Effect of freezer storage on quality of M. longissimus lumborum from fallow deer (Dama dama L.)
The aim of this study was to analyse changes in the quality of meat (M. longissimus lumborum) from 11 fallow deer (Dama dama L.) bucks, which had been deep-frozen (-26 °C) for 10 months. The proximate chemical composition, physico-chemical properties and sensory properties of the meat were analysed. Fallow deer aged 17–18 months were hunter-harvested in north-eastern Poland in November and December of the same hunting season. The results revealed that freezer storage did not influence the proximate chemical composition of meat (protein, fat, ash) or the content of water-soluble nitrogen compounds. An analysis of the physico-chemical properties of meat revealed that long-term freezer-stored meat was characterized by higher pH, lower contribution of redness (a*) and yellowness (b*), lower chroma (C*), greater natural drip loss, lower ability to bind added water, and greater cooking loss. Freezer storage improved meat tenderness but reduced meat juiciness. The results of the study also indicated that long-term freezer storage (-26 °C) of vacuum-packaged meat allowed it to maintain its good quality, which indicates that this storage method could help meet consumer demand for fallow deer meat between hunting seasons.
Keywords: Freezing, game meat, meat quality, vacuum packaging