Lunch meat, also known as deli meat, cold cuts, cold meats, sandwich meats or sliced meats, are popular and delicious pre-cooked and sliced meats that are ready to be eaten and can be bought already packed to be served. But normally, this type of meat comes in large quantities and it is a general doubt on whether you can freeze lunch meat or not.
The answer to this question is yes. In this article, we will show you the best practices, easiest ways on how to freeze and defrost lunch meat.
Their shelf-life is not that long and to avoid throwing it away you can freeze to extend its duration.
These meats are the go-to. If you are looking for something delicious and easy to serve to your guests at gatherings and parties. Or if you are looking for a quick good sandwich or snack.
Normally, lunch meats can be found in grocery stores and supermarkets in sliced or non-sliced forms and both ways can be frozen.
How to freeze lunch meat
You can freeze any lunch meat, since they all freeze very well, but they do not freeze equally.
If you are already buying lunch meat with the intention to freeze it. Bologna, pepperoni, and sausage are the best ones to freeze. Since they have a low water content and they all have salt in its composition. Which makes the shelf-life a bit longer than other food dishes. It also has some preservatives, like nitrites, that makes it also resistant to bacteria development.
Other lunch meats like ham, roasted turkey and chicken also freeze well. But they may need some extra care when defrosting, since they can get wet and have a texture change.
Most of the lunch meats comes in vacuum sealed packages and already slices. So you do not need to do any extra steps, just stock them in the freezer. If you feel that the package is not safe enough to protect the lunch meat from the oxygen. You can wrap it in aluminum foil.
Do not forget to write the date you bought the lunch meat and the date you froze them. This way you can keep track of the times and avoid food waste.
If you already opened the package of the lunch meat and wants it to freeze to increase its duration. You can wrap them in freezer bags or any airtight compartment of you preference and stock it in the freezer.
How long can you freeze lunch meat?
Basically, all the lunch meats can be kept in the freezer for around two months without a problem.
It is good to remember that if you see a drastic color change from the normal lunch meat color to a brownish or greenish one, a sticky texture, and a funky smell. That means your lunch meat is not good to be consumed anymore and should not be eaten by anyone. Since this can lead to a bad food poisoning.
It is important to mention that the opened lunch meat package can be stored in the fridge for around 5 days and the unopened for around 10 days. So if you consume the lunch meat in this time span then there is no need to freeze it. If you will not consume it within the 10 days, then the best solution is to freeze it.
But even if the package is unopen in the fridge it is good to pay close attention to its color and texture. These types of ingredients can lead to bacteria growth very easily, even with the conservatives.
How long can you freeze meat? Check this post.
How to defrost lunch meat
The safest and most recommended way to defrost lunch meat is by taking the piece or portion you will and letting it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight until it is completely defrosted.
This way the lunch meat will not have its temperature risen to the point that allows bacteria to grow in it.
If you need do not have enough time to wait for the lunch meat to defrost in the fridge an option is to defrost it in a bowl of cold water.
It is also simple and will take from 30 minutes to one hour to defrost around 1 pound of lunch meat.
You just need to take the portion of the lunch meat you will need, remove the original package that the lunch meat was frozen.
Place it inside a clean new package with all the air squeezed out of it and place it in a bowl of cold water.
If after 30 minutes the lunch meat is still not completely defrosted and the water is not that cold anymore. You can replace it until everything is evenly defrosted.
The only way you should not defrost the lunch meat is by letting it sit in room temperature and in contact with the oxygen.
This way it will increase the chances of bacteria growth and the lunch meat will cause food poison to those who consume it.
Remember that the freezing and defrosting process should only be done once. That is why it is important to freeze the lunch meat in smaller or individual portions. So you can defrost only what you will consume.
Lunch meat can be frozen and in fact. Some types of it freezes very well and will taste fresh and delicious after being defrosted. If you take all the necessary precautions, your lunch meat will last for around 2 months.
Even with the conservatives that most of the lunch meats comes with. Their shelf-life is not that big if left stored in the fridge, that is why the option to freeze is so good, you can increase its duration for months.
Having those easy and ready to consume. Meats is always a good option to quick snacks, sandwiches or as aperitives to your guests in parties and gatherings.
Let us know if any of the tips mentioned in the article were helpful to you!
How do you defrost meat fast? Check this out.