Can Wagyu beef be frozen? (1 reason to do it)
In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can wagyu beef be frozen?” and discuss does wagyu beef freeze well, and how to defrost wagyu beef.
Can Wagyu beef be frozen?
Wagyu beef can be frozen, but longer periods should be avoided to preserve its original quality.
As per a commercial wagyu supplier Holy Wagyu, contrary to common beliefs, Wagyu beef can be effectively frozen due to its higher marbled fat content. It stands out as one of the prime candidates for freezing among various types of meat.
The rich fat content plays a crucial role in preserving the meat’s quality during freezing, setting it apart from the issues often encountered with freezing other meat types. It’s entirely feasible to store it in the freezer for a period of up to one month. (1)
Why freeze Wagyu?
By suppressing the proliferation of microorganisms, freezing opens up avenues to facilitate beef exportation using economical transportation routes that encompass lengthy periods, such as maritime shipping.
Nonetheless, even with this advantage, specific deteriorations in quality, like freezer burn and the loss of moisture, remain inevitable outcomes. These quality setbacks can impact the perceived value of the meat, making frozen transportation less suitable for premium choices like Wagyu.
On the other hand, the chilling process cannot halt the growth of microorganisms, which stands as a drawback. This constraint confines the options for chilled exports, particularly when it comes to air transit and, in certain instances, shipping to neighboring countries via sea routes. (2)
How temperature can affect meat?
Temperature plays a substantial role in governing the proliferation of microorganisms. The optimal temperature range for the expansion of bacteria responsible for spoilage typically falls between 12 to 30 °C.
However, when meat undergoes chilling, temperatures drop to the range of 2–4 °C, inducing a cold shock that impairs and eventually eliminates microbial cells. Sustaining meat at temperatures below 4 °C effectively impedes the growth of bacteria, leading to an extension of the shelf life by several days.
Further lowering the temperature to the range of −2 to −18 °C results in a complete cessation of both microbial and enzymatic activities. This outcome is attributed to the freezing process itself and the absence of available water. (3)
What is the difference between Wagyu and regular beef?
The remarkable marbling found in Wagyu beef stands out as its most exceptional characteristic. This generous presence of intramuscular fat (IMF) heightens not only its texture, juiciness, and overall flavor profile but also elevates the entire dining experience.
Additionally, the fat composition unique to Wagyu significantly departs from that of other beef breeds, imparting a distinct aroma that is both sweet and luxuriously rich. Beyond the visual appeal of Wagyu beef, its extraordinary quality owes much to a distinct production system that merits notable attention.
This comprehensive approach encompasses elements such as small-scale farming methods, a meticulous calf registration system, mechanisms for beef traceability, a nationally standardized grading system, and specialized techniques tailored for precision meat cutting. (4)
Is Wagyu healthier than regular beef?
Yes, Wagyu beef, known for its extensive marbling, contains elevated levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), primarily owing to higher oleic acid content. MUFAs have minimal impact on overall cholesterol levels.
They are considered favorable dietary fats, as they can reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol while simultaneously raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Clinical studies have affirmed that the consumption of highly marbled beef does not lead to an increase in LDL cholesterol. (5)
How long can you freeze Wagyu beef?
By keeping it at a temperature of -18 °C, Wagyu’s potential shelf life can be prolonged to a span of 12 months. As per the United States Department of Agriculture, “frozen foods remain safe indefinitely” when stored in the freezer.
This implies that even if you store the Wagyu for a period surpassing 12 months, it should still be safe for consumption. The only potential difference you might observe is a shift in taste. (1, 3)
How to defrost Wagyu beef?
Once you’ve chosen to thaw the Wagyu, it’s advisable to allocate 48 hours for this process. This gradual thawing should take place within the refrigerator to prevent rapid changes. This method is crucial to ensure that the meat maintains all of its inherent juices intact.
For the thawing of Wagyu, the key is to proceed slowly. Remove the meat from the freezer and position it in the refrigerator within an airtight container. Under no circumstances should you resort to using a microwave or hot water to facilitate the thawing of your Wagyu beef. (1)
Other FAQs about Beef that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we have addressed the question, “Can Wagyu beef be frozen?” and discussed other questions related to the subject, such as does Wagyu beef freeze well, and how to defrost wagyu beef.
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NAKAMURA, Ayaka et al. Dynamics of microbiota in Japanese Black beef stored for a long time under chilled conditions. Food Microbiology, v. 100, p. 103849, 2021.
Nethra, Perichitala Vasudev, et al. Critical factors affecting the shelf life of packaged fresh red meat–A Review. Measurement: Food: 100086. 2023.
MOTOYAMA, Michiyo; SASAKI, Keisuke; WATANABE, Akira. Wagyu and the factors contributing to its beef quality: A Japanese industry overview. Meat Science, v. 120, p. 10-18, 2016.
GOTOH, Takafumi; JOO, Seon-Tea. Characteristics and health benefit of highly marbled Wagyu and Hanwoo beef. Korean Journal for Food Science of Animal Resources, v. 36, n. 6, p. 709, 2016.