Have you ever wondered while buying frozen meat whether frozen meat is heavier than thawed meat? Or perhaps you saw some difference in weight on your kitchen scale in the weight of meat and are curious what could be the reason behind it?
Frozen meat is heavier than when you defrost the meat or thaw it. The reason behind this is the air trapped in the frozen meat. Along with this, the ice on the meat makes it heavier.
Do you want to understand in detail the reason why thawed meat weighs less than frozen meat? Keep reading to learn more
Water Content in Meat
Different cuts of meat have different amounts of water content in them occurring naturally. The muscle portion of the meat contains around 75% water of the total mass.
Although the water content even in the muscle mass may slightly vary depending on the type of muscle, the type of meat, and the acidic content of the meat. For instance, white meat chicken with skin contains around 70% of natural water content and the eye of a round steak contains around 73% of water content.
Along with this, you will also observe that leaner meat options will have more water content than regular meat.
Other than the naturally occurring meat, some water is absorbed by the meat tissues when they are washed during processing and packaging. Meat processing units will usually wash the red meat to keep the moisture locked in and prevent the meat from drying up.
Some of the water also gets absorbed by the meat through a process in which meat is moved around in a large vat of chilled water. During this process mostly the poultry meat like chicken and turkey meat will absorb some water.
Why Frozen Meat is Heavier Than Thawed Meat?
Whenever any meat is frozen during packaging, the natural water content or the water absorbed during the processing stage turns into ice crystals. The frozen water increases the overall weight of the meat.
Along with this, both the natural water content and the externally present water turns into ice crystals. These ice crystals can tend to puncture the cell walls of the meat.
When meat is thawed or defrosted, the punctured cells will leak and exude the inner water content. The liquidation of outer ice crystals and the cell leak amount to an overall loss of weight of around 10-15%.
While these are the most common reasons why frozen meat seems heavier than thawed meat, another reason is the presence of air pockets in the meat. These air pockets absorb more water which is during processing, and later on get frozen during the freezing process. This is also the reason why frozen meat weighs more than thawed meat.
Changes in Meat When Thawed
Whenever you defrost meat it undergoes certain physical and chemical changes. As the thawing takes place, the muscle proteins in the meat get converted to sugar. This conversion process releases water which makes these muscle proteins more gelatinous. They also tend to lose their viscosity.
Another change that occurs is in the surface tension of the liquid which surrounds the cells of the meat. When the meat is thawed, the value of the surface tension of this liquid comes down. This in turn reduces the friction on the cells. You will therefore observe that this prevents the thawed meat from tearing up when you are cooking any meat dish.
How to Determine the Cooking Time of Meat?
When you are cooking meat, you need to take into account the time it will take to cook the thawed meat. There is a possibility when you are trying to calculate the cooking time based on the weight of the frozen meat that your meat stays undercooked or raw.
Refreezing Thawed Meat
There can be times when you use only some quantity of frozen meat. In such scenarios, you may need to store the rest of the meat by refreezing it.
For these occasions, I suggest that you cook your meat before you refreeze it and store it. This will build up bacteria on the surface of the meat.
In case you are freezing any leftover meat preparations, it is advisable that you do it only once. Constantly reheating and refreezing the meat will make it unsafe for consumption.
Storage of Frozen Meat
It is crucial to set the freezer at the right temperature. Make it too cold and your meat will lose its chewy texture, and when not set at the right cooling temperature, the meat will start thawing and will become stale soon.
The ideal temperature to store frozen meat is between 27 degrees Fahrenheit and 33 degrees Fahrenheit.
Price of Frozen and Thawed Meat
When buying meat it is important to note that the price of the meat is determined by the weight of the meat at the time of packaging. Thus, the price of thawed meat and frozen meat would vary significantly based purely on the type and weight of the meat.
Does Freezing Affect the Nutritional Value of Meat?
No, freezing meat does not usually affect the nutritional value of the meat to a great extent. Usually, the nutritional value of protein remains intact. Along with this minerals such as phosphorus and iron are also retained. The only loss is found in water-soluble vitamins like Vitamin C and Vitamin B if stored for a long time.
What Is the Shelf-life of Frozen Meat?
The shelf-life of frozen meat depends completely on the type of meat in question. For instance, frozen chicken breasts can last up to 6 months, whereas frozen pork meat stays in good condition only for up to 2 months. While storing meat at home for a longer duration, it is advisable to read the packaging instructions well.
To sum it up, frozen meat does weigh more than thawed meat. You can always refreeze thawed meat again. Though there is not much loss in the overall nutrient value of the meat, the prices can vary a bit.
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