Do It Yourself Frozen Meat Slices Segregator

Problem

I go to the grocery store and buy several pork steak, pork chops or other meat slices every weekend. I buy about 5 – 6 slices of meat, so, I can cook one piece of meat every day for my lunch meal at work. After purchasing the meat slices at the grocery store, I put the plastic bag containing the meat slices in the freezer. With my busy life schedule, I did not bother to think, on what proper storage I should do. Usually at the beginning of the work day, I will prepare my lunch meal as usual. I will open up the plastic bag containing the frozen meat slices. When you store several slices of meats in a freezer, every slice sticks together. You have to defrost the entire batch just to get one slice. Usually, I put the frozen slices in a bowl of water to speed up the thawing process. After, I got my sliced meat; I would return the rest of the thawed meat in the same plastic bag. I would repeat the same procedure for every day of the work week.

Realizing what I am doing is wrong

I asked myself, I must be doing something wrong. Meat quality would probably degrade in time and by freezing and refreezing. So I researched through the internet regarding storing, freezing and thawing meat. Here below is what, I found out. I narrowed out the list which only falls into my category of storing, freezing and thawing meat.

  • Plastic will make the meat sweat. Remove meat from its plastic as soon as possible after buying and store in the fridge.
  • Comment: I did not remove the meat from the plastic. So I’m in the wrong side

Meat should be transferred to a non-plastic dish and covered with foil or loosely covered with plastic to allow some air flow.

  • Comment: I did not do this also. So, I’m in the wrong side.

Fresh meat will keep 3 - 5 days in the fridge. Cooked meat 5 - 7 days.

  • Comment: I only keep the frozen meat in the freezer for a period of 5 days. So, I’m in the right side.

Meat stored in the freezer should be kept at 0† F (-18°C).

  • Comment: Our freezer is always set on the appropriate temperature. So I’m in the right side

If frozen meat has defrosted, refreezing is not recommended unless it is cooked first, for a number of reasons

  • Comment: I always defrost and refroze sliced meat. So, I’m in the wrong side

The quality suffers each time frozen meat is defrosted and refrozen. Freezing creates ice crystals within the structure of the meat (as meat contains a high percentage of water). These ice crystals rupture the fiber which causes the meat to bleed when defrosted. If repeated, the texture of the meat will be very dry.

  • Comment: A more detailed explanation of the one above. So, I’m in the wrong side also

Never refreeze meat which has been thawed and held at room temperature.

  • Comment: Adding more insult to the injury. So, I’m in the wrong side

Meat should not be thawed at room temperature on the kitchen counter. Meat that has been thawed in the fridge will keep for a few days. Meat thawed more quickly should be used immediately. Thawed meat should not be re-frozen in its uncooked state.

  • Comment: I have cooked the meat that was thawed immediately. So, I am in the right side

Tallying the score card, Bord Bia Irish Food Board storing, freezing and thawing meat guide versus my storing, freezing and thawing procedure. The score is 6/3. I have been practically doing the wrong thing for weeks. It’s time to think of a solution.

Coming up with a solution to the problem

I have to think of a solution based just for my daily routine for storing, freezing and thawing meat.

There is already a product called freezer bags. Here below are the routine that I would probably do using freezer bags.

freezer bag
freezer bag
  • Get about 5-6 freezer bags from the box
  • Open each freezer bag
  • Place one meat slice per bag
  • Take 1 freezer bag
  • Open the freezer bag
  • Take the meat slice for cooking
  • Take that freezer bag
  • Wash it and rinse
  • Let it dry then place it, most probably inside the fridge.

This freezer bag was made generally for that purpose and costs about $8. The procedure to do all that would fit a meticulous person. For me all that is a good contributor to headache.

I was just thinking I would just make a do it yourself plastic container that would serve my purpose. So, as I was going around the house, I saw a plastic document binder. I though of using that concept for storing meat slices. However, washing would be troublesome. Also as mentioned on the guide for storing meat, a proper air flow is needed

Plastic Document Binder
Plastic Document Binder

I thought of a hand fan, that I grew up seeing from relatives and at home. The mechanism of that hand fan when it closes provides alternating slots. Then I came up with the idea in my mind on how to do a do it yourself, frozen meat slices segregator. I would make it based on my daily routine for storing, freezing, and thawing meat. My design should have 5-6 slots that would fit the size of pork chops or pork steaks slices that I usually buy, have good air flow, and can be easily washed.

hand fan
hand fan


Procedures for Do It Yourself Meat Slices Segregator

  1. Take a strip of plastic measuring 48” x 12”. Use plastic that is sturdy.
  2. Fold the plastic strip 5 times alternating.
  3. Use a paper document puncher to punch six holes. 3 holes per far side of the folded plastic. Holes should be about half inch from the edge.
  4. Use plastic rope to bind the folded plastic. 1 plastic rope per hole.


Frozen Meat Segregator Concept
Frozen Meat Segregator Concept

If done right you should have 3 slots at one side and 2 slots on the other side. Since you have separate slots for the meat slices, you can place other slices of meat such as fish fillet, chicken breast fillet, and other meat slices that are able to fit the slot. Place it on a concave base such as a plate, so that the juices from the meat will not spill out


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