Storing pork chops in the freezer is a useful way to preserve the meat and save it for a future meal.
Fresh pork chops will typically only last three to five days in the refrigerator while keeping pork chops in the freezer can allow them to last indefinitely. If you want the tastiest pork chops, they should be frozen for no longer than four to six months.
Here you can discover how to freeze both raw and cooked pork chops, how long they will last in the freezer, and how to defrost them safely.
How to Freeze Raw Pork Chops
If you have bought a packet of raw pork chops and you don’t expect to use them before the use-by date on the packaging, then freezing them will preserve them until the time comes when you want to cook and eat them. Pork chops can be frozen in their original plastic packaging, simply by putting them right in the freezer.
If you have opened a bulk pack of pork chops and want to freeze some of them, you can use a ziploc freezer bag to store the meat and remove as much air as possible before sealing. It’s a good idea to label your pork chop packages with the current date so you will know how long they have been frozen for.
Although pork chops will remain safe to eat indefinitely when stored in the freezer, they will be in their best condition when they have been frozen for no more than four to six months. After this point, the meat can start to lose its taste and texture.
Can You Freeze Cooked Pork Chops?
If you have cooked more pork chops than your guests can eat, they don’t need to go to waste. Pork chops that have been cooked can be frozen, and then defrosted and warmed up again when you want to eat them.
How to Freeze Cooked Pork Chops?
To freeze cooked pork chops, you first need to allow them to cool to room temperature. If you put pork chops in the freezer when they are still warm, condensation will form as they cool, and this will freeze and lead to freezer burn, which ruins the meat. Once the meat has cooled down, you’ll need to put the pork chops in airtight storage, such as a freezer bag.
Make a note of the date on the packaging before you freeze them. Cooked pork chops will start to lose flavor and texture quicker in the freezer compared to those which are raw when frozen. This is because a lot of moisture content is lost during cooking, and the meat continues to lose moisture when frozen. The cooked pork chops will be best when they have been frozen for no more than two to three months.
Can Pork Chops be Frozen After Thawing?
If you have frozen and defrosted your pork chops ready to use but then have realized you don’t yet need them, they can be frozen again. In fact, there is no limit on the length of times you can freeze, defrost and refreeze pork chops, as long as you do so safely.
You should be aware that the integrity of the pork chops is going to diminish slightly each time you thaw and refreeze them, so if you want the meat to still taste delicious once cooked, try not to repeat this process too many times.
How to Defrost Pork Chops
When you’re ready to use your frozen pork chops, it’s important to know how to defrost them safely, so you don’t cause any food-related illnesses.
Defrost in the refrigerator
The safest and most foolproof method for defrosting pork chops is in the refrigerator. You can move the pork chops straight from the freezer to the refrigerator and leave them for 24 hours, after which time they will have thawed and be ready for cooking.
The refrigerator ensures that the pork chops don’t reach an unsafe temperature while defrosting, therefore keeping bacteria at bay. If you plan to eat your frozen pork chops for a meal, you’ll just need to remember to move them from the freezer to the refrigerator the previous day.
Defrost in the microwave
If you need to defrost pork chops in a hurry, you can do so in a microwave. Use the defrost setting for a minute at a time, checking on the pork chops until they are thoroughly thawed but not cooked.
Defrost in cool water
To defrost pork chops quickly without a microwave, you can use the cool water method. Leave the pork chops in their freezer bag, and put the bag in a bowl full of cold water from the tap for 30 minutes. If the pork is still frozen, pour the water away and replace it with fresh cool water and leave for another 30 minutes. Pork chops tend to defrost quite quickly using this method, so you shouldn’t need more than an hour in total.
Defrost on the countertop
Meat, including pork chops, should never be defrosted on the countertop. The temperature of the meat can get too warm during this process, which encourages the development of dangerous bacteria, making the pork chops unsafe to eat.
Do Pork Chops Have to be Defrosted?
We’ve all faced the scenario of looking in the refrigerator and realizing we don’t have anything fresh to cook. If you have pork chops in the freezer, the good news is you can actually cook these from frozen without having to wait to defrost them. As pork chops are quite small cuts of meat, cooking them from frozen can work well.
They can be thrown right onto the barbecue or grill or put under the broiler. You will need to adjust your cooking time slightly, with frozen pork chops taking around 50% longer to cook compared with thawed or fresh pork chops. Take care to ensure the meat is cooked all the way through before serving.