Food Safety Issues/freezing tomato meat sauce

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Question
I make my sauce using canned tomatoes(paste,sauce,crushed,diced,whole). The meat I use is store bought pork neck bones. My process of cooking the sauce starts with heating olive oil,adding onions(10 min.),add meat (cook until browned), add jarred garlic(1 min.) stir in paste, add the remaining cans of tomato. I cook this until the meat has fallen off the bones( this can take 8-12 hrs). Then I cool the sauce as quick as possible( easier in the winter. Out in the garage). I then remove all the bone fragments by hand and fill vacuum seal bags(1 qt.) and freeze.
  Is this a safe method, any suggestions, how long will they keep?

Answer
Hi Mark,

Your process sounds safe as long as the cooling process (which you indicated often happens in the garage during the winter) brings the temperature of the food to 41 degrees F within 6 hours.  You need to drop the temperature to 70 degrees within 2 hours and then you have an additional 4 hours to get it to 41.  When the sauce is cool, fill your vacuum sealed bags and freeze.

The freezer recommendation for meat sauce is to store up to 3 months for highest quality.  This recommendation is based on standard freezer packaging.  Since you are freezing in vacuum sealed packages, you can expect to increase this recommendation to 3 to 5 times longer, or 9 to 15 months before the quality will begin to decline. Continually frozen products are safe -- it's the quality that deteriorates the longer it is left in the freezer.

Carol  

Food Safety Issues

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Carol Schlitt

Expertise

I can answer questions on home food safety, sanitation and home food preservation.

Experience

I am a former Extension educator, nutrition, wellness and food safety, having retired August 1, 2010. I am a food safety instructor for the Illinois Department of Public Health, a ServSafe Instructor/Proctor and have my own company, Safe & Savory Solutions, Inc - www.safeandsavorysolution.com

Organizations
National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (Past President and current Historian), St. Louis Culinary Society.

Education/Credentials
BS - University of Illinois MS - Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

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