Quick Answer : Can You Freeze Deli Meat?
Yes, you can freeze deli meat. Freezing these cured meats should be no problem, provided you take the necessary precautions and follow the correct procedure. Deli meats can be used in various ways, from cooking to sandwich fillings. Besides, they are available in different varieties, like cold cuts, luncheon meats, and prosciutto.
Since deli meats undergo a curing procedure before hitting the market shelves, you can refrigerate them for a week. Many people feel that curing deli meats prevent them from getting spoilt, but it is not so. So, freezing deli meats can prevent them from getting spoilt.
However, deli meats can change their texture after freezing, especially when the cold cuts have not frozen and defrosted well. Therefore, we harp on following the correct procedure for freezing deli meats.
Let us learn the process of freezing deli meat.
How Do You Freeze Deli Meats?
Deli meats come in various types, and they have different freezing methods. So, let us discuss the various freezing methods of deli meat.
Freezing Large Cuts Of Meat
We advise transferring the larger meat pieces like the salami to an airtight container before freezing them inside the freezer. The idea is not to expose the meat to air or moisture that could cause bacterial contamination and spoil the meat. Besides, it also protects the meat from freezer burn.
- Keep sufficient aluminum/tin foil and cling wrap ready before purchasing the meat from the market. As soon as you decide to freeze it, wrap the meat pieces tightly with tin foil or cling wrap. Please cover the meat entirely without exposing any part through which there can be air or moisture seepage. You can have multiple protective layers. That should not be a problem.
- Place the wrapped meat in a large freezer bag. Expel excess air and seal the bag properly.
- Write the freezing date on a label and stick it to the bag.
- Place the bag into the coldest part of the freezer.
Freezing Unopened Or Pre-Packed Deli Meats
Freezing unopened deli meat packets are the easiest to freeze. These meats come in secure packaging that can protect them from air and moisture exposure. So, if you are not planning to use some meat immediately, you can toss the unopened meat in its original packaging into the freezer. As the pre-packed deli meats are vacuum-sealed, there is no question of air contamination.
Freezing Cooked Deli Meats Or Leftover Slices
You can transfer the cooked meat or the leftover slices to a plastic airtight container. You need not wrap them in aluminum foil. However, please ensure that the storage container does not have gaps through which air or moisture can seep through and damage the meat.
Seal the container airtight and stick the date label on the sides before placing it inside the freezer for freezing.
So, you can see that packing the deli meats is crucial. An airtight packaging ensures zero exposure to moisture and extends the meat’s shelf life inside the freezer.
How Long Can You Freeze Deli Meats?
The sliced and cooked deli meats can remain frozen for two months without losing their texture and flavor. However, we do not advise waiting two months to consume the meat, especially if you have frozen leftovers.
On the other hand, the cured and dry deli meats last substantially longer. They retain their freshness for four to six months. But, it is always better to finish the meats before their expiration date.
The dry meats last longer because these products initially contain less water. The sliced deli meats have moisture content. So, they are at greater risk of changing their flavor and texture.
How Do You Defrost Frozen Deli Meats?
Defrosting the deli meats is a straightforward method. First, remove the frozen deli meats from the freezer and transfer them to the fridge. The changes in the temperature levels are enough for the deli meats to defrost naturally. However, the method can take more than six to eight hours for the frozen deli meats to thaw completely. So, we advise initiating the defrosting process overnight, allowing the defrosted meat to be ready for cooking the following morning.
If you do not have much time, you can defrost the frozen deli meat and reheat it simultaneously in the microwave. You can use the defrost option on the microwave. This method saves time, but the refrigerator defrosting method is the best.
We do not recommend any other method of defrosting the frozen deli meat. Under no circumstances should you thaw the frozen deli meat at room temperature. The meat can get spoilt and become unpalatable.
Can You Reheat The Defrosted Deli Meat?
You can reheat the defrosted deli meat.
- Transfer the defrosted meat to a plastic bag and seal it properly. Heat water in a pot and place the plastic cooking bag containing the meat into it for five minutes. The meat should be ready to serve now.
- Alternatively, you can microwave the defrosted deli meat before serving.
Once the defrosted deli meats are reheated, you should consume them entirely. If there are leftovers at this stage, we advise you to discard them.
Can You Refreeze Deli Meat?
We do not recommend refreezing deli meat because it can considerably change its texture and flavor. Therefore, we advise freezing the deli meat in smaller portions. It saves time and prevents wastage.
Can You Freeze Deli Meat In Small Slices?
It is always better to freeze small consumable portions of deli meats for easy defrosting and consumption.
Can You Freeze Turkey Lunch Meat?
It is possible to freeze all kinds of meat, including ham, port, beef, poultry, etc. Therefore freezing turkey lunch meat should not be an issue.
Can You Freeze Pre-Packed Cooked Meats?
It is easy to freeze pre-packed cooked meats as described here.
Can You Freeze Packaged Ham Slices?
It is possible to freeze packaged ham slices. You can push them directly into the freezer in their original packing if you have not opened them yet.
Can You Freeze Sliced Roast Beef?
You can freeze sliced roast beef, but we advise preventing exposure to moisture that can damage the meat.
We have seen that freezing deli meat is possible if you wrap them perfectly and do not allow exposure to air. So, if people question whether you can freeze deli meats, you should say you can.