Fresh-frozen – the correct way to freeze meat
Maintaining the highest possible quality
Many people equal freshness of food with the best possible quality. This does not necessarily apply to meat. After all, (vacuum-packed) meat attains its optimal level of tenderness after an ageing period of approximately 30 days (depending on the product); at the same time, the quality of the meat also reaches its zenith.
It is best to fresh-freeze the meat at this point, i.e. rapidly freeze it to a temperature of approx. -30 degrees Celsius, to maintain this ideal quality in the long term. The fresh-freezing procedure transforms the cellular water into minuscule ice crystals, which protect the tissue and maintain the texture of the food product (it also works for fruit and vegetable). The natural decomposition process already stops at a temperature of -18°, and the nutrients, flavour and succulence of the meat remain intact. While freezing meat used to be somewhat taboo in the past – the required technology was still heavily underdeveloped –, the fresh-freezing method is excellently suited for gently preserving sensitive food products over extended periods of time.
The technique is similarly suitable for seasonal products that are in demand throughout the year. Ibérico pork, for example. Fresh-freezing ensures that the pigs are awarded the “bellota grade” seal of approval after being fed with the famous montanera feeding method, provided that they are slaughtered between January and March.
As a principle: the better and rarer a product, the more likely it is to be sold fresh-frozen.