A Guide to Preserving Meat
- A common question we answer relates to the colour of our meats. Our meats are vacuum packed to ensure the maximum shelf life, a result of which is the meat appearing brown. This is due to the lack of oxygen and once open, the meat will return to its original colour.
- Another regular question we hear relates to the spots which sometimes appear on the meat. Brown or black patches occur when moisture settles down on the surface. This is perfectly normal, especially around branding or stickers.
- The questions we are asked most, however, are all about getting the most out of the meat and how to properly store it. For that reason, we are taking this opportunity to share some meat preserving top tips so you can make you meat go further.
- Meat should always be kept in a cold store, ideally, in the coldest part of your refrigerator. This is the place where the opening of the door affects its temperature the least. Meat will start to deteriorate quickly if its temperature reaches above 5°C. Between 5°C and 57°C, meat is at the most risk from bacteria.
- Oxygen alone poses the greatest risk to stored meat. Prolonged exposure without any treatment will see the meat turn. If you plan on leaving the meat unpackages in your cold store, apply a thin layer of olive oil to its exterior to improve its longevity.
- The best way to store your meat is to vacuum seal it. Roll the meat in the packaging before sealing to remove any excess air and seal. Usually, stored in the fridge or freezer, vacuum packed meat will last for several weeks.
- For frozen meat, thawing also poses a risk. It is worth noting that once thawed, meat will not last as long as it would fresh. To thaw your meat correctly, you should do so slowly as this releases less liquid.
CURINGCuring is one of the oldest methods of preserving meat. Used by the Ancient Romans the process works with all types of meat, as well as both cooked and raw.
- The first step is to remove all the fat. Using a salt and spice rub, cover the meat. Place it in the refrigerator for at least one week after which you can wash off any salt/spice rub. After, wrap the meat tightly in a cheesecloth and store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
- Your cured meat should be good and safe to eat for up to two months.
SMOKINGAnother popular method for preserving meat at home is to smoke it. Not only does this bring out unique flavours, it keeps your meat safe for consumption for up to four days, or longer with safe storage.
- Using water-soaked wood chips and a smoker, this process dehydrates the meat whilst embalming it with the woody, smoky notes of the chips. Spreading the meat over the smokers rack, the hot smoke cures the meat leaving you with flavour filled, mouth watering morsels that will see you through the week.