Buying, Storing, and Thawing

Food Safety Practices for Veal

Buying Veal

Look for veal that is creamy pink in color with a fine-grained texture.

If there is fat covering, it should be milky white. There should be very little if any fat marbling. Be careful to choose packages that are cold, tightly wrapped and without punctures or tears. Do not purchase packages that have excessive juice. Remember that there is a proper way to cook each different cut of veal for maximum flavor and tenderness. Be sure to purchase cuts that require cooking methods with which you are comfortable.

Storing Veal

Refrigerate veal in the coldest section of the refrigerator.

It is recommended that you plan to cook the veal within 1 – 2 days. Veal can be frozen and defrosted like any other meat. After purchase, freeze any veal that will not be used within 2 days. Make sure to label and date the packages.

Safe Thawing

There are three safe methods to thaw veal: in the refrigerator; in cold water; and in the microwave.

When thawing in the refrigerator, estimate 4 to 7 hours per pound for a large roast, 3 to 5 hours per pound for a small roast, and about 12 hours for 1-inch thick rib or shoulder chops. Ground veal defrosting time depends on the thickness of the package.

To defrost veal in cold water, do not remove packaging. Be sure the package is airtight or put it into a leakproof bag. Submerge the veal in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes so it continues to thaw. Small packages of veal may defrost in an hour or less: a 3 to 4 pound roast may take 2 to 3 hours. When thawing in cold water or in the microwave immediately cook the veal. Never thaw on the counter or any other locations at room temperature.

Foods defrosted in the microwave or by the cold water method should be cooked before refreezing because they may have been held at temperatures above 40 °F, where bacteria multiply rapidly.

It is safe to cook frozen veal in the oven or on the stove or grill without defrosting. Estimate one-third to one-half more cooking time depending upon the size of the meat. Broil frozen veal farther away from the heat source; preheat the skillet when pan-frying or pan-broiling. Do not cook frozen veal in a slow cooker.

Funded by the Beef Checkoff.