Can you freeze pork?
In this article, we will answer the question “Can you freeze pork?” and discuss how to freeze pork. We will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of freezing pork as well as if pork can go bad in the freezer.
Can you freeze pork?
Yes, you can freeze pork. The pork will not get tough after being frozen. It’s possible to store this beef in the freezer for months if handled carefully and stored properly. It will have no effect on its texture or flavor (1,2).
When you use your favorite pig recipes to cook your pork, you can expect it to be just as soft and flavorful.
How to store pork in the freezer?
Regardless of whether you’re freezing raw or cooked pork, this is the best method to store pork in the freezer (2):
- Put the pork in the freezer as soon as you arrive home from the grocery shop
- Wrap the meat in aluminum foil or freezer paper. You may also keep it in its original packaging and put it in a freezer bag for storage.
- Make sure there is no moisture or air leaking out of the bag by securing it firmly.
- A label should be put on the freezer bag. Take note of the pork’s weight and storage date.
- Keep in the freezer at 0°F (−18°C) or below.
How to freeze Cooked pork?
To safely freeze cooked pork, firstly allow it to cool fully (2).
- Place in sealed jars and store in the refrigerator. To avoid having to defrost everything, it’s better to keep them in separate freezer bags based on the portion amount you require.
- The containers should be labeled.
- Then freeze them. Consume within 2 to 3 months after purchase
For how long you can keep pork in the freezer?
The USDA recommends that frozen raw meats be used within four to 12 months after being frozen in order to get the maximum flavor and quality out of them (1,2).
The nutrition, texture, and flavor of raw pork may be preserved by freezing it. Because the temperature is so low, microorganisms cannot thrive there for an endless period of time (2).
Cooked pork may be stored in the freezer for up to three months. To avoid deterioration, they should be consumed within this time frame (1,2).
Is it possible to refreeze meat that has already been defrosted?
Yes, it’s possible to refreeze food that has thawed. According to USDA if raw or cooked food was thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze. Keep in mind that food left outside the fridge for more than 2 hours should not be frozen again (3).
How to defrost frozen pork?
Meat should be handled with care throughout the thawing process. Pork may be defrosted in one of three safe methods. You may freeze it, put it in a bowl of ice water, or microwave it.
Thawing frozen meat at room temperature is not recommended since it promotes the development of microorganisms, putting your family’s health at risk. Here’s a step-by-step instruction on how to defrost frozen pork (4).
In the refrigerator
The safest way to defrost frozen meat whether it is raw or cooked is to move the frozen food from the freezer to the refrigerator (4).
- Allow the frozen food defrost gradually in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
- By following this gradual defrosting, you can reduce the growth of hazardous bacteria and also preserve the flavor of the meat.
In the icy waters
The thawing process will be quicker if you choose the cold-water approach, but it will involve more work on your part (4).
- If the original packaging is airtight, there’s no need to take it from the freezer.
- Submerge the pork in cold water.
- To ensure that the meat is defrosting at a safe temperature, change the water every 30 minutes.
- Cook the pork as soon as it’s thawed.
You can thaw your pork in this manner in the quickest time. But be careful to boil the meat immediately after, since certain parts may already have warmed up, making them more susceptible to bacterial development (4).
- Take out the frozen pork and place it in a microwave-safe pan.
- To prevent splatters in the microwave, cover the pan with heat-resistant plastic wrap.
- Allow one side to thaw for 2 minutes.
- Continue to thaw the meat for another 2 minutes by flipping it over.
- Repeat as many times as required until it thaws.
- Cook immediately.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of freezing pork?
Benefits of freezing pork
- By preventing the growth of bacteria and other microbes that lead to deterioration, freezing can increase the shelf life of food (2).
- Pork’s nutritional value, including its protein content and important vitamins and minerals, is likewise maintained by freezing (2).
- Planning meals and minimizing food wastage can be made easier by freezing.
Drawbacks of freezing pork
- Pork, especially lean chops, can have its texture changed by freezing because ice crystals can damage the muscle fibers, making the meat significantly harsher or dryer when thawed (5).
- If the pork is not adequately wrapped to prevent exposure to air and freezer burn, freezing could result in some flavor loss.
Can pork go bad in the freezer?
Technically, no. Pork can last indefinitely in the freezer without going bad if stored at a consistent temperature of 0°F (-18°C) or below.
However, it is recommended to use frozen pork within 6 to 12 months to maintain the best quality and minimize chances of freezer burn and consequently changes in texture and flavor (1,5).
In this article, we answered the question “Can you freeze pork?” and discussed how to freeze pork. We will also discuss the benefits and drawbacks of freezing pork as well as if pork can go bad in the freezer.
1. How long can you freeze pork?. USDA, 2023.
2. Freezing and Food Safety. USDA, 2013
3. Is it safe to refreeze food that has thawed?. USDA, 2023.
4. The Big Thaw – Safe Defrosting Methods. USDA, 2013
5. Lee, S., et al. Deep freezing to maintain the freshness of pork loin during long-term storage. Food Science and Biotechnology, 2021, 30(1).