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Freeze ground beef in flat bags for faster thawing

Stop freezing your ground beef in chubs or styrofoam packs. Flatten them in zip-top bags so they thaw in minutes.

how to freeze ground beef
Taylor Martin/CNET

Ground beef was on a killer sale at the market and you bought several pounds. Now you have a dilemma. You have to freeze it so it won't spoil before you and your family can eat it all. But you also know that you're going to put off cooking it for weeks or months because it's going to take hours to thaw.

However, reddit user r0ckarong shared a way in which you can store and freeze ground beef so that it can be thawed in a matter of minutes, not hours.

Freeze minced meat flat in ziplocks bags. Will thaw in warm water in minutes when needed. from lifehacks

To use r0ckarong's method, all you will need are several zip-top bags.

Begin by dividing the beef into portions. Each zip-top bag should have enough ground beef inside for at least one meal. Place the beef in the zip-top bag, squeeze out as much air as possible and seal the bag.

Next, press firmly on the bag to flatten it out. You will need to work and knead the meat to flatten it out and have it fill the bag entirely.

a better way to freeze ground beef
Taylor Martin/CNET

Repeat this process for each portion of ground beef. When you're finished and ready to freeze, the bags of ground beef should stack very neatly and save space.

When it's time to thaw the meat, remove one bag of meat and place it in a bath of hot or ice cold water.

If you opt to go with hot water, place the bag of meat in a bath of water approximately 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 Celsius). If the water is too hot, it can actually start to cook the meat, which is not what you want. USDA sponsored research revealed that this thawing method moves the meat through the temperature range which microbes like to grow very quickly, meaning it's safe, so long as you cook immediately after the meat has thawed.

If, on the other hand, you choose to do a cool thaw, you can simply place the meat in the refrigerator the night before you plan to cook the meat or make an ice bath in your kitchen sink. Place the meat in the sink and make sure to keep the temperature of the water below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius). Once the meat has fully thawed, promptly begin cooking the meat.

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