If you are like me, then you want to make everything clean especially the foods that you buy from the market.
We are accustomed to washing fruits, vegetables, and meat before refrigerating or freezing them.
But is it necessary to wash especially meat before storing it in the refrigerator or freezer?
In this post, I will share with you some important facts that might surprise you. If you want to learn more, just keep reading.
So, should you wash meat before freezing?
Well, you don’t have to. Many people think that it is necessary to wash meat before placing it in the freezer because they think that washing will eliminate all the bacteria and germs. But actually, the USDA says that you should never wash meat because washing it would not destroy any bacteria on its surface.
The purpose of washing meat is to wash away any harmful germs that may cause illness and other health risks if the food is consumed.
But as mentioned above, any remaining bacteria on the surface of meat after rinsing will be destroyed during cooking. That’s why it is not necessary to wash meat before cooking it.
Another reason why you don’t need to wash meat is that if you do, it will absorb water.
So the next time you eat that steak or chicken breast, know that all those juices are actually water absorbed by the meat during washing.
According to USDA, there are several steps on how to properly store meat.
First, you have to thaw the frozen meat in a refrigerator for at least 24 hours. This will prevent any bacteria from multiplying and growing inside the meat.
If your meat is still partially frozen after 24 hours, change its place in a fridge and continue thawing until completely defrosted.
Then after defrosting, cut the meat into smaller portions so it will be easier to thaw and cook. Make sure that all portions are properly sealed in a freezer bag or container before placing them back in the freezer.
You can freeze your meat for up to 6 months if properly handled.
And one more thing: although you don’t need to wash meat before freezing, you should always wash your hands and kitchen utensils after handling it.
This is because there might still be some harmful bacteria that can contaminate other food or utensils that you use for cooking.
How to freeze meat without washing?
There are a few things that you can do to store meat without actually washing it.
One of the most common methods is by using freezer paper or aluminum foil to wrap your meat. This will also help prevent meat juices from spilling on other food in the freezer.
You can also use a handy vacuum sealer machine to remove all excess air inside the sealed bag, which prevents moisture loss and freezer burn.
Freezer paper, aluminum foil, and vacuum sealer machines are common household items that you can easily buy from any supermarket or grocery.
Should you wash meat before cooking?
There is a lot of debate on this topic, but the USDA says that you can safely cook frozen meat without washing it first.
It’s best to wash meats before cooking if it hasn’t been pre-frozen since bacteria can grow on the meat during this process.
However, the USDA has stated that there are no health benefits to washing meat before cooking it, and you can actually make your meat less safe by washing it.
That’s because rinsing can spread bacteria found on the surface of the meat to other areas of your kitchen utensil.
Basically, you won’t kill all of that bacteria if you wash it or rinse it after freezing, but not washing it will help preserve the texture and quality of your meat.
There are a few misconceptions out there that washing meat before freezing is necessary to kill harmful bacteria.
This is actually not true since the USDA has stated that it’s completely safe to freeze raw meat without washing it at all.
Freezing also helps preserve your meats in their freshest, most flavorful state.
All you need to do is remember to thaw the frozen meat in the refrigerator, cut it into smaller portions for easy defrosting, use freezer paper or aluminum foil to store it, and always wash your hands after touching raw meats.
I hope this helps. Thank you for reading.
Read more about freezing foods here.