How long can you keep frozen sausage?
According to a study on freezing and thawing by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, frozen meat can keep for months with no noticeable effect on their taste – but only if it’s frozen and thawed properly.
The key to making any kind of sausage last longer is limiting its exposure to air. If you don’t do this, your meat will develop ‘freezer burn’ due to the oxidation. Freezer burn is what happens when moisture or air touches your food while it’s in the fridge – it appears as brownish spots on your red meat. According to the USDFA, freezer burn doesn’t make your food unsafe to eat, but it makes it dry and tough to chew.
Tips on how to freeze cooked sausages
So you know that excess oxygen is bad for freezing sausages, how can you make sure it stores well?
Keep it separate from raw meat: Mixing the two can increase the risk of cross-contamination, no matter how well both of them are wrapped. According to Betterhealth, it’s best to store raw food underneath cooked food to minimise risk of pathogens dripping onto the cooked product.
Cool, then freeze: If you have some leftover sausage rolls or sausage balls, make sure they cool down before putting them in the freezer. Excess heat can make your food freeze unevenly and can disrupt the ambient temperature of your freezer.
Label and date: If you’re not sure when you’ll reheat your leftover food, labelling and dating them can save you a lot of headaches later. It can also help you distinguish between different meats, like mistaking pork sausages for chicken sausages.
Foil and freezer bags: Double up on your packaging. Ideally, wrap your meat in foil then put it in a freezer bag while squeezing out all the air from it as you seal the package. This way, the excess air won’t touch your food and you’ll stave off freezer burn for longer.
Can you freeze sausage meat stuffing?
Absolutely. The USDA recommends cooling cooked stuffing for about two hours, then putting them in the freezer. If wrapped with airtight packaging, it should last for about 3 to 4 days. You can freeze uncooked stuffing the same way – just follow the rules we’ve outlined above about storing raw food with cooked food to avoid cross contamination.
Reheating and refreezing frozen sausage
Before you reheat your frozen sausage, you need to know how to thaw it properly. According to the ServSafe Coursebook, the best and safest way to do this would be to move it from the freezer into the fridge to let it cool down, then heat. Never thaw meat at room temperature or on the counter – the outer layer of your food will thaw faster than the inside, attracting airborne bacteria and losing freshness. To heat, microwaving your cooked food at high for about three minutes can ensure the entire dish is heated evenly.
If you’re defrosting leftovers, make sure you’ll be eating all of it. While you can definitely refreeze food if it’s frozen and thawed safely, the process can affect their texture, taste, and colour, according to the USFDA. There’s also no guarantee you’ll be able to reseal it as well as you did the first time, which according to the USFDA can increase your risk of food poisoning.
Cook, store, and freeze
Make sure your sausages are wrapped properly before putting them in the fridge. Limit their exposure to air, thaw them correctly, and according to USFDA, it can last beyond the use-by date.