If you are a fan of pork chops, and like to stock up, freezing can keep them safe to eat indefinitely. But safe doesn't always mean fresh, so when it comes to freezer storage, it is important to understand that quality degrades over time. The taste and texture of pork chops can change, depending on whether they were cooked or raw before freezing, or whether you wrapped them well enough to endure the deep freeze.
Raw pork chops keep in the freezer for four to six months before quality diminishes. Store the pork chops in their original packaging when freezing. Freezing for two months or less requires no additional wrapping. To store the pork chops longer, wrap the original packaging with heavy-duty aluminum foil, freezer wrap or plastic wrap or slip the package of pork chops in a plastic freezer bag.
Cooked pork chops stay good in the freezer for approximately two to three months before quality begins to suffer. Wrap any leftover pork chops in heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer wrap before putting them in the freezer. Shallow freezing containers also work well for freezer storage. If the pork chops are still warm, put them in the refrigerator in the shallow container to cool before transferring them to the freezer.
Thaw your frozen pork chops in the refrigerator the night before you need them. It takes approximately 12 to 14 hours to defrost a 1-inch-thick pork chop. It is also safe to thaw raw pork chops in cold water -- wrapped in an airtight bag -- as long as you change the water every 30 minutes. Thawing raw and cooked pork chops in the microwave is also possible, using the defrost button or medium-low setting, according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Cook raw pork chops immediately after microwave defrosting or defrosting in cold water because they are exposed to room temperature long enough to develop bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses. Thorough cooking is essential to kill bacteria and whether you are reheating or cooking pork chops for the first time, the internal temperature of the pork should reach 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Press a meat thermometer into the pork to ensure doneness.
- Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images