Freezing and thawing meat can be a little intimidating. However, this article will cover all the rules of thawing, freezing, and refreezing so you don’t have to worry. But how exactly do you freeze cooked sausage safely?
To best freeze cooked sausage, you let the sausage cool completely before placing it into a freezer-safe container and dating it.
Keep reading to figure out the difference between freezing raw and cooked sausage, how to thaw sausage, and if refreezing sausage is a good idea.
How to Freeze Cooked Sausage
Freezing sausage is easy, only taking a few steps. It doesn’t matter if you have ground, chopped, or linked sausage, they are simple to store and freeze.
- Let Cool. The first step is to make sure that the sausages are completely cooled before freezing. This will allow them to freeze faster without sitting too long in a warm temperature and growing bacteria.
- Place Sausage in a Container. Freezer bags, plastic wrap, tin foil, or plastic food saver tins are all acceptable ways to freeze your cooked sausages. Use whatever works best for the type of sausage and freezer space you have.
- Date or Label Your Sausage. It is always important to date your food in the freezer so you know what items need to be used first and how long they have been in there.
And that’s it. Just make sure your sausages are completely sealed and they should be good to go.
How Long Can Cooked Sausage Stay Frozen?
Cooked sausage can keep for about three months in the freezer. After that, they may start to get freezer burned, which can ruin the taste and texture. It is best to use it before that just to maintain quality. Food that is always frozen will never technically go bad, but it can lose its quality quickly after those three months.
Can You Freeze Fresh Sausage?
Raw sausage is almost as easy to freeze as cooked sausage.
- Remove from the package it was bought in. Raw sausage is stored in containers with absorbent pads, which are to soak up any naturally occurring liquids that come from the meat. They are made to keep meat fresh in the store. However, when freezing, there is no need for this packet, and some people may forget about it later when going to cook the sausage. So it is best to take it out before freezing.
- Place Sausage in a Container. Same as with the cooked sausage, place your raw sausage into some form of air-tight, and freezer-safe container. Whether this is a bag, plastic tub, foil, or plastic wrap doesn’t matter as long as it is fully covered and fits in your freezer.
- Date or Label your Sausage. Make sure you date your sausage with the date you put it in the freezer so that you know which food you need to use first, and how long they’ve been in there.
How Long Can Fresh Sausage Stay Frozen?
Like with cooked sausage, raw sausage can theoretically stay edible forever if kept constantly frozen. However, for the best quality, it is recommended that fresh sausage only stay frozen for one to two months.
How to Defrost Sausage
There are three safe ways to defrost sausages, to reduce the risk of bacteria growing. These methods work for
- In the Fridge. This is the safest way to do it, but it also takes the longest. If you know you are going to make sausage, try and take it out of the freezer the night before. This will allow it to thaw while never getting up to warm temperatures. However, depending on how much sausage you are trying to thaw at one time, this can take up to 24 hours. However, you don’t have to cook your sausage as soon as they thaw this way.
- In the Microwave. This is good for thawing things in a hurry. It can take just a few minutes to have everything nice and thawed.
- Stick the sausage in the microwave in a microwave-safe container
- Cover with plastic wrap or a paper towel
- Set microwave on lowest setting or defrost setting if available
- Cook in 2-minute intervals
- Separate sausage when possible, and rotate between intervals
- Cook until fully thawed through
Try to heat the sausage until it is thawed, but not cooked, if you are using raw sausage. Microwaved meat can lose taste and flavor, and may cause your sausage to be overcooked. Once your sausages are thawed, cook immediately to avoid any bacterial growth.
3. In Water. Letting your sausage thaw in water can take an hour or two, depending on how much you are thawing. This one is the hardest to monitor due to how long it takes, and if not properly watched, can grow dangerous bacteria. Once the meat is thawed, they have about 4 hours before they are considered unsafe for consumption.
- Take a large bowl or pot and fill it with water.
- Water around 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius) or a little colder is best. This allows your water to effectively transfer heat to your frozen sausage, without cooking the meat or putting it into dangerous temperatures.
- Place your container of sausages into the water and let sit. It is recommended you change the water about every 30 minutes to allow for optimal thawing.
Can You Refreeze Cooked Sausage?
It is not recommended you refreeze cooked sausage at all. By refreezing meat, after you have cooked it, you risk a huge loss in taste and texture.
If for some reason you have no other choice, you can refreeze it only if you had thawed the sausage in the fridge. If you thawed it out using the other two methods, then you risk dangerous bacteria staying on the meat.
Even in the fridge, the USDA says that if it has been thawing for more than 36 hours, it is better to toss the meat than refreeze.
Can You Refreeze Fresh Sausage?
Refreezing raw sausage works very similarly to cooked sausage. If it was thawed in the microwave or water, the USDA says not to refreeze it. If your sausage is in the fridge thawing for more than 36 hours, it should also be tossed.
However, If the sausage was thawed in the freezer for less than 36 hours, then you can refreeze raw sausage once. Some people don’t recommend this if you buy meat from a grocery store, as it is very likely the meat was already frozen once.
Freezing and thawing sausage is a little complicated, as there are many rules to follow to ensure your meat is safe. However, make sure you date the sausage in the freezer and only thaw it out when it is needed and in the fridge is the best option. This will reduce the risk of bacteria as well as maintain the quality of your sausages.