It is meat season. Knives are sharp, grinders are churning, and vacuum sealers are operating hot. Most of us have our personal traditions of how we wrap or vacuum seal game prior to freezing it. We do it the very same way each and every year since … it worked final year. Why modify it?
Effectively, at the get started of this season, I got curious. What really is freezer burn? And is there a distinct way of processing wild game meat that will avert it from occurring for a longer period of time?
So I hit up Kenji López-Alt, the mastermind behind Meals Lab, which is all about utilizing science to unravel the mysteries of residence cooking.
Here’s what he mentioned:
Freezer burn is brought on by the sublimation of frozen water (ice) into water vapor. Commonly, when ice turns to steam, it melts into water initial. Sublimation is when ice turns straight into water vapor, skipping the water phase. In a controlled atmosphere, such as with freeze-drying, this procedure can preserve the shape and colour of foods when removing its water content material. But when it occurs to meat in your freezer, the outcome is freezer burn—inedible dry swaths of meat that need to have to be trimmed prior to cooking.
This occurs since the circulating air of the freezer produces a incredibly dry, cold atmosphere.
Wrapping meat in plastic can assist avert this by trapping the meat’s moisture in. But here’s the issue: Most household plastic wraps are really permeable to air and water vapor, it traverses the plastic incredibly gradually. Even with a number of layers of plastic wrap, you can get freezer burn.
Wild game meat, with its lean meat ordinarily devoid of considerably intramuscular fat, is specifically prone to this difficulty, as there is merely considerably additional meat exposed on the surface for a offered reduce.
There are a handful of options. Vacuum-sealing bags particularly made with thicker, impermeable plastic for lengthy-term freezing will function much better than common plastic wrap, as will zipper-lock bags made for freezer use.
If you do not have a vacuum sealer, wrapping tightly in foil followed by plastic wrap performs. The foil does the brunt of the function as far as a moisture barrier. The plastic is primarily there to avert drips throughout freezing and defrosting and to make sure the foil stays tight.
Two essential takeaways right here:
1) No matter whether you wrap your meat or vacuum seal it, never skimp on the high-quality of the plastic. For wrapping, you want freezer-distinct plastic like Glad FreezerWrap. For vacuum sealing, go with the heavy-duty freezer bags.
two) Contemplate wrapping your meat in foil then plastic wrap. I’ve under no circumstances heard of this prior to, so I did a small net browsing and positive adequate located this entry on the National Center for Household Meals Preservation (who even knew this was a issue?) internet site: “Heavy-duty aluminum foil can be employed as a freezer wrap. For the reason that it can be torn or punctured effortlessly, it is smart to use an overwrap. Lightweight (household) aluminum foil is not satisfactory for residence freezing.”
I am nonetheless a small skeptical about this system, but I will absolutely attempt it with a handful of venison steaks this year.
I’ve constantly had excellent good results wrapping meat tightly in high-quality freezer wrap and then wrapping once again with butcher paper. I like to vacuum seal my ground meat since these burger freezer bags constantly appear to get holes punched in them. Vacuum sealing steaks or bird breasts is fine also, but as you can see in the image above, tiny air pockets absolutely creep in, and you have to be positive to make positive the meat is cautiously dried.
With the wrapping system, I have no difficulty maintaining game meat freezer-burn no cost for about two years. But realistically, I make it a purpose to have an just about-empty-freezer at the get started of every fall. I have a lot of people who are satisfied to be gifted wild game, and I like that small bit of stress to fill the freezer back up throughout meat season.