Can You Freeze Deli Meat? A Complete Guide From Expert
Deli meat – precooked or cured meat – lies among some of the most common food types around the world for its distinctive taste. Many people have chosen freeze deli meat for long-term usage. This method, however, raises suspicions about food safety. So can you freeze deli meat? This article will provide you the answers.
The Need for Storing Deli Meat
Having a fantastic taste, there is no surprise that deli meat is consumed in all over the planet. Cold cuts are served as a component in the regular meals of numerous families.
Nevertheless, the best thing about deli meat is that it can be easily combined with many other types of food. Thanks to this flexibility, you can use cold meat to make many dishes, including sandwiches, pizza or salad.
Deli meat’s flavor and versatility are the reasons why people often keep in reserve their luncheon meat leftovers. By far, the most common way to store this food is freezing. However, many people still hesitate to do so as they worry about the safety of this method.
Is It Safe to Freeze Deli Meat?
Contrary to what many people think, freezing deli meat does NOT cause any harmful effect either to the meat’s quality or consumer’s health.
In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even provides us a CHART holding information about types of food which can be stored in the freezer and deli meat (lunch meat) is one of them.
Despite being safe, freezing lunch meat inappropriately can lead to negative modifications in the meat’s texture and flavor and shorten its shelf life. Therefore, it is necessary for you to know how to do it properly.
How Can You Freeze Deli Meat?
Choosing The Container
The first thing you need to care about is the container.
The top choice for meat container is Ziploc freezer bag, a type of bag that has a zipper. This feature allows you to tightly seal deli meat. You can also use plastic boxes, which can be purchased in grocery stores or found in your own kitchens.
Another possible choice is aluminum foil. However, you need to be careful with this material as it can create gaps and messes if you don’t wrap it closely and accurately. After wrapping deli meat with aluminum foil, you should consider placing it in another container such as boxes.
Packaging Deli Meat
The main purpose of this action is to prevent as much air from the container as possible. Poor wrapping can expose deli meat to air in the low moisture environment of the freezer, resulting in the freezer burn phenomena.
To increase the storing time and maintain the taste better, you can cut deli meat into slices and put them in separate containers.
Before putting the wrapped meat in the freezer, you should label each package with the start date of the freezing period. This can help you to keep track of the meat’s storage time and usability.
- Separate meat slices with paper towel or tissue before placing them into a Ziploc bag to further create a moisture-free package
- To achieve the best storing result, you should use the vacuum sealer to extract all of the air from the container. Find out more about how to use a vacuum sealer in the video below.
Storage Time Limits
As you can see from the FDA chart provided earlier, the ideal amount of time to store most types of deli meat range from 1 to 2 months. Dry cured meat can be frozen in 3 months as it contains less moisture.
However, FDA also says that because freezing in 0oF (-18oC) indefinitely keeps food safe, the information in the chart is recommended for quality only.
In fact, deli meat can still be usable if stored in the freezer for more than 2 months, but its texture and flavor won’t be fully preserved. Nevertheless, you need to bear in mind the maximum length of storage: 6 months.
Thawing Deli Meat
You should defrost lunch meat in the refrigerator to prevent it from being an environment for harmful bacteria. However, you can accelerate the thawing process with a microwave or by submerging the meat in cold water. But remember to use the meat instantly after being defrosted if you use these methods.
Thawed deli meat can last 3 – 5 days in the fridge, except for vacuum sealed ones, which can last up to 3 weeks. Defrosted dry, cured meat can last for 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
So, can you freeze deli meat? The answer is definitely yes. But for the meat’s quality and your own safety, you must strictly follow the given instructions.
Even if you store it correctly, there is a small chance that the meat’s quality deteriorates sooner than expected. Therefore, you should try not to overuse this method. The sooner you eat your food, the better.
I hope this article has made you become more educated about storing deli meat. Thank you very much for reading.