Saving Forgotten Food In Your Freezer

I mentioned back in January that I've slowly been cleaning out my freezers and pantry. Well, I'm still at it. I've found some pretty old things hidden in the back of freezer and pantry shelves.

The USDA says you should toss out frozen ground meat after 4 months and whole roasts after a year, which I find ridiculous. Yet, elswhere, the US Department of Agriculture says that as long as the meat is frozen to 0 °F it could keep indefinitely. It recommends tossing food only if quality is affected which usually happens if it's not been properly stored in the first place.

Vacuum sealing is probably safest, but any way that you can keep oxygen from permeating the meat will work.

I found two rib roasts from 2017. The first I cooked as a regular roast, but we found it flavorless. With the next roast, I sliced it off the bone, cut it into chunks, divided it in half then marinated it with two different marinades.

One marinade was Asian. I made a broccoli beef stir fry. The other marinade was a copycat recipe for Pappasito's fajita. If you have a Pappasito's near you, I am jealous! Their fajitas are to die for.

Both meals were a hit. The marinades made all the difference.

I'm not an expert on seasonings and marinades which is why I find Asian cuisine so hard to master. What I lack in natural cookery intuition I make up with fastidious attention and following recipe directions precisely.

I've got three go-to marinade recipes that I use for pork, beef, and shrimp. I've tried different marinades for years until I found these three. Since we like our food spicy, these tend to have a little bite to them. Greg like teriyaki too but I find it too sweet for my taste.

Whatever you do, don't try the bottled marinades. Once you've made your own marinades from scratch you'll never buy bottled again. That stuff is awful.

These are the links to my favorite marinades.

Spicy Chili-Garlic Stir Fry

Mongolian Beef

Spicy Garlic Pork Stir Fry

Pappasito's Copycat Fajita Recipe

If it weren't for these marinades I might've wasted those roasts. The next time you have a cheap cut of meat or something that's been in the freezer too long, try these.

Have you ever found something in your freezer that you thought might be too old to save?


B.E. Sanderson said…
Considering I was watching a program on a mastodon found in the Siberian ice and someone ate a piece of the meat without dying or getting sick, I'm pretty sure the meats in my freezer are gonna be okay. Still, stuff in my freezer isn't in there for too awfully long. The oldest stuff is soups and broths. And that stuff lasts for quite a while frozen. It'll get eaten before my 'this is too old to eat' date - which is arbitrary and subjective.

Good idea about the marinades, though. My go-to beef marinade is pretty basic: Olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and salt n pepper.
Maria Zannini said…
BE: I'm fascinated by different marinades. You can change the entire meal into a different meal by adjusting the flavors. I'm going to try yours next.
Lisa Lombardo said…
Good to know. I used to order beef and pork by the whole or half. We've finished all of the meat except for organ meats. Not a big fan, but want to use them to save money!
Maria Zannini said…
Lisa: Whenever I end up with some organ meat I don't like, I turn it into hash for the dogs.

If you want to save it for yourself, you could grind it up and mix it with hamburger or add to soups.

There are a few organ meats I won't eat. I don't like brains, tongue, or kidneys, but I'll eat the rest.
LD Masterson said…
I'm going to try a couple of your marinades but another way to save that piece of meat from the back of the freezer is to toss it in the crock pot. A good crock pot recipes can overcome the ice age freezer burn and restore tenderness and flavor.