I was recently gifted with a lot of ground beef when a friend's freezer died. (Thank you, SE!) I spent the next two days preparing it in several ways. I pressure-canned a canner-load, made two batches of meatballs, and then cooked the rest, divided it into meal-size portions, and froze it. Hubby and I usually use 3/4 pound of precooked ground beef at a time.
I start by adding water to a big pot and bringing it to a boil. A couple of inches of water will do. Then I add the beef. My pot is only big enough to do two pounds at once, but if you have a large enough pot you can cook five pounds at a time.
Stir the ground meat with a large spoon soon after you add it to the water. If you want finer meat, stir it often and smoosh the pieces. If you like bigger chunks (which would be better in chili than fine pieces, in my opinion), don't stir quite as often or as vigorously.
The meat will cook quite quickly, but the length of time will depend on the temperature of your stove so I can't tell you how long to boil it. You'll know when it's done when it's no longer pink.
Pour into a strainer. DO NOT POUR THE WATER AND FAT DOWN YOUR SINK DRAIN! I set my strainer inside a large bowl to catch the broth. Since I was cooking a large quantity in several batches, I just reused the water. I saved the broth and poured it into Cracker's bowl.
You can run the strainer under hot water to help wash off any remaining fat (although this was lean enough for us), then under cold water to cool it down before freezing it.
That's it! Wasn't it easy? Now just package the meat for the freezer in containers or freezer bags. Don't forget to label them with the contents, amount, and date. And remember to rotate your frozen foods. You're not saving money if you're throwing food away because it's too old or freezer-burned, right?
(NOTE: I've been asked a few times about the yield from boiling ground beef. Reader Margaret told me this: "I boiled approximately 1.5 pounds of 80% lean ground chuck and got 4 cups of beef crumbles. So I believe 3/4 lb would yield 2 cups of beef crumbles." Thank you, Margaret.)
You might also enjoy:
Homemade Convenience Food series
Make Your Own Chili Seasoning
Make Your Own Taco Seasoning
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