Corned beef is a type of processed meat made by dry curing the meat to extend its shelf life and prevent spoilage. Some type of corned beef goes through a dry salt curing to give the meat a distinct flavor. Can you freeze corned beef? Since corned beef has been processed, it does not need much to extend its shelf life. However, you can freeze corned beef especially if it is nearing its expiry date. The same thing can be said for cooked corned beef, you can freeze it.
Of course, freezing the corned beef may affect its texture and flavor regardless if it’s cooked or uncooked. The salts used during curing will change the texture of the meat and freezing the meat may cause further changes to its texture.
How to Make Corned Beef at Home
How to Freeze Corned Beef?
Freezing Uncooked Whole Corned Beef
If you’re freezing an uncooked chunk of corned beef, start by draining the excess liquids from the meat. High salt content from the excess liquid may shorten the shelf life of the frozen meat. Once the corned beef is free from excess liquids, you can prep the meat for freezing.
If you’d like to freeze the chunk of corned beef without cutting it into serving portions, wrap it in a double layer of plastic wrap. Make sure there are no exposed parts to prevent freezer burns. Finally, place the wrapped corned beef in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can then write the label and seal. Store in the coldest corner of the freezer.
Freezing Uncooked Slices of Corned Beef
We highly recommend slicing the chunk of meat into manageable portions so defrosting the meat is much easier. After draining the excess liquids, cut the corned beef into your desired sizes.
After cutting the corned beef into manageable portions, place them carefully in a double layer of plastic wrap. Make sure there are no exposed parts to prevent freezer burns. Finally, place the wrapped corned beef slices in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can then write the label and seal. Stick flat in the freezer.
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Freezing Cooked Corned Beef
Freezing cooked corned beef is trickier because the added ingredients may affect the meat’s flavor and shelf life. If you really want to prolong the shelf life of cooked corned beef, invest in a vacuum sealer. Just place the leftover corned beef in a heavy-duty, freezer-safe plastic bag and vacuum seal it. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, just follow the prepping instruction for uncooked corned beef.
The same prepping and storage instructions apply for canned corned beef. However, you have to transfer the product in a freezer-safe container. Tin cans are not freezer-safe.
What to do with Leftover Corned Beef?
Got more leftover corned beef than you can handle? You can turn corned beef into a variety of tasty dishes that the whole family will love!
If you’re short on pepperoni, you can use corned beef as a pizza topping! Just shred the corned beef leftover with a fork and a knife, give your pizza dough a generous sprinkling then add the rest of the ingredients. Bake the pizza as you normally would and you have a tasty snack!
If you want to give your cabbage or lettuce wraps a little variety, add corned beef to your filling. Just stuff the cabbage or lettuce with cooked corned beef, finish up with a dab of mayo and mustard and you have a zesty, crunchy meal.
Corned Beef Hash
Let the whole family wake up to this hearty breakfast treat: classic corned beef hash! this diner favorite is made with potatoes, veggies, and spices all fried to perfection then topped with poached eggs. Here’s a great recipe to try.
Image used under Creative Commons from jeffreyw
Casseroles and Soups
If you love hearty casseroles and chunky soups then you can use corned beef to whip up the heartiest dishes! You can add leftover corned beef to vegetable casseroles, cabbage soups, even make a corned beef hash brown casserole. The possibilities are endless!
Did you know that adding corned beef to stews adds depth and flavor to the dish? You can add a portion of leftover corned beef to any type of slow-cooked stews, including cabbage stews, beef stew, chicken stew, and so much more.
Shelf Life, Thawing, and Reheating Suggestions
Uncooked corned beef will keep in the freezer for 6 to 8 months. Cooked corned beef and canned corned beef will keep for at least 6 months in the freezer. Freezing might affect the texture and flavor of the product so it’s best to consume your corned beef supply as soon as possible. Do not refreeze leftovers.
To thaw uncooked and frozen corned beef, just transfer the product to the fridge. Leave the corned beef to defrost overnight. Once defrosted, the uncooked corned beef can be cooked or added to your favorite recipes. If you are using cooked corned beef, you can add it to the dish while it’s cooking, no defrosting or reheating needed.
Can you freeze corned beef? Most culinary experts do not recommend freezing corned beef but it is quite possible to do so with minimal texture or flavor changes. Just keep these storage tips in mind and you should freeze corned beef without worrying about spoiling or what to do with the leftovers!