Processed Food DIY: Minced Meat - A How to Guide for Home Cooks

By: Nadia Ashila

Studies from medical professionals have provided links between the consumption of ultra-processed food products and an increased risk of developing cancer and other health ailments. Therefore, based on this research, the consumption of ultra-processed manufactured food products might be a factor to consider when buying food as it pertains to general health.

However, as schedules become increasingly hectic with work, home and family commitments, home cooks may be hindered by time constraints to prepare wholesome and healthy meals from scratch daily. Consequently, home cooks may tend to depend on purchasing processed food products for the sake of convenience and time savings.

If you're a home cook who is gravitated towards the convenience of processed food yet seeking a healthier alternative, the good news is that you can actually enjoy the convenience of access to processed food right in your own refrigerator/freezer while having control of the ingredients that goes into your food by processing your own food right at your own home.

The even better news is that you execute a myriad of recipes by utilising just one ingredient: Minced Meat.

A Spiced Ground Beef Dish called Keema. Recipe/Photo: Yvonne Maffei

A Homemade Meal Consisting of Meatballs. Recipe/Photo: MarocMama

For homemade sausages, if you are unable to find suitable sausage casings or prefer not to use them, a suggestion is to create your own version of Italian-style Skinless Sausages (using any type of meat of your preference should you have dietary restrictions).

Steps:

1) Shape your thawed/unfrozen minced meat mixture into sausage forms.
2) Store the sausages in the freezer temporarily for just the outermost layer to firm up (while keeping the middle unfrozen still) to retain its shape.
3) Pan fry the sausages in a bit of oil or grill them while turning the sausages repeatedly until the sausages are cooked thoroughly.

 

Kitchen Equipment to Assist You:

 

1. Meat Grinder

Photo: REALTREE

Should you prefer to grind your own meat, having a meat grinder in your kitchen can assist you to have control over the exact quantities and quality of meat that you wish to incorporate into your minced meat product. You also have the freedom to experiment with different lean meat to fat ratios for your recipes. Additionally, you can also consider re-purposing your miscellaneous meat scraps (such as excess fat from steaks) by grinding them into your mixtures to reduce food wastage and add flavour.

 

2. Food Processor

The Cuisinart 14-Cup Processor. Photo: Forbes

Similar to a blender (which is commonly used to produce an end product of a liquid consistency such as smoothies), a food processor usually runs on a more powerful motor compared to a blender and is suitable for combining dense ingredients like raw minced meat with flavourings (such as herbs, spices, seasoning, etc) of your choice depending on the recipe.
A food processor is ideal for those who find the task of kneading batches of minced meat with flavourings and other ingredients by hand labourious and time consuming.

 

3. Weighing Scale

The Ozeri Touch II Photo: Top Ten Reviews

A kitchen weighing scale is not only recommended for measuring out specific ingredients for a recipe, it is essential for replicating the same recipe for multiple batches for consistency. Additionally, a weighing scale can come in handy when it comes consistent portion size and weight for your meatballs, patties and sausages as well.

 

Food Storage

Guidelines and Recommendations 

Should you find the task of portioning the  batch of raw processed minced meat into meatballs, patties and sausages unnecessary and labourious prior to storing them, you could opt to store the batch of processed minced meat as is for future use.

This is because you can have the option to decide on what to cook with the stored batch of your own raw processed minced meat product on the occasions you intend to utilize the product to cook.

According to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of SingaporeHere are some guidelines for safely storing food in your refrigerator and freezer.

Additional Food Storage Recommendations:

If you are planning to freeze your own processed food for a few months, it is best label the packaging with the use by date based on the above guidelines to remind yourself for optimum food safety.

Don't Refreeze Thawed Food

The process of freezing does rupture some cell walls in the product and to a certain extent, cause moisture to leach out of your product when thawed. 

Therefore, what will occur when you refreeze a thawed product is that the second freeze will rupture even more cells and cause more moisture loss during the second thaw leaving you with a watery product of compromised quality.

 

Avoid Freezer Burn

It is imperative to protect frozen food, especially raw red meat products from prolonged exposure to air. Your processed meat product is susceptible to be damaged by oxidation and dehydration in the freezer should your packaging fail to be securely air-tight.

If possible, utilize a Vaccum Sealer prior to storing your food.

May you find this guide insightful in the event you require that extra convenience of having homemade, prepackaged and processed minced meat based ingredients at your disposal.

However, do take a break from home cooking once in a while and give yourself a treat at Kava. Kava ensures that their menu items, especially their seafood and meat based products are always prepared and served fresh as it is always best to consume fresh produce. 

If burgers are your go-to comfort food, do try the Kava Beast Burger. 
Fresh (and never frozen) double juicy beef patties, melted cheese, crisp lettuce, caramelized onions and mushrooms. 
Served with steakhouse chips cut by hand by their skilled chefs. SGD$18.00.

The Kava Beast Burger. Instagram Photo: @kavacoffees

 

200 Grams Worth of Fresh Prime Black Angus Sirloin. Instagram Photo: @kavacoffees

 

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