So to procure an excessive amount of meat throughout your final grocery run and determined to stash a few of it within the freezer till a later date. However then you definitely neglect all about it—till months later, while you discover these rooster breasts, turkey burgers or skirt steaks hidden at the back of your freezer.
You suppose to your self:How lengthy does meat final within the freezer—and might I nonetheless eat what I have been storing in mine for, like, ever?” Properly, the excellent news is you can just about maintain frozen meat round indefinitely and it will nonetheless be secure, based on the US Division of Agriculture (USDA). Phew!
booout…we do have a little bit of unhealthy information to share. Simply because frozen meat will not go unhealthy, per say, does not imply it’s going to all the time style good when you resolve to thaw it out and grill, sear or pan-fry it. Because the USDA notes, the standard of frozen meals decreases over time. Womp, womp.
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By no means worry: We’re right here that will help you decide the perfect period of time to retailer each sort of meat (and fish!) within the freezer, based mostly on pointers set by the Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) and different meals security consultants.
Plus, we have additionally obtained you coated with tips about how you can retailer meat to protect as a lot freshness as potential. No grey, rubbery rooster breasts or bland, hard-to-chew steaks on our watch!
How Lengthy Does Meat Final within the Freezer, Actually?
Prepping for Thanksgiving upfront? Uncooked entire chickens and turkeys may be saved within the freezer for as much as a 12 months. Uncooked items of rooster or turkey (like breasts, thighs or wings) can final within the freezer for as much as 9 months, in the meantime.
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Beef, veal and lamb
Need to save these New York strips or veal chops for a TBD special day? You possibly can maintain uncooked steaks, chops, and roasts within the freezer for anyplace from 4 to 12 months.
Uncooked pork is just like beef, veal, and lamb—varieties like chops and roasts may be saved for 4 to 12 months within the freezer. Processed pork merchandise have barely completely different pointers, although. Issues produced from pork—like scorching canines, sausage, deli ham and bacon—must be saved for just one to 2 months within the freezer.
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Venison (deer meat)
Ever questioned, “How lengthy does deer meat final within the freezer?” Properly, we have the reply. In response to the Minnesota Division of Agriculture, correctly wrapped uncooked venison (aka deer) may be saved within the freezer for 9 to 12 months.
Whether or not you are stockpiling floor meat to make hamburgers at an upcoming BBQ or to fill shells on Taco Tuesday, know this: Floor beef, rooster, turkey, pork, lamb, veal, or any combo of those components will keep recent within the freezer for 3 to 4 months.
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The freezer storage pointers for fish depend upon the kind of fish. Fatty varieties, like salmon, tuna and mackerel, may be saved for 2 to 3 months within the freezer. Lean white fish, like cod, flounder, halibut and sole, will final you longer—six to eight months. Different lean fish, like pollock, ocean perch and sea trout may be saved for 4 to eight months.
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The freezer shelf lifetime of shellfish additionally varies. Contemporary crab or lobster meat may be stashed within the freezer for 2 to 4 months. Shucked clams, mussels, oysters and scallops may be saved for 3 to 4 months. Shrimp, crayfish and squid will maintain their high quality longer and may be saved for six to 18 months within the freezer.
Oh, and we all know you were not truly pondering of doing this, but it surely’s price mentioning simply as an FYI: The FDA would not advocate freezing dwell shellfish, like lobsters, crabs or clams. Sorry!
Left over and cooked meat
If you happen to’re an avid meal prepper who likes to batch cook dinner, you are in luck: You possibly can retailer soups and stews containing meat for 2 to 3 months within the freezer. Cooked poultry and other forms of cooked meat will keep good for 2 to 6 months, whereas rooster patties or nuggets may be saved for one to 3 months.
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The Proper Approach To Retailer Frozen Meat
Set your freezer to the perfect temperature
brrrr! At all times retailer meat at 0 levels Fahrenheit or decrease within the freezer to make sure security. In response to the USDA, a temp of 0°F kills micro organism, yeast and mildew in meals.
Wrap your meat correctly
When you can throw meat into your freezer in its authentic packaging, it isn’t the most effective concept when you’re enthusiastic about preserving it within the freezer for a chronic interval.
As a substitute, the USDA suggests wrapping meat in additional substantial packaging, like foil, plastic wrap or freezer paper, to protect freshness. You possibly can freeze unopened, vacuum-sealed meat as is.
Be fast about freezing
Hurry! Thawed meat will style yummiest when you freeze it at peak high quality. So wrap it and retailer it in your freezer ASAP. Enjoyable reality: A two-inch piece of meat must be fully frozen in about two hours.
And based on the USDA, it’s best to completely use a freezer’s “quick-freeze” shelf if it has one. That is as a result of quickly freezing meals helps stop ice crystals from forming. These ice crystals may cause meat to lose juiciness in the course of the thawing course of. No thanks!
Unfold your meat out
The USDA advises towards stacking frozen packages so your meat can absolutely freeze. So unfold your wrapped items of meat out in a single layer. You possibly can stack them after they’re fully frozen if you have to save area.
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