Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stocking the Freezer 101: Meat

One of the best ways to stay within a monthly budget is by taking advantage of grocery sales and specials. To do this, you must be willing to buy ahead and store or freeze what you won't be able to use within a few days or weeks.

An experienced deal-shopper will be able to practice this on all types of items on her grocery list: paper goods, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, bread products, etc. However, if you are just delving into the world of "buying ahead" for the first time, one of the best (and easiest) items to start with is meat.

According the the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service's fact sheet on safe food handling, most food products can be frozen indefinitely without any risk of spoilage. To retain the best flavor, freeze your raw meat as soon as you buy it and use it within 4 to 12 months. Again, frozen foods remain safe for an indefinite amount of time, so all you are really concerned with is quality of taste.

Meats can be frozen in the supermarket wrapping they are purchased in, but for best flavor retention freeze them in heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap, freezer paper, or freezer bags. Make sure to write the date frozen on the outside of the package as well as the type of meat packaged. It is also handy to freeze the meat in meal-sized amounts so it isn't necessary to thaw two pounds of ground beef if you only plan on using one. Unlike you may have heard, however; it is completely safe to re-freeze meat.

Now that you have a basic idea of what you're going to do, go put it into practice! This week in San Antonio, both H.E.B. Grocery and Sun Harvest are running some excellent deals on meat. Top sirloin steak is only $2.88/lb and boneless skinless chicken breasts are only $1.88/lb at Sun Harvest. H.E.B. has split chicken pieces in a 3-lb bag for only $0.99/lb and whole chickens for $0.79/lb. My freezer is full, what about yours?
This post is a part of LifeasMom's Frugal Friday.


  1. Wow, top sirloin for less than $3 a pound! I'd buy a ton of it. We love our red meat, LOL. I like to stock my freezer, too. I also divide it up, and when I have ground beef I press the package so that it is flat and stores more efficiently. I also like to brown my ground beef in big batches, then divide it up. Having it already browned before I need it makes prepping dinner a lot faster, especially when I don't feel like cooking!

  2. I just recently bumped up my grocery budget so I could start stocking my freezer with meats and such. We have a new baby coming in December and I want my freezer full. Finding deals on meat is such a blessing. Our Krogers has chicken split breast for $0.88 lb this week and I also picked up a 2 1/2 lb. beef roast for $4!!

  3. It's really good to know that you can re-freeze meat. Our deep freezer broke a few weeks ago with 30 whole organic chickens in there. We ended up giving most of them away so that they wouldn't be wasted (they were about half-way defrosted- still very icy and cold) because I thought you couldn't refreeze defrosted meat!! Ughh!!!