At Hickory Springs Farm, we raise and process our own meat. This includes chicken, beef, and pork, as well as venison and wild turkey from our woods. While a vacuum sealer is pretty much the gold standard for wrapping meat for the freezer and will keep it in excellent condition for up to 2 years (and possible longer), there is a way to wrap and store your meat for the freezer without a vacuum sealer. It involves only a few supplies and a double-wrapping process to ensure that air does not touch the meat, which will in turn make sure that your meat does not get freezer burned. We have kept frozen meat wrapped with this process for 2 years with no freezer burn or off flavors. Below I have outlined the process.
Large roll of freezer paper – We really like this product by LEM. It is coated on one side to help lock out moisture.
- Portion your meat into the size you would like in each package. Rinse and dry the meat well. Any extra water on the meat will quickly squeeze out through the wrapping as you work, turning a fairly clean process into a messy one.
- Lay one portion in the middle of a piece of plastic wrap that is large enough to wrap over the meat from all four sides twice. You don’t want any air getting into the meat. Wrap meat tightly in plastic wrap, overlapping opposite sides first, then remaining two sides.
- Cut off a piece of freezer paper that is roughly 10 inches larger than the meat on all four sides. Lay meat on the coated (shiny) side of the paper.
4. If your meat is rectangular, starting on the long side and bring opposite sides of paper together and hold them. Fold top edge over by about 1 inch and crease the fold. If your meat is roughly square-shaped, it will not matter which side you start with.
5. Continue to fold edge down until it is tight against the meat. Either hold the fold against the meat with one hand while you do the next step, or secure with a piece of masking tape.
6. Turn one short end toward you and fold each corner into the middle, as shown in photo. You should have a point in the middle, as if you were wrapping a present.
7. Fold pointed end 2-3 times up toward the package. When it is tight against the package, secure with a piece of tape.
8. Repeat with the opposite end.
9. If there are any gaps in your paper after you have taped the middle and sides, tape the gaping areas down also.
10. Label your package with the type of meat, the cut, and the date it was frozen.
There you have it! Your meat should keep well for 1-2 years if it is frozen at a temperature of zero degrees F or below. We store all of our wrapped meat in our deep freezers, not the kitchen freezer, as freezer compartments on refrigerators sometimes do not keep it cold enough. If you have large cuts to store, I would definitely recommend a freezer that reliably keeps the temperature at zero or below.