Save Money with Larger Meat Cuts
Posted: August 8, 2012
One way to better manage meat costs is to buy larger cuts of meat when they are on sale and then divide them to make several meals.
This can be done in several ways. One is to cut the meat into a meal sized portion and freeze the rest. The other option is to make “planned overs.” This would be the leftovers that you plan for and make into another meal. A great way to save on a large quantity of meat is to buy by the whole, half or quarter of an animal. You can do this directly from a producer or through a meat processor.
Pork shoulder roast and beef chuck roasts are perfect for a meal as a roast, followed by barbecue sandwiches the next night or later in the week. Simply “pull” or “shred” the planned over meat using two forks and add barbecue sauce. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to reheat and eat. Planned over beef roast is also great for making vegetable soup. Leg of lamb is one of my favorites. We eat roast lamb the first night. The planned overs are put through a food processor and made into Shepherds Pie for the next meal.
If cutting larger meat cuts into smaller pieces for freezing, there are a couple things to keep in mind when preparing the meat for the freezer. One of the keys for maintaining quality is to remove as much air from the package as possible. This will help to prevent freezer burn, which is actually caused by dehydration. The moisture in the meat evaporates and changes the flavor of the whole meat cut, even though only the outside edges of the meat are actually freezer burnt. Wrap tightly in freezer paper or store in freezer bags to prevent moisture loss. Meat cuts can be frozen in the plastic packaging from the store, but this type of packaging does not protect the meat very well from moisture loss. So, meat stored in store packaging should be used within a few weeks.
Most meat cuts can be stored frozen for three to 12 months for the best quality. The type of cut determines the best length of time to keep frozen. As long as the meat is kept frozen, it can be kept almost indefinitely: the time recommendations are for quality rather than safety.
For more information on saving money on meat cuts or proper freezing practices, contact Melanie at the Penn State Extension office in Bedford County at 814.623.4800 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.