One of the first recommendations I make when someone asks me how they can save money on groceries is: Buy as much meat in bulk as you can afford when it’s on sale.
It’s likely the most expensive ingredient you’ll be making a meal with and the biggest item, so if you can save here, you’ll save big. It’s a rare day indeed when I pay full price for a steak or a pack of chicken!
If you’re picking up product from the local butcher or grocery store, it’s easy enough to select packs that are single-meal sized. These are so convenient and easy to toss in the freezer as-is.
But keep your eye out for a much better deal: Prices per pound are usually significantly lower if you buy in big lots or “family-size”.
This tactic however brings with it a little extra work: How to best break it all down to store so you can just take out the amount you need as you need it? This tutorial has you covered!
Important: You want to wrap meat nice & air tight. It’s vital to package with care to preserve the quality of the product and protect it from freezer burn or your expensive grocery investment is surely shot.
How to do this? You’ll find several pictures below including easy to follow, step-by-step instructions. These are from an old vintage book in my collection, details are still bang-on for today.
To make a good, air tight bundle that will protect the product, it’s best to use good quality freezer paper.
1. Place roast on paper. Tear off a sheet to go about one and a half times around roast (or chops or sausages or poultry, whatever you’re prepping!), put shiny side next to flesh (if using wax coated variety). Lay roast on center of paper and allow ample room on all sides.
2. Bring ends together. Start folding ends of paper together over center of roast. Turn edges over to create a seam about an inch deep. Run your fingers along fold to make a good crease.
3. Fold to meat. Keep turning paper over and crease each fold. The last one you make should pull the sheet tight around the product. You want to get all the air out of package to prevent “freezer burn”.
4. Turn in ends. Press the sheet down close to sides of meat. Press out all the air you can to make a tight bundle. Fold in each of the four corners of paper. This will make a point at each end.
5. Turn under ends. Turn pointed ends of paper under package. Then fold under about an inch at each end of bundle. You have made a tight packet that will keep air out and moisture in . . . moisture-vapor-proof.
6. Seal and label. Seal with tape (you can use masking tape). Label each package with kind and amount of meat and date you prepped. Now it’s ready to stack and store.
This method of wrapping is also known as “The Drug Store Wrap“.
Tips: Arrange finished items seam side down to protect seal. You can double layer if the paper you’re using isn’t the best quality (or use one layer aluminum foil or plastic wrap then cover with freezer sheet).
Better Food From Your Appliance
Foods of highest quality that are first properly prepared for freezing (such as first blanching vegetables and other methods), can lose color, flavor, texture and nutritive value if packaged improperly.
Proper packaging methods mean:
- Using moisture-vapor-proof products or containers
- Removing as much air as possible from packet
- Carefully sealing tightly wrapped bundles
- Labeling packet for usage within recommended storage time.
Source: Graphics & Instructions Adapted from “How To Prepare Foods For Freezing“; 1961, Sears, Roebuck & Co.