Can I use previously frozen meat to make sausage or jerky?
Yes… Freezing is one of the most effective methods of preserving meat. It almost completely inactivates meat enzymes and inhibits the growth of microorganisms which cause spoilage.
Meat should be quick frozen at a temperature of at least-20°C.
The actual freezing temperature for most meats is approximately -2°C. Meat cells contain 65 – 75% water which will form crystals when frozen. The degree of crystallization and the size of the crystals will vary with the speed of freezing. Slow freezing causes the water to separate into pools. This, in turn, creates large crystals that may stretch and rupture some of the meat cells. Upon thawing, water from the ruptured cells will drain away resulting in the loss of proteins, vitamins and other nutrients.
Slowly frozen meat has a less acceptable level of hydration after thawing. With rapid freezing there is very little water separation thus, in fast-frozen meats, the crystals are smaller and less destructive. Fast frozen meat can be thawed and refrozen without any loss of quality. Caution must be exercised when thawing and refreezing meat to ensure microbial growth does not occur and that there is no cross-contamination. Thawing must take place in a refrigerated area with a temperature of 4°C or lower if food safety is to be maintained.