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 https://eilerspizza.wordpress.com/2021/01/28/my-breakfast-burrito-recipe/?). 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!