Corned beef is such a versatile food that is loved by many. You have likely enjoyed a few slices of corned beef on St. Patrick’s Day.
It is a popular dish to eat in Springtime. If you have a lot of leftovers after the celebrations have ended, you may be wondering what to do with it all.
Of course, you can choose to refrigerate your corned beef. While this will help prolong it from spoiling, it will still need to be consumed fairly quickly.
Although corned beef is dry-cured, which prolongs its shelf life, it will need to be eaten fairly quickly.
But what if you want to save it for a later date? You may have considered freezing your corned beef. But, is it safe to do so?
Luckily, it is completely safe to freeze corned beef. Freezing it will allow you to keep it for a later date. Instead of having to eat it all at once, you can then defrost a few pieces at a time to enjoy at your leisure.
In this article, we will be explaining how to freeze and defrost corned beef safely. We will also be going into some details about factors you may want to consider before deciding to freeze corned beef.
How to freeze Corned Beef
Always ensure that you are freezing corned beef before its expiry date. While it can still be frozen on the day of expiry, we would always recommend freezing the corned beef as soon as possible. This will help to preserve its taste and flavor as much as possible.
When you are freezing corned beef, you must drain as much liquid from the beef as possible. This will help it to freeze better and will help with its overall texture and taste when thawed. If you do not drain the liquids, it will shorten the length of time the beef can safely be stored in your freezer.
Before you freeze the corned beef ensure that it is completely sealed with plastic wrap. If there are sections of your corned beef that are not covered over, they will be exposed in the freezer. This can potentially lead to freezer burn, which is never great for frozen foods.
The size of the corned beef you are freezing is entirely up to you. You can choose to freeze it whole, in chunks, or slices. For ease, chunks or slices will likely be favorable. They will take up less space in your freezer. However, you choose to freeze your corned beef, ensure that it is suitably covered.
Typically, uncooked corned beef can be safely frozen for up to a month. If the meat has already been cooked and cured, it can be frozen for up to three months.
How to defrost Corned Beef
When you are ready to defrost your corned beef, you will want to place it in the refrigerator until it has thawed fully.
We do not recommend defrosting your meat outside of the refrigerator on your kitchen counter. Defrosting in such a way can cause foodborne illnesses. It increases the risk of bacteria multiplying as the meat defrosts, especially if it is a warm day.
We would recommend defrosting your corned beef the night before you want to eat it. This will help to ensure that it has been thawed fully. Never eat meat that has not thawed fully. For safe consumption, it needs to be fully defrosted.
When defrosting, place the corned beef on a plate or in a bowl in the refrigerator. This will help to prevent any excess liquid from leaking or spilling.
If you are defrosting a large chunk of corned beef, bear in mind that it will take significantly longer to defrost than small chunks of meat.
If your meat has been cooked before freezing, it will be safe to consume once defrosted. If your corned beef is still raw, you will need to cook it is as soon as possible after it has fully defrosted.
Once your corned beef has been thawed, it is safe to leave in the refrigerator for around two to three days until it is no longer safe for consumption.
Factors to consider before freezing Corned Beef
Taste And Texture
Unfortunately, your corned beef may not taste as good as it did when it was fresh after it has been thawed. While it is completely safe for consumption, freezing does cause corned beef to change slightly in taste and texture.
The texture of corned beef has already been altered due to it containing a lot of salt. This salt content helps to preserve the meat. When you are freezing corned beef you will need to consider this too.
Ensuring that you are draining any excess liquid from your meat will help to keep the texture of the corned beef similar to what it was like before freezing.
Raw Vs Cooked
Whether or not you precook your corned beef before freezing is completely your choice. However, if your meat has already been cooked, the preparing process is a lot quicker once thawed as you do not have to worry about cooking it.
Cooked meat carries less risk of foodborne illnesses when handled compared to raw meat. However, the texture of the raw meat may be slightly better once thawed and cooked, compared to defrosted precooked corned beef.
We hope this article has helped to answer any questions you have about freezing corned beef. It is really easy to freeze and will make for a great meal once thawed.
Always remember to completely defrost your corned beef before thawing. If your meat is raw, cook it thoroughly before eating.
You can use your defrosted corned beef for many different delicious dishes. You could add it to a stew, have it with some cabbage and potatoes, or you could even have a corned beef sandwich!
However you choose to eat your defrosted corned beef, we hope this article has helped you learn how to safely freeze and defrost it!