Buying Local Meat for Your Home Freezer-Part 3

We have reached part three of our series “Buying Local Meat for Your Home Freezer.” To start, we discussed the conversation to have with your local famer. Next, we dove into the cuts of meat available to meet your family’s needs. In this issue, we will discuss the proper way to store your locally purchased meat. Minnesota Grown members have some tips to keep your meat fresh while storing it at home.

Willow Sedge Farm raises grass-fed Hereford beef, grass-fed lamb and pastured pork in Palisade, Minnesota.  They suggest keeping temperatures below zero degrees and not allowing temperatures to fluctuate. If there is a power outage or accidental unplugging of the freezer, meat that partially thaws but still has ice crystals on it can be re-frozen, but then should be used soon after. If meat thaws completely but is still cold, cook first and then re-freeze it. If meat thaws completely and gets above 41 degrees F, throw it away.

Little Boom Farm is located in Maple Lake and raises beef, chickens and deer. They suggested taking the meat out of the butcher paper and vacuum shrink-wrapping it, regardless of the size of the cut, before putting it in the freezer. This will preserve the color and taste. It will also protect it from unwanted aromas from the freezer. If white butcher wrap is being used, Willow Sedge Farms recommends that it should be the heavy duty kind that is glossy on the innermost side.

Want more resources on how to properly store meat? There are limitations to how long meat should be stored. University of Minnesota Extension, the Minnesota Department of Health and the FDA have more information on storing meat, fish and eggs in the freezer. For specific freezing and food safety articles, check out USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service information.

We have wrapped up the three-part series on buying local meat! We would like to thank all members who raise livestock and those who have contributed to this series. Use the Minnesota Grown Directory to browse the 120+ members who raise beef, pork, or lamb at a farm near you.