Store and Cook Meat, Poultry and Game

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cooking-meat_cRead about cooking joints, steaks and chops, minced and cubed meat, offal, sausages and sausage meat, ham and bacon, cooked cold meat, galantines and meat loaves, casseroles and stews, cottage pie, meat balls, chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys, giblets, poultry livers, stuffing, cooked poultry, grouse, pheasant, partridge, plover, quail, snipe, woodcock, pigeons, hares and rabbits, venison.


Joints

Preparation and packing Prepare beef, lamb, mutton, pork or veal in the form in which it is ready to cook Remove bones if possible, trim surplus fat and tie joint into shape. Wipe meat and pad sharp bones. Wrap and seal in freezer paper, heavy duty foil or polythene, excluding air, and overwrap.

Thawing and serving Thaw in wrappings in refrigerator, allowing 5 hours per lb. Prepare to chosen recipe, using slow-oven method.

Storage time Beef 10-12 months; lamb, mutton and veal 6-8 months; pork 4 months.

Steaks and chops

Preparation and packing Package in quantities which can be used at one time. Individual portions may be packed then stored in quantity in polythene bags for easy handling. Separate individual pieces of meat with cellophane or greaseproof paper and wrap in freezer paper, foil or polythene.

Thawing and serving Thaw in wrappings in the refrigerator. Steaks and chops are best cooked gently in a well-oiled heavy pan, with a higher heat for final browning.

Storage time 4-12 months according to type of meat.

Minced and cubed meat

Preparation and packing Mince of good quality, without fat, should be packed into cartons or polythene bags, excluding air. The addition of salt shortens its storage life. Mince may also be packed in the form of shaped patties, to use as hamburgers; they should be separated by sheets of greaseproof paper or cellophane, and packed in cartons or bags.

Cubed meat to be used for pies or stews should be trimmed of fat and pressed tightly into cartons or polythene bags in useable quantities.

Thawing and serving Thaw in wrappings in refrigerator for 3 hours, or at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours. If the meat is needed quickly, it may be placed in boiling stock and stirred well to help separation.

Storage time 2 months.

Offal

Preparation and packing Hearts, liver, kidneys, sweetbreads and tongue should be washed thoroughly and dried, and all blood vessels and pipes should be removed. Wrap in cellophane or polythene, and put into cartons or polythene bags. Liver may be fro2en whole or sliced, with the slices separated by greaseproof paper or cellophane. Tripe, cut in 1 inch squares, may be packed in polythene bags.

Thawing and serving Thaw completely in wrappings for 3 hours in refrigerator or 1 1/2 hours at room temperature, and prepare to chosen recipe.

Storage time 2 months.

Special notes Offal is prone to developing off-flavours, so must be carefully packaged and used in minimum time.

Sausages and sausage meat

Preparation and packing Omit salt in preparation as this shortens the freezer life. Pack tightly in freezer paper, foil or polythene.

Thawing and serving Sausages can be cooked in their frozen state. Thaw sausage meat in wrappings in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Storage time 1 month.

Ham and bacon

Preparation and packing Better stored in the piece than sliced. Pack in freezer paper, foil or polythene, and overwrap. Sliced bacon should be packed in the same way.

Thawing and serving Thaw in wrappings, in the refrigerator, before using in normal way.

Storage time 3 months in piece; 3 weeks if in slices.

Special notes Cured and smoked meats are best stored in a cool atmosphere, free from flies and dust. There is little advantage in freezing them as their storage life is limited, and salt tends to cause rancidity in fat meats during freezing.

Cooked cold meat

Preparation and packing Cut in slices and separate with cellophane or greaseproof paper. Slices should be 1/4 inch thick and tightly packed to avoid drying. Pack in bags or cartons. Meat can also be packed in gravy thickened with cornflour. Both meat and gravy must be cold before combining and packing in foil dishes.

Thawing and serving Thaw slices for 3 hours in refrigerator, in wrappings, then separate and put on absorbent paper to remove moisture. For meat and gravy, put the freezer foil dish with a foil lid on it into oven and heat at 350°F (Gas Mark 4) for 25 minutes.

Storage time Meat slices 2 months; meat in gravy 1 month.

Special notes Ham and pork lose colour when stored in slices without gravy. Whole cooked joints, steaks or chops tend to toughen on reheating, and the outer surface often develops off-flavours. Fried meats tend to toughness, dryness and rancidity when frozen.

Galantines and meat loaves

Preparation and packing Make your usual recipe for Galantine or Meat Loaf, using a loaf tin. If the dish is to be cooked after freezing, line the tin with foil, freeze the mixture, then form the foil into a parcel for storage. Cooked galantines or meat loaves can be packed in freezer paper or foil; or they may be packed in slices separated by cellophane or greaseproof paper, wrapped in freezer paper or foil.

Thawing and serving Thaw cooked dishes in the refrigerator, in wrappings, overnight. A meat loaf to serve as a hot dish may be reheated, without thawing, at 350°F for 45 minutes; an uncooked meat loaf will need 1 hour 40 minutes.

Storage time 1 month.

Casseroles and stews

Preparation and packing Use your favourite recipe, including any containing wine, but keep the fat content low. Slightly undercook vegetables to avoid softness. Do not add potatoes, rice or other starch. Use cornflour for thickening to prevent curdling. Be sure meat is covered with liquid to prevent drying out.

Pack in freezer-to-oven containers, in cartons, or in a foil-lined casserole from which the foil package can be removed for storage.

Thawing and serving Heat in a double boiler over direct heat if curdling is not likely to occur; or heat in the original container in a moderate oven (350°F or Gas Mark 4) for 45 minutes.

Storage time 1 month.

Special notes For practical purposes, it is useful to double a normal family recipe, using half the quantity immediately and freezing the remainder.

