever in the freezer. There are guidelines you can refer to here.
- Weight of meat – a weighing scale would be helpful for this
Meat is one of the more expensive things on our food budget. When it comes to meat, we eat chicken most frequently because it is the cheapest meat. However, we don’t buy the cheapest chicken. We’ve had some pretty scary experiences buying cheap chicken – too much fat, no flavor and weird texture. As such, we try our very best to buy affordable (meaning, not more than $2.50/lb) organic, free-range chickens. At the end of the day, not all the chickens we buy are fed an organic feed, but they are in general labelled “organic” and have less fat and good flavor. Currently, we buy
most of our chickens from either Costco or Whole Foods (when it’s on sale, of course). At Costco, their organic, free-range chicken is currently about $2.30/lb. We also pick up our organic chicken drumsticks from there. They come prepackaged in packs of 5-6 drumsticks – perfect for easy defrosting and use since we consume about 6 drumsticks a week for meals. We only buy our chicken from Whole Foods when it’s on sale (meaning less than $2.50/lb). We usually get the Mary’s brand of chicken. We love how their chicken is air-chilled, which equals better flavor.
When freezing chicken, we usually freeze whole chickens whole. Drumsticks that aren’t prepackaged are frozen in packs of 6. Same goes with any other chicken parts that might be bought (e.g., thighs, breasts etc.). We usually do not purchase only breast meat as that can be very expensive.
Freezing Beef and Pork:
For beef and pork, I usually freeze the meats in 1lb servings since most recipes call for at least a pound of meat. When I buy my pork ribs for making soup at the Asian grocer, I usually ask the butcher to cut it into chunks for me. That makes food prep a lot easier too as I don’t have to worry about cutting up the ribs before cooking.
For fish, we usually buy it in bulk at Costco or the Asian grocer. Fresh fish is expensive where I live so we eat a lot of frozen fish. When you buy your fish frozen, some brands package each fish fillet individually. However, most of the time, the fish is just sold in one pack. I buy cheap sandwich bags with fold tops (not Ziploc bags) and place each piece of fish into the sandwich bag. I then place all the fish into one large Ziploc bag to freeze.
We also freeze other meats like bacon. I freeze 2 bacon strips and pack them into a snack size Ziploc bag.