Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Packaging Ground Beef

When I purchase meat from the supermarket I always repackage it.  I try to purchase it for the best price I can find then buy up a large amount and repackage it into smaller amounts.  There are several advantages to repackaging.  The first one for me is that it allows me to use a smaller quantity as I need it without having to thaw a large chunk of ground meat and quickly use it.  Once meat has been thawed you should not freeze it again.  It also makes the meat last longer in the freezer when it is packaged in freezer bags so it will not get freezer burnt or spoiling so quickly.  Lastly it takes the guesswork out of the amount of meat in the package.  I simply open the freezer and take out a bag of meat and know immediately how much I have in my hand.  For those that would like to try this it is an excellent way of saving money because you do not have waste from unused portions of meat in the tray going bad in the refrigerator.

There are times when I purchase meat from the butcher when it is available and at a good price.  Other times I purchase from the supermarket.  When you get meat from the butcher you can specify how many lbs of ground you would like per package. 

To package meat from the supermarket on trays, I get a large bowl and stack all  of the meat trays up beside the bowl, then place the trash next to me.  I wash my hands and open the first tray, throw the plastic wrap in the trash, and dump the ground meat into the bowl, then place the Styrofoam tray in the sink.  I continue this until I have opened all the trays.  I wash my hands, rinse off all the trays and run a sink full of hot soapy water for them to soak in.  Wash my hands again.... and set out sandwich size plastic seal able bags.  I set one on the kitchen scale and fill it with ground meat until it weights .75 lb.  I continue filling bags like this until all the meat is used.  Then I wash my hands again.... I squeeze the air out of the bags and then seal them and flatten them down so they will store in the freezer flat.  Next I clean up the counters with hot soapy water, wash the large bowl well, and wash the trays well.  The trays make excellent paint trays for kids or crafts.  I have found that I do not notice the difference between using a 1 lb. of meat vs. .75 of a lb.  If it is a dish that needs a lot of meat like meatloaf I will use two packages.

Here are the clean trays and bowl, and finished ground ready for the freezer along with the kitchen scale I used.  I bought almost 13.25 lbs of meat and was able to pkg 17, .75lb packages!

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