Cottage pie

Preparation and packing Make from fresh or cooked meat, and make meat moist with plenty of stock or gravy. Cool completely and put in a foil container. Prepare mashed potatoes and cool completely. Spread the potatoes on the meat. Cover the dish with foil or put the container into a polythene bag for storage.

Thawing and serving Heat frozen cottage pie at 400°F (Gas Mark 6) for 35 minutes until the potatoes are crisp and golden.

Storage time 1 month.

Meat balls

Preparation and packing Prepare the standard recipe for Meat Balls Pack in polythene bags, or in containers, with layers divided by greaseproof paper or cellophane.

Thawing and serving Do not thaw, but fry quickly in hot fat, or heat in Tomato or Brown sauce.

Storage time 1 month.

Chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys

Preparation and packing Poultry should be cooled for 12 hours in the refrigerator before packing Truss whole birds, or joint neatly Pad bones with greaseproof paper. Divide joints with layers of greaseproof paper or cellophane. Pack in polythene bags, removing all air. Omit giblets, liver and stuffing. Remove oil glands from geese and ducks.

Thawing and serving Thaw, in unopened wrappings, in the refrigerator. Allow a 4-5 lb chicken to thaw overnight in the refrigerator; if necessary, thaw it in 4 hours at room temperature. Allow 36 hours for a 9-lbs turkey and up to 3 days for a larger bird. Cook by normal methods.

Storage time Whole chickens and turkeys 8-12 months; chicken and turkey pieces 6-10 months; geese and ducks 6-8 months.

Giblets

Preparation and packing Clean, wash, dry and chill, and pack in polythene bags, excluding air. For quicker preparation after freezing, giblets may be cooked and frozen in stock in leak-proof containers.

Thawing and serving Thaw in wrappings for 2 hours in refrigerator, and use for soups, stews or pies.

Storage time 2 months uncooked; 1 month cooked.

Poultry livers

Preparation and packing Clean, wash, dry and chill, and pack in polythene bags, excluding air.

Thawing and serving Thaw in wrappings for 2 hours in the refrigerator, and use for omelettes, risotto or pate.

Storage time 2 months.

Stuffing

Preparation and packing Prepare Basic Poultry Stuffing, keeping it very cold. Pack in cartons or polythene bags. The mixture may be formed into balls, deep-fried, cooled and packed in cartons.

Thawing and serving Thaw the stuffing in its wrappings in the refrigerator for 2 hours before using it to stuff bird. If cooked, put it in roasting tin with poultry, or in casserole 10 minutes before serving time.

Storage time 1 month.

Cooked poultry

Preparation and packing Prepare in slices, or in gravy or sauce, as for Cooked Cold Meat. Chicken pieces can be prepared as Fried Chicken and packed individually, or in batches, in cartons. Layers should be separated by greaseproof paper or cellophane.

Thawing and serving Thaw cold sliced poultry in its wrappings in the refrigerator for 3 hours, then separate and put on absorbent paper to take up moisture. Heat poultry in gravy or sauce in the oven (350°F or Gas Mark 4) for 25 minutes. Thaw fried chicken in its wrappings for 3 hours in the refrigerator, to eat cold, or heat at 450°F (Gas Mark 8) for 30 minutes.

Storage time 1 month.

Special notes Whole roast birds do not freeze successfully for cold dishes; on thawing they exude moisture and become flabby.

Grouse, pheasant, partridge

Preparation and packing Remove all shot, and clean the wounds. 'Bleed' as soon as shot, keep cool and hang to individual taste. Pluck, draw and truss neatly. Pad bones with greaseproof paper. Pack in polythene bags, excluding all air. If birds are old or badly shot, prepare as Cooked Game.

Thawing and serving Thaw in wrappings in the refrigerator for slow even thawing, allowing 5 hours per lb. At room temperature, allow 2 hours per lb. Start cooking as soon as the game is thawed, while it is still cold, to prevent loss of juices.

Storage time 6-8 months.

Plover, quail, snipe, woodcock

Preparation and packing Prepare and pack as other game but do not draw.

Thawing and serving Thaw in wrappings in the refrigerator, allowing 5 hours per lb, and start cooking as soon as thawed, while it is still cold.

Storage time 6-8 months.

Pigeons

Preparation and packing Prepare as for other game. Since pigeons are rarely served plainly roasted, it is more practical to cook the birds for use in casseroles or pies before freezing.

Thawing and serving Thaw in wrappings in the refrigerator, allowing 5 hours per lb.

Storage time 6-8 months.

Hares and rabbits

Preparation and packing Behead hares and rabbits and 'bleed' as soon as possible. Hang for 24 hours in a cool place. Skin, clean and wipe with a damp cloth. Cut into joints and wrap each piece in cellophane, then pack joints in useable quantities in polythene bags for storage.

Thawing and serving Thaw in wrappings in refrigerator, allowing 5 hours per lb.

Storage time 6-8 months.

Venison

Preparation and packing Having cleaned the shot wounds, keep carcase in good condition, and as cold as possible until butchering is possible. Behead and bleed the animal, skin and clean, wash and wipe it. Hang in a very cool place for 5-6 days. Cut in joints and pack in freezer paper, foil or polythene bags. It is best to use only the best joints for freezing and to treat the rest as mince, casseroles or pies.

Thawing and serving Thaw in wrappings in refrigerator for 4 hours, then remove the wrappings, pour the marinade over and continue thawing, allowing 5 hours per lb. Use strips of fat bacon for roasting.

Storage time 8-10 months.

Special notes Venison will be less dry if marinaded during thawing. Make the marinade from 1/2 pint red wine, 1/2 pint vinegar, 1 large sliced onion, parsley, thyme and bayleaf. Turn meat frequently while thawing and marinading. Use the marinade in casseroles.

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