If you can't get enough of pork ribs, tenderloin, and chops, then you might as well stock up your freezer with a lot of pork! If you're worried that freezing will make the meat tough, we've asked the meat experts about it and this is what they say.
Freezing will not make the pork tough. With safe handling and proper storage, this meat can last in the freezer for months. It won't affect its texture and taste. You can expect your pork to be just as tender and tasty once you use it to cook your most requested pork recipes.
Continue reading to learn more tips about storing your pork in the freezer. We'll also share the meat experts' time-tested and safe methods when it comes to thawing and cooking frozen pork.
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How do you store pork in the freezer?
Having a stock of pork in your freezer means you can make your favorite pork dishes anytime you want. But first, you have to ensure that you store it properly. Here's the recommended way to freeze your pork whether it's raw or already cooked.
Freezing raw pork
- Freeze your pork as soon as you get home from the grocery store.
- Wrap the meat in freezer paper or aluminum foil. You can also use its original packaging then put it inside a freezer bag.
- Seal the bag tightly so that no moisture can escape and air won't get inside.
- Put a label on the freezer bag. Note the weight of the pork and the date of storage.
- Store in the freezer.
Freezing cooked pork
- Make sure that the pork has cooled down completely before freezing it.
- Put in airtight containers. Tip: It's best to store them in separate freezer bags according to the serving size that you need so you won't have to thaw everything.
- Label the containers.
- Put them in the freezer. Consume within 2 to 3 months.
How long can you have pork in the freezer?
Keeping raw pork in the freezer will preserve its nutrients, texture, and taste. They can stay safe for an indefinite time because the cold temperature inhibits the growth of bacteria. But experts say that frozen raw meats are best consumed between 4 and 12 months to enjoy their best taste and quality. Meanwhile, cooked pork can last in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Beyond this period, they might dry out or lose their quality.
Is it better to freeze pork raw or cooked?
Pork, whether it is raw or cooked, will do well in the cold. However, raw pork lasts longer in the freezer than your cooked pork dishes. When you store raw pork in the freezer, the quality of the meat is retained. Once cooked, the meat loses some of its moisture which also accounts for its shorter shelf life in cold storage.
Can you freeze cooked meat that was previously frozen?
While it is not recommended that you refreeze defrosted raw meat, you can freeze cooked meat that used to be frozen. Cook it after it has thawed then let it cool down completely before putting it in the freezer. Make sure that you follow safe thawing methods and do the necessary preparations for freezer storage.
How do you thaw pork?
It is important to practice the safe handling of meat during the thawing process. There are 3 safe ways to defrost your pork. You can put it in the refrigerator, in cold water, or use the microwave. Don't ever thaw your frozen meat at room temperature because it will encourage the growth of bacteria which could compromise the safety of your food. Here's your guide to the proper thawing of frozen pork.
In the refrigerator
This method takes the longest time but you're sure that the pork is defrosting at a safe temperature.
- Put the pork in a casserole dish to contain the drippings while thawing.
- Place it inside the fridge for 12 to 24 hours depending on the size and weight of the meat.
- The defrosted pork can stay inside the fridge for 3 to 5 days if you're not yet going to cook them. Just make sure that the temperature in your fridge does not exceed 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
In cold water
The cold-water method will shorten the thawing time but it requires more effort from your end.
- Transfer your frozen meat into a leak-proof bag or if the original packaging is airtight, there's no need to remove it.
- Submerge the pork completely in cold water.
- Change the water every 30 minutes to make sure that the meat is defrosting at a safe temperature.
- Cook the pork immediately after thawing.
in the microwave
This is the fastest way to defrost your pork. However, make sure that you're ready to cook the meat right after as some areas may have warmed up already which makes them vulnerable to bacterial growth.
- Put your frozen pork in a microwave-safe pan to catch the drippings.
- Cover the pan with a heat-safe plastic wrap to avoid splatters inside the microwave.
- Defrost one side for 2 minutes.
- Turn the meat over to defrost the other side for another 2 minutes.
- Repeat as necessary until it is thawed completely.
- Cook right away.
How long does it take pork to thaw?
The length of time that it would take for your pork to thaw completely would depend on the weight of your frozen meat and the thawing method that you'll follow. If you will defrost your pork in the fridge, it could take 12 to 24 hours.
Putting it in cold water would shorten the thawing time. It would take approximately an hour to defrost 1 pound of meat using a cold water bath so you can base your calculation from there. But if you use the microwave, it'll only take 4 minutes or more to thaw your frozen meat.
Can you leave frozen pork out overnight?
It is not safe to leave your frozen pork out on the counter overnight. This will stimulate bacterial growth which can cause meat spoilage. It is important to keep your pork cold while defrosting to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Can you cook pork from frozen in the oven?
When you have frozen pork in storage, you can always serve your favorite pork dishes to your family. It is safe to cook pork straight from the freezer. You can put it in the oven, stove, or grill without defrosting. But don't cook it using your slow cooker. Take note also that the cooking time will be 50% longer than when you're cooking fresh meat.
To roast your frozen pork, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, put the pork in a shallow oven-safe pan. Once the oven is hot enough, place the pan at the center and bake it for 50% longer than normal. If you're roasting a thicker or tougher pork cut, don't put any cover on it. Calculate the length of time-based on the weight of your pork following the 45 minutes per-pound rule when roasting, then add 50% since you're cooking frozen meat.
You can stock up on pork inside your freezer so that you can cook your delicious pork recipes anytime. Don't worry because freezing won't make your meat tough. Once you follow the proper way of storing, thawing, and cooking frozen pork, you can relish its tender and juicy texture with every bite.