It’s safe to say there’s nothing worse than coming home after a long day, only to realise you forgot to take the ground beef out of the freezer to thaw. The good news is, we’ve found a mince freezing hack that will save you time — and all you need is mince and a large ziplock bag.
A mother who goes by the name ‘workingmomvillage’ on Instagram says the trick is flattening the mince as much as you can before you freeze it. “Pro-tip for freezing items, flatten out the food as much as you can before you freeze it,” she wrote.
The mother recommends breaking up the mince into usable portions. Then once you have it in the ziplock bags, squeeze the air out and then flatten as much as possible. She says this works great for a few reasons, one being it helps the mince thaw faster, and two, they store so much better. “You can slide them into the nooks and crannies of your freezer easier if they’re thin versus a big chunk,” she says.
Another woman who goes by the Instagram handle of @scatterd_amber said she does the same thing but also labels her frozen goods to know what’s new and old. “Friendly PSA (public service announcement) to label your frozen goods!” she wrote.
“It makes me nuts going into the freezer and not knowing what is what! Plus it’s good to know #shelflife. Also, if you roll out your ground beef it stores better and thaws quicker!
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, minced meats such as beef, lamb, pork, turkey and veal will stay fresh in the freezer for three to four months, but according to the Australian government, two to three months is the maximum.
The absolute best way to defrost frozen meat is to leave it in the fridge until it’s completely thawed. If you’re pressed for time, a microwave can be a defrosting saviour, but it needs to be done the right way. Ensure the meat is well separated and in reasonably small pieces.
While it may be tempting to leave frozen food out to thaw — don’t do it, even if it’s a cold day. Why? The meat will be within the temperature danger zone and be unsafe for consumption. The fastest rate of growth for bacteria is 37 degrees Celcius.