How Long Can We Store Meat In Freezer
How Long Can We Store Meat In Freezer. Photo KnowInsiders

In busy lives, most of us store meat in the refrigerator. This is considered a simple and time-saving storage.

The problem is that if you don't know how to properly preserve meat, the nutrients will be lost. We might make meat accidentally become "poison" to human health.

One of the extremely wrong habits that can lead to cancer today is eating meat that has been kept in the refrigerator for a long time. Not only 1-2 days, or a week, many people have the habit of storing meat for months or years. Even it is poorly preserved, many still take it out to eat normally.

What harmful effects can be caused from long-time meat storage in freezer?

According to experts, the longer meat is kept in the freezer, the more nutrients it will lose. Therefore, keeping meat for up to half a year will not only reduce the value of meat but also easily cause many diseases. If left for too long, the meat will easily cause food poisoning, or the eater might suffer from abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, high fever.

What bacteria grow on food?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines for refrigeration and food safety, there are two kinds of bacteria that can grow on your food:

Pathogenic bacteria. These are especially dangerous as they cause foodborne illness. They grow rapidly in unrefrigerated foods and can’t usually be detected by how a food looks, tastes, or smells.

Spoilage bacteria. These develop and grow as food spoils. They do change the taste, look, and smell of your food. However, they’re far less likely to actually make you sick.

How long can we store raw meat in freezer?

Photo spruce news
Photo spruce news

If kept in the fridge, it should only be 2 days. With processed meat, it can be kept for 3-5 days. Meat that is not stored in the freezer, but left in the refrigerator for too long, will also generate harmful bacteria with nutrition and flavor lost.

Depending on the type of meat, the time to store food in the refrigerator will vary to keep the nutrients in the meat. Specifically, when stored in the freezer compartment at a temperature of -18 degrees, meats will be preserved for the maximum time as follows:

- Pork ribs: 4-6 months.

- Ground pork: 3-4 months.

- Beef tenderloin: 6-12 months.

- Beef ribs: 4-6 months.

- Sliced chicken: 6 months.

- Whole chicken: 12 months.

- Fried breaded chicken: 1-3 months.

- Venison: 3-4 months.

- Sausage: 1-2 months.

READ MORE: Eat Less Beef or Red Meat for a Longer Life

Is freezer burnt meat safe to eat?

Contrary to popular belief, if your meat (or frozen food in general) develops freezer burn, it’s actually not unsafe to eat. It may not taste great, but just cut the freezer-burned areas off either pre- or post-cooking and enjoy the remainder of your meal. If it is heavily freezer-burned though, the quality will most likely be compromised and you may want to toss it.

How long can we store cooked meat in freezer?

Similar to raw meat, processed meat has a different shelf life for different types of meat.

- Roasted pork: 4-12 months.

- Roasted beef: 12 months.

- Grilled chicken: 4 months.

- Bacon: 3-4 months.

- Ham: 2 months.

- Seasoned grilled meats: 4-6 months.

How long meat can be refrigerated depends on many different factors. However, if stored properly, meat can be safely stored for 2 to 6 months, even up to 12 months.

How can you tell if meat is safe to eat?

First and foremost, trust your senses. Fresh meat should be stored in a refrigerator at 40 F or below. Pay attention to "packed on" or "use by" dates to make sure you are using meat while it's fresh. Meat should have a good, bright color (not gray), should be moist and fresh to the touch (not sticky or tacky), and most of all, trust your nose—often meat that is spoiling will have a strong odor.

"We recommend using fresh, paper-wrapped meats within three to four days of purchase. If meats are vacuum sealed, you want to use or freeze them within two weeks of the 'packed on' date."

Storage Tips

Photo medical news today
Photo medical news today

- To store raw meat in the refrigerator, you should clean it before putting it in the freezer. Care should be taken to cover the meat with several layers, to prevent the meat from being too frozen, leading to dehydration or changing the color and taste of the meat.

- The temperature in the refrigerator must be kept at a stable level (about -18 degrees Celsius for the freezer, 2-4 degrees Celsius in the cooler) to keep the nutrients in the meat intact.

- For cooked meats, it is recommended to vacuum or use plastic wrap before storing meat in the refrigerator.

- Do not place raw meat and cooked meat close together when storing in the refrigerator because this can cause bacteria to spread quickly, making the meat spoil faster.

- Meat should be divided into small portions just enough servings to save time when defrosting as well as preserve the freshness of unused meat.

How to store canned food?

In the world of safe food storage, canned food is a real boon. It provides many affordable and long-lasting options. According to USDA guidelines, you can keep canned food for two to five years, whether it’s fish, poultry, pork, or beef.

Commercially canned food is placed in a sterile, vacuum-sealed container and heat processed at 250°F (121°C). This process kills microorganisms, halts enzymes from forming, and prevents new bacteria from entering the stored food.

Things can, however, go wrong. Sometimes canned food can be damaged during the manufacturing process or become badly rusted. If your canned food is heavily rusted or damaged, you’ll definitely want to discard it. You’ll also want to get rid of any canned food that’s bulging or smells bad. It might be a sign of C. botulinum, a bacterium that can cause a deadly form of food poisoning. Botulism is incredibly rare, especially in commercially canned foods. But there’s a risk of it developing in foods canned improperly at home.

Once in your home, you’ll definitely want to make sure to store canned food properly. That means keeping canned food somewhere that’s cool, dry, and dark, ideally below 85°F (29°C) and no higher than 100°F (38°C). Never keep canned food somewhere that’s damp or hot, like under the sink or next to the stove.

Once you open canned food, bacteria can begin to grow, so you’ll want to quickly refrigerate and store any unused portion. According to the USDA, you can safely put your leftover canned food right into the fridge. In order to preserve taste and flavor, it’s recommended that you refrigerate any unused portion in a separate, clean storage container.

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