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Meat and poultry

Buying

Buy from sources that you trust. Look for quality assurance marks such as the Bord Bia Quality Mark. Use by dates give important information for all products but this is particularly true for red meat and poultry.

To maximise the lifespan of your food, take an insulated cooler bag when shopping and use it for all your frozen and refrigerated purchases.

Storing

Remove plastic on meat if possible because this causes the meat to sweat. Raw and cooked meat should be stored separately. Use containers that prevent meat touching or dripping onto other foods and store on the lowest (coldest) shelf of the fridge. Raw meat and poultry can be stored in the fridge for 3-5 days, while cooked meat will keep in the fridge for 5-7 days.

Freezing

Raw meat from the shop can be frozen but raw meat that has been frozen and has de-frosted should never be re-frozen. Cooked meat is suitable for freezing. This is a great way to make homemade ‘ready meals’ and ensure that leftovers don’t get wasted. Raw mince and smaller cuts do not last as well in the freezer as large cuts. The flavour of cooked meat and poultry will deteriorate with prolonged freezing. The safest way to thaw meat is in the refrigerator. This takes time so be sure to plan ahead! 

Freezer life

3 – 6 months

Using up

Make stock or broth with meat bones or the poultry carcass. Just bring the cooked carcass to the boil along with an onion, carrot, a stick of celery, and enough water to cover everything. Lower the heat and simmer. Drain, cool and refrigerate or freeze. If you need clear guidelines, read this article on How to make great stock. You will be surprised at the ‘rich pickings’ of extra meat still on the carcass. Make meatballs with your leftover meat: chop the meat, add bread crumbs and spices and brown them in the pan.

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