Preparing meat for freezing

Donna R. Raybon

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Erring upon the side of caution would be my course of action. Among friends and family more than one has burned up a compressor on freezer trying to put too much unfrozen product in it at one time. That was always the big plus that meat processor had hard frozen our beef before we picked it up. Although when corn, tomatoes, okra, etc... was in, we would push it hard as we put up what we ate in winter. At the homeplace now, there are three large uprights and one chest full of beef and garden produce. When Blizzard of '93 hit, my mother could not understand why the news kept covering all the strange things people were eating to get by. I explained not everyone had three huge chest freezers full of garden produce, beef, chicken, etc... The generator kept power on, the wood stove kept us warm, and we ate well. Although we only were without power from about midnight Friday to 7 pm Sunday. A lot of those around us were without for several weeks.
 

KittyHawk

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We have been butchering and freezing rabbits for a couple of years now.
What is the benefit of allowing them to cool? I hadn't heard that before.

Thanks!


Just to add my 2 cents: I have never brined in 30 years of processing rabbit. If you go past the 12 week stage into 16+ weeks, I would recommend roasting or crock pot, as they are called roasters vs. fryers at that age.

After getting down to the clean carcass, I immediately take down from where I had it hanging and goes into a dish tub of icy salt water just to flash cool. The salt is concentrated up to a brine percentage, but used to help it bleed out some. After I get the next rabbit to the clean carcass stage, I take the previous carcass out of the salt water and put it in a chest cooler with ice, kinda like if fishing.

Once all are clean to the carcass stage and on ice, I carry the cooler in and keep on ice overnight. The following day I rinse each carcass under coold tap water and work out the rigor a bit, and quarter. I place the quatered rabbit in a gallon ziploc and refrigerate overnight until third day. I usually get sufficient drainage during this stage.

I fully process and pat dry each piece before packaging in butcher paper for freezer. I know shrink wrap is more efficient for freezer burn and longevity in freezer, but I don't have one, and mine have done well in butcher paper. Once a complete rabbit has been papered, I put the pieces back in a freezer gallon ziploc and date it.

I have not noticed a taste or texture/tenderness difference between fresh butchered/process and fry that same day vs. going through my process for cooling in salt water, draining and cooling in cooler, and draining/cooling in fridge before papering and freezing.

As I said, just my two cents :)

Addendum: I generally process 6-10 at a time since I do not have refrigeration dedicated to this process. Jill loves it when I fill the bottom of our fridge with bags of rabbit. Haha
 
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