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The Dos And Don’ts Of Preserving Meats

Food preservation is a very old practice that has served several purposes over the centuries. The primary purpose of preserving meats is, of course, storage. Without electricity, or the availability of a cold, storage location, people would use methods such as hiding meat in dried corn, salting meat, curing it, and smoking it, in order to consume it at a later time.

There are ways to maximize the preservation of meats, just like there are ways not to do it. Here, we bring you the dos and don’ts of preserving meats. These tips will help you preserve meat yourself so that you can enjoy your favorite cuts safely with your friends and loved ones.

Dos of preserving meats:

  • Select fresh cuts to preserve. The fresher the cut, the safer it will be to preserve it. It will also last the longest in preservation mode, since the cut is recent to begin with.
  • Rinse your meat prior to preserving it. It is always a good idea to wash out surface bacteria that naturally grows on meat and other foods.
  • Use lint-free towels to dry your pieces of meat prior to preparing them for preservation.
  • Prepare your meat in a clean, sanitized environment. Notice that even butcher shops maintain a very controlled environment to ensure that no added microorganisms mix with the food being prepared.
  • Give your fresh cut of meat a “hanging” period. You may have seen this done at all traditional butcher shops. It is the best way to improve the flavor and texture of the meat. When the meat hangs (in the right temperature, that is), the fibers of the meat’s muscle will break down naturally.
  • Meat preservation is best during the colder months of the year. It is very hard to preserve meat in warm temperatures.It is imperative to have a cold room for storage.
  • The typical hanging period for meat is no more than 2 days. However, in the right temperature, the meat can be left hanging longer for better texture and tenderness.
  • When freezing meat, zero degrees Fahrenheit is the optimal temperature. Meat will still deteriorate, so do not let it go for more than four months.
  • Wrap the meat and protect it prior to freezing it. You do not want freezer burn.
  • Consider salting as a way to preserve meat. It is an ancient method that still works today.
  • When salting meat, be sure to pat dry your pieces before rubbing the salt on the meat. Be sure to cover the entire surface.
  • Whether the meat is salt cured or hanged, pay attention to the low temperature rule of no higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The big takeaways of preserving meats is to be sure to work in a clean environment, to wash the meat prior to working with it, and to pay attention to the suggested temperature depending on which method you choose.

Just like there are essential rules for preserving meat, there are also things you should not do. The goal is to have the healthiest experience possible.

Don’ts of meat preservation

  • Do not forget to clean your meat prior to preserving it.
  • Do not hang or try to preserve meat in temperatures any higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The key numbers for meat temperature are 33 to 40 degrees.
  • Do not go above or below the recommended temperatures for preservation.
  • Do not transfer germs onto the meat by transporting it from surface to surface. Try to stay in the same environment when cooking with meat.
  • Do not use lint-based cloth or towels to prep your meat, dry it, or wrap it.
  • When freezing meat, do not forget to write the date of freezing so that you can know when to use it.
  • For salted meat, do not leave salt residuals on the meat. You should flush all the salt out prior to cooking.

As you can see, it is very easy to preserve meats if you simply follow the temperature and storage rules. Meat is not hard to preserve, but is definitely easy to spoil and rot if proper care is not taken.

To learn more about your favorite cuts of meat, ways to preserve and cook it, and the delicious choices available, visit the professionals at

This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from and other Amazon websites.

Written by Nat Sauteed

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