Freeze a sandwich with sliced deli meat, put it in your lunch bag in the morning, and your yummy sandwich is ready to eat by lunch time. Don’t know how to freeze cold cuts? Tastessence guides you on how to freeze both, packaged and opened lunch meats.
One Food, Many Names!
Lunch meats are also known as luncheon meats, cold cuts, deli meats, sandwich meats, cold meats, cooked meats, and sliced meats.
Deli meats are pre-cooked, sliced, and packaged meats that are ready-to-eat. These meats are one of the top picks for parties and gatherings, due to their easy-to-serve qualities. They are, basically, sausages or meat loaves that are cured and sliced normally. They are available in both pre-sliced, and non-sliced forms. The sliced meat is available in vacuum packs, while the latter one needs to get sliced from a deli counter.
So, can you freeze lunch meat and stock it at home?
Generally, lunch meats have preservatives, making them safe to consume for about 5 days even after the packaging is opened. The unopened package of deli meat, if refrigerated, lasts for up to 15 days. To extend the shelf life of deli meat, so that it is handy for future use, you need to freeze it. Frozen cold cuts don’t affect the flavor or taste of the meat. Typically, packed frozen cold cuts are safe to eat for up to 6 months, but if they were being unpacked, they can last for 2 to 3 months owing to undesirable allowance of air and moisture. Following are easy instructions to freeze deli meat.
How to Freeze Pre-packaged Lunch Meat
❖ If you’re buying deli meat in stock, there’s no need to unpack the package.
❖ As long as it is packed in an airtight bag, it cannot get spoiled. Keep it in a freezer-safe container, and place a date card on it. It is important to mention the date so that you know how long it’s been there.
❖ For thawing the frozen lunch meat, move it from the freezer to the refrigerator section a day before serving. But be cautious, after opening the package, consume all the meat within 2 to 3 days.
How to Freeze Unpacked Lunch Meat
❖ If you’ve unpacked the lunch meat, and used a chunk, you can still freeze it to stock the remaining portion.
❖ Repack the meat in an airtight (zip-lock) bag, after vacuuming all the air.
❖ If it’s sliced lunch meat, you can place a sheet of parchment paper between each pair of slices. This would make it easier for you to remove and use one slice at a time. Then, move it to the freezer bag and seal it.
❖ Mention the storage date and contents on a card, and place it in the freezer.
❖ If you’re planning to use it, just remove it 24 hours prior to serving. This will let it thaw completely. The sliced pieces can get thawed easily in an hour or two.
Shelf Life of Lunch Meat
It is absolutely safe to freeze lunch meats. The growth of bacteria is prevented because of the low temperature inside the freezer or the fridge, helping it retain its texture and flavor after thawing. However, the shelf life of these frozen foods varies slightly.
|For Opened Meats|
|Fresh Deli Meats||5 to 6 days||–|
|Packaged Lunch Meats||7 to 10 days||–|
|Bologna||1 to 2 weeks||1 to 2 months|
|Pepperoni||2 to 3 weeks||6 to 8 months|
|Salami||2 to 3 weeks||2 to 3 months|
|For Pre-packaged Meats|
|Fresh Deli Meats||5 to 6 days||–|
|Pre-packaged Deli Meats||7 to 10 days||6 to 8 months|
|Bologna||1 to 2 weeks||2 to 3 months|
|Salami||3 to 4 weeks||2 to 3 months|
These methods are sure to help you store deli meats. Don’t hesitate in trying these methods. We assure, they won’t make the meat mushy, and keep the flavor and texture intact.