Hey Farmer Girl, Why are Farmer Girl Meats frozen and what is the best way to thaw? -Andy
Hi Andy, thanks for the question! The short answer for why our meat arrives to your porch frozen is because we want to preserve its high quality as it travels from our farm to your porch. Freezing also allows you to use the meat when is most convenient for you. We “flash-freeze” our meat right away. Freezing items quickly results in the formation of much smaller ice crystals, and smaller crystals do less damage to our delicate meat. As for the thawing, growing up, my mother pulled the meat out of the freezer the night before or the morning of the day she wanted to cook it. The frozen meat was left on the counter to thaw during overnight and during the day and then cooked for dinner. Shock and awe, I know!
You would never dream of doing that with today’s mass-produced meat from the grocery store; the risk of e-coli and other bugs is too high. But remember, pasture-raised meats comes from a small, craft system, where cows don’t spread disease to each other and there are no 1,000 pound vats of ground beef. In a nutshell, our systems are naturally clean and disease free–isn’t it funny how when we allow Mother Nature to do her thing, we actually have less disease and yuckiness!! I truly don’t worry about yucky things, because our meat is naturally yuck-free. However, not all of you are country gals, and I get that.
So here are some city methods for thawing country-raised meat:
1. Stick it in the ‘fridge!
Pull out three to five pounds meat at the beginning of the week and stick them in the fridge to thaw – use something with sides, like a baking dish or mixing bowl. Small amounts of frozen meat (a pound of ground meat or boneless chicken breasts) take about a day in the refrigerator to thaw and are good for a long while–over a week. Larger frozen meat items (roasts, hams, turkeys) require at least 24 hours for every 5 pounds of meat, so plan ahead on these items.
2. Cold Water Bath
Kids screaming for burgers and you planned mac ‘n’ cheese? Don’t fret. If you didn’t plan ahead, create a cold water bath in your sink or large bowl. Be sure to use cold water–hot water will shock the meat! Small packages of meat may thaw in an hour or less. Roasts or whole chickens may take up to 3 hours. For whole turkeys, estimate about 30 minutes per pound in a water bath.
3. No-Thaw Cooking
It is perfectly safe to cook meats from the frozen state. I cook roasts and ground beef from a frozen state all the time. Now, you can’t get a nice sear on your roast this way, but you will get it into the crockpot and you will get a healthy dinner on the table! Cooking frozen meat may take up to 50% longer than the recommended time for fully thawed meat.
4. Microwave Thawing
Folks, try to avoid this method for steaks, breasts and chops. Ground beef not being used for burgers? Go for it. But you must think of microwave thawing as a part of the cooking process. Some of the ground beef may start to cook if you aren’t careful. Simply thaw in short spurts, pulling away the thawed portions of ground beef and putting the frozen portions back in the microwave for additional thawing.
Happy & Healthy Eating,