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After butchering- freezer paper or food sealer and if food sealer what one?

 
pollinator
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We are looking to kill some pigs and are not sure if we should use freezer paper for the meat or purchase a vacuum sealer. Any recommendations?
 
gardener
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Length of time might trump what is environmentally the best option. If there is a reality of the meat sitting in a freezer for a year, I vac seal it.

As I get into a rhythm into raising my own meats, I have found other ways besides the 2 mentioned. At this point I plan to make lamb stew and pressure can it. This takes no plastic or energy to store it and we enjoy it enough to make it a weekly meal. I plan to do this with the whole animal or all 3 animals.

With deer I make enough sausage to last a year and vac seal it. A good portion goes to jerky which doesn't need plastics.

If someone has options for longterm storage with out vac sealing i would highly consider it though.
 
elle sagenev
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wayne fajkus wrote:Length of time might trump what is environmentally the best option. If there is a reality of the meat sitting in a freezer for a year, I vac seal it.

As I get into a rhythm into raising my own meats, I have found other ways besides the 2 mentioned. At this point I plan to make lamb stew and pressure can it. This takes no plastic or energy to store it and we enjoy it enough to make it a weekly meal. I plan to do this with the whole animal or all 3 animals.

With deer I make enough sausage to last a year and vac seal it. A good portion goes to jerky which doesn't need plastics.

If someone has options for longterm storage with out vac sealing i would highly consider it though.



What kind of vacuum sealer do you have?
 
wayne fajkus
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On what vac sealer, I had some issues with overheating and pausing itself. This is probably not uncommon when packing up whole animals where you are using it for several minutes.

The one I now have is rated for constant duty and has an option to double heat seal. It's a catch 22 cause constant duty only functions while in single heat strip mode.

I like the constant duty better than the double heat strip. In either mode you may get some failed seals. They may not be evident til after they are froze. In that case they just go to the front of the line for dinner

As far as breakdowns, the only issue i have had over the years is not sucking the air out. In my case it has been  the weather stripping that seals over the bags. It's an easy fix. If you use Amazon I might check that they have replacement seals available. At some point it will be needed. It's like brakes on  car, I consider it a maintenance item.

Last thing is I would make sure it has the tube port for vac sealing Mason jars. This has been a huge item for me which gives longevity to specific storage without using plastics. Dehydrated fruits, jerky, rice, etc. Without it, the option is those little moisture absorber packs which I would rather not use.
 
wayne fajkus
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Mine is huge and I have done whole chickens with it. It's one of those heirloom things that will be used a long long time so I didn't skimp on it.
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Not sure if this fits your needs but we use freezer paper and then put it in a ziplock bag.  That way the meat isn't touching the plastic (important to us), we get the air sealing of a ziplock and they're reusable.
 
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i am in the same position as you,
I have gone the route of buying silicone bags. It says i can boil the bags i can cook in them, they looks quite sturdy and i imagine them being usable for many years to come.
Reusable Silicone Bag link (amazon)

Butcher paper has the said wax coating and thus doesn't prevent freezer burn.
freezer paper has the said plastic coating, which where i live it is not recyclable and it just goes to the trash.

I am going to try my best at producing as much bacon and cured meat i can and thus not require the need to freeze nearly as much of the meat.

I am not one for eating canned meat, its really doesn't appeal to me at all. And recently a neighbour offered a vacuum sealer to me and he said he doesn't use it because of all the plastic waste and the fact the plastic wasn't reusable after wards. his words as i have no experience with it.

Luckily i am only dealing with half a pig, i would be scrambling with dealing with a whole pig.

Good luck :D
 
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I would like to know if anyone is having success with only "freezer paper" the kind with a plastic coating on one side.  I wrapped up some cuts of lamb today and started doubting if they were tight enough.  This is my first time with freezer paper, having used vac sealer in the past.   I did try to get the plastic side of the freezer paper to contact the meat and wrapped as tight as possible but the meat cut shapes are sometimes irregular so there are some corners that aren't 100% tight.

Basically I'm wondering if I can trust these cuts to be in good shape say...6-12 months from now.   Its excellent flavor and quality so far, would hate to lose that.

 
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I'm a big fan of freezer paper for several reasons.

- the meat lasts the longest in the freezer before losing taste or getting dry.  (I find I need to eat it in about 20 months - but plastic sealed meat only lasts about 4)
- it's what my local butcher recommends.
- I phoned up the company that makes the kind I buy, and they listed the ingredients, and I felt good with the list.  I couldn't get an ingredients list for the plastic alternatives.
- It is a great fire starter!
- It composts completely in a couple of months
- I buy a huge roll from the wholesale shop my butcher gets his at, and it is really economical.  
- takes no energy
- just wrap it tight against the food so that all sides have content and it works great!

It's good to get freezer tape to go with it.  Some other tape won't stay stuck in the freezer long term.  

If it's something like Bacon with a strong smell, I like to wrap it in the paper then put a bunch of the packets in a ziplock so the smell doesn't permeate the freezer.  Not that I mind everything smelling of bacon, I just don't like the idea that the bacon might be less bacony.  
 
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Double wrapping with freezer paper works for around 20 months.
 
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My family has always used a plastic bag, much like those ones you find in the produce section of the grocery store.  Then wrap that in butcher paper.  
The real trick is to get all the air out of the bag, usually the meat goes down in one corner.  Give the bag a twist and double it over its self.  Then you place that bundle on a large square of paper, starting in a corner, roll up half way, fold the sides in, finish rolling, last corner gets a nice little fold over and a bit of freezer tape.  Sharpe label.  

If you are doing bone-in, it is much tougher to keep the air out and the items don't seem to keep as well.
But for burger, steaks, stew meat and roasts this method works like a dream.  

You may not care for the use of plastic, but I ate a package of moose burger a few year ago that had been lost in the bottom of one of our large chest freezers.  It was over 3 years old and I could not have told it apart from a package a week old.  Still perfect dark red.  

PS.  another plus for butcher paper is over vac bags, which I do use for fish,  is that in the freezer a package of meat wrapped in paper can get banged around and it wont poke a hole in the plastic letting air in and causing that horrible freezer burn.
 
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thomas rubino wrote:Double wrapping with freezer paper works for around 20 months.


I would agree. This has always worked well for me.
 
C West
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writing an update for those folks who come looking for info in the future:

My first attempt at using freezer paper (brown kraft paper with plasticy coating on one side) to wrap sheep meat went very well.   Reading everyone's advice I went into the task with the focus of wrapping tightly and formed to the shape of the meat to exclude air / not leave any pockets of space.  I utilized my experience working in the artisan cheese world where we wrapped odd shaped cuts of cheese in papery stuff.  So I had the beginners advantage of cross-over skill.  Those cuts have all defrosted and cooked beautifully.

Meat that other people wrapped less tightly are still fine but I think not quite as good.  When I sort through the freezer and hold a loosely wrapped piece I hear/feel the crinkle of frost crystals on the meat.

So my opinion at this point: freezer paper is awesome if the wrap job is done well, and still ok if the wrap job is mediocre.   Also, having a masking tape dispenser/stand makes the process much much easier.
 
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a commercial vacuum sealer is your best bet
 
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