Monday, March 1, 2010

Stockpiling Meat and Cheese

Jenn had a great question in her comment on this post about a recent shopping trip. I decided that since more than Jenn may wonder the same thing, I would go ahead and answer in a post.

Jenn asked: "I was just wondering... your stockpile of lunchmeat and cheese... do you freeze them? And if you do, once they are thawed out, is their fridge life shortened by it??"

Photo by hsingy

I do freeze the extra lunch meat in my stockpile. I just toss the bags in the freezer the way they are. I have not noticed that the shelf-life is shortened any after thawing, but with Daniel getting a cold-cuts sandwich every day for lunch, lunch meat doesn't stick around very long :) The only change I have ever noticed in the lunch meat is that sometimes it is a little more watery in the bag than if it's not frozen, but it doesn't seem to effect the quality of the meat at all.

Photo by L.Marie

For the cheese, it depends. Cheese has a pretty long shelf life if it's kept sealed in the refrigerator. Freezing hard cheese does change the consistency of it. If I buy shredded cheese, I just throw the bags into the freezer and it thaws and works just as great as if it had never been frozen. Block cheese, however, if frozen becomes crumbly after thawed. Since I slice it off as I need it for Daniel's sandwiches, I keep the stockpile in the refrigerator. If you do want to freeze it but not have the crumbliness, you can pre-slice it and then freeze it. That works well, too. I'm just too lazy to slice up a whole stockpile of cheese :P

I do freeze the individual-wrapped American Cheese stuff when I buy extra. I'm sure it has a long shelf-life as well and I probably wouldn't need to freeze it, but it helps keep the fridge uncluttered. I've not been able to tell any difference with that once it's thawed.

I hope this answers your question, Jenn! Thanks for asking :)


Elizabeth said... [Reply to comment]

I can't tell you how often I've wondered about all of this!

I freeze the bricks of cheese but only because I LOVE how they crumble instead of slice once they're thawed. Salad anyone? Yum!

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

I've never thought of freezing the pre-sliced American cheese. I just figured it would turn to water or something since it is labeled as a "cheese product", or something like that, which indicates to me it is not real (or 100%) cheese. I'm glad to know it works well.

Candi said... [Reply to comment]

I just found out last week from the deli counter at Food Lion that you could freeze deli meat. I was so happy to know that! If you have a food processor, you could shred the block cheese in bulk and then freeze it. I'm too lazy to do that though! I just let it crumble as I shred it. The kids love to eat the chunks that don't shred :)

wenchie said... [Reply to comment]

I do as Candi suggested and just stick the cheese through the food processor when I buy it - and then I can pretty much just use the shedded cheese straight from the freezer (it's COLD on sandwiches, if you eat them straight away, but the fat content means that it's not solid)