Can you freeze deli meats? Deli meats are cured cuts of meats that are often used in cooking or as filling to sandwiches. They come in a wide variety of types including luncheon meats, cold cuts, and prosciutto.
Because these products have gone through a curing process, they will keep well in the fridge for a week or so. However, curing doesn’t always inhibit spoilage which is why you should freeze deli meats for future uses. This goes especially if you won’t use the excess deli meats stuck in the fridge for a long time.
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Just like any type of food, freezing deli meats may affect the texture and flavor of the meats. This goes especially if the cold cuts have been frozen and defrosted improperly. When done right, freezing deli meats is one of the best ways to preserving cured meats. When thawed correctly, the flavor and texture will remain the same.
When frozen correctly, dry, cured meats could keep for 4 to 6 months. On the other hand, sliced deli meats can keep up to 2 months when frozen. We don’t recommend storing the deli meats for long periods of time.
Dry, cured meats keep well in the freezer because these products contain very little moisture. The same thing cannot be said for sliced deli meats. The flavor and texture changes as deli meats are kept in the freezer for months at a time.
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Before we get started on the steps how can you freeze deli meats, let’s discuss the different types of deli meats. This way, you’ll know the steps to take to preserve these products the right way!
Types of Deli Meats
There are two types of deli meats, cured, dry meat and sliced, pre-cooked deli meats. High fat and lean deli meats can be frozen successfully as long as they are packed correctly prior to freezing.
For larger pieces of meat – such as salami – it’s best to transfer the product in an airtight container before sticking it in the freezer. You want to make sure that the product is completely covered to prevent freezer burns or moisture loss.
The key to properly freezing deli meats is the packaging. You want to create a tight seal so that the moisture will not penetrate the meat. Exposing the meat to low moisture environment leads to moisture loss, which will alter the texture and flavor of the meat.
Freezing Unopened or Pre-Packed Deli Meats
If you’re freezing unopened, pre-packaged deli meats, do not transfer the product to another container. Just stick the whole thing in the freezer and it will keep well because the package is vacuum-sealed.
Freezing Leftover Sliced or Cooked Deli Meats
For leftover sliced or cooked deli meats, transfer the meats to a rigid plastic container, one with an airtight cover. Cover the container and add the storage dates then stick in the freezer.
Freezing Larger Cuts of Deli Meats
For larger cuts of cured or sliced deli meats, you need to use several layers of tin foil or cling wrap to wrap and cover all exposed parts of the meat. Then, transfer the product in a large container or freezer-safe plastic bag before sticking in the freezer.
Defrosting the frozen deli meats is just as important as packing the products well before freezing.
Defrosting the Deli Meats
The key here is to thaw the deli meats slowly so do not leave a plateful to thaw at room temperature. Instead, transfer the frozen deli meats from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the meat to thaw for several hours to overnight until the meats are thoroughly defrosted.
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Reheating the Deli Meats
After thawing the deli meats, you can start reheating. You can do this by using the microwave or a plastic cooking bag. To reheat deli meats using a plastic cooking bag, boil about 3 to 4 cups of water in a pot then place the sliced deli meats in the plastic bag.
Seal the bag and dunk it in boiling water for five minutes. After cooking, remove the deli meats from the plastic bag and serve.
Can you freeze deli meats? Yes, you can but there are certain steps you need to take to prevent moisture loss, flavor loss, and bacteria growth. Some thoughts to consider: never eat thawed deli meats without reheating or you might suffer from food poisoning. Also, never re-freeze thawed deli meats. We hope that this guide has been helpful to you!