My burger-freezing hack

The five-pounder I typically buy since becoming an Aldi shopper.

I used to be that goofball, who purchased two- and three-pound packages of ground beef, putting them directly into the freezer as is. Then, when I wanted to use them, I had two problems. First, because they were a ball of beef, they took long to thaw. Second, if I didn’t need every pound, I had to come up with another way to use the balance.

What caused me to persist in my crummy conduct? Laziness, frankly. When putting away groceries, I want to get the job done. If I put burger into the fridge, I have to remember the use-by date, so it doesn’t go bad.

Yes, I tried thawing in the microwave. It thawed the meat, but cooked the edges. I was not pleased.

I eventually learned a good trick for quickly thawing burger: press it flat. It makes sense: which is going to thaw more quickly, a 1/2″-thick chunk of meat, or a 2″-thick one? In school, I might have struggled with algebra, and never took geometry, but even I could do the math on this one.

This revelation ground to a halt my beef with breaking up packages of burger before freezing them. Now, into what should I package my one-pound prizes? Surely, you’re thinking, “Duh. Large freezer bags.” And, duh backatcha, that’s what I did.

Loathe to spend money, and eager to recycle, I noticed a certain bag I’d been tossing. A few years ago, I took to buying grated cheese, mostly cheddar (have you seen my One day, I had a double eureka moment. First, that the bags hold one pound. Second, that the plastic of the bags is thick—freezer bag thick. I began to save the bags.

The next time I bought burger, I eagerly retrieved our kitchen scale and set out to measure my five-pound bovine bounty.

And then bag it.

And, of course, find that one pound fits perfectly. And it’s about 1/2″ thick.

Now, to freeze it, so that I can thaw it!

Sometime during my the microwave doesn’t thaw meat as well as it pops corn years, I learned that thawing meat in water is quicker than placing frozen flesh in a fridge. The tip was for getting your Thanksgiving turkey prepped for Thursday when it was still rock solid on Wednesday, or Tuesday . . . or Monday. I hauled out a cooler, set it in the bathtub, dropped my turkey inside and filled ‘er up. Changing the water every thirty minutes, five hours later I had a thawed bird.

Ground beef in one-pound bags thaws much quicker. 1/2″-thick burger thaws really quickly.

I stream into the kitchen sink enough warmish water until the bag floats. After thirty minutes, I flip the bag and rewarm the water. Half an hour later, the meat is pliable. You might say, ready to use. You might also say, where did I set that recipe card I now need?

When you realize, the day before needing it, that you will want burger, stick a bag in the fridge. Overnight, it will thaw. Hey, it’s only 1/2″ thick. It doesn’t stand a chance to remain frozen.

Here’s wishing you happy bag saving, happy burger thawing, and happy time saving!

4 thoughts on “My burger-freezing hack

  1. …and NOW I know! Well written….I liked the lyric and the beat makes it easy to dance to…”I give it least, a 75…..BANDSTAND” tt

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android


  2. Hi Greg,
    It’s a great hack! I am a big recycler + always used to cringe when I saw fellow office workers throw a once used ziplock baggie in the trash. I reuse mine until they are no longer see thru…lol. I love recycling so much that I started an upscale ladies consignment shop when I lost my employment over 10 years ago. It changed my life for the better + I realized God had a plan for me even though I was devastated at losing my career. I tell everyone that God has a plan for them, even as you journey thru the darkness of life at times.


    1. Hey, Karin~

      Thanks for all of this!

      My recycling roots go back to my dad. I always attributed his frugal nature to being a farm boy who grew up during the Great Depression. He taught the value of finding a second- and third use for things. He’s the reason I’ve had a compost pile all my adult life, and that I’ve always had a vegetable garden.

      Julie and I recycle – always more stuff goes in that bin than in the garbage – and love shopping in thrift stores, and simply strive to be wise in how we use things.

      I’m with you: ziplock bags get used until they scream “uncle!”

      That is wonderful that you started the consignment shop, and how you saw the Lord had plans in store for you. Indeed, yea though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He leads us into green pastures. I’m with you in that, as I also am living an aspect of the Lord’s plan for me that I could never have seen coming, after I also was devastated at losing the career I loved. Praise the Lord for His goodness toward us!



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