Pork fares best in the freezer if packaged with freezer-friendly materials like waxed paper, aluminum foil, or heavy-duty plastic bags.
Wrap any meat tightly so that air does not escape and freeze at 0°F. Generally, fresh cuts of pork can last up to six months, while ground pork can last up to three.
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Pork is easiest to thaw when placed in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. Small roasts will take three to five hours per pound, while larger roasts can take up to seven hours per pound. Thawing ground pork depends entirely on the thickness of its packaging.
It is safe to cook frozen or partially-frozen pork, but its cooking time may take 50 percent longer. Frozen pork should not be cooked in a slow cooker.
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Sealed pork products can typically last in the fridge for two to four days, with ground pork having a slightly shorter shelf life at one to three. Ham or other smoked pork products like bacon can be stored for up to a week, though this only applies to products that aren’t vacuum sealed or prepared with preservatives. The latter can obviously last a lot longer.
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Pork tenderloin is one of the most versatile cuts of lean meat out there: It agrees with just about any kind of herb or spice and pairs well with most side dishes you put on the table. Here, dried oregano and thyme are rubbed on the pork, which is then browned on the stovetop and finished in the oven with sliced fresh figs and pears added to the pan. As the fruit roasts with the pork, it creates a sweet-savory compote that, when served with some steamed wild rice, turns an ordinary meal into an elegant fall dinner. This dish also pairs wonderfully with Roasted Butternut Squash.
What to buy: If you can’t find fresh figs or they aren’t in season, substitute an additional pear or a crisp apple like a Granny Smith, Pink Lady, or Gravenstein.