Meat is one of those ingredients that freeze well and can be stored in the freezer until you decide that it is time to cook them. But, do you know for how long can you freeze meat? We will tell you in this article!
Although frozen meat lasts much longer than the meat kept in the fridge. You still need to pay close attention to the dates to avoid eating and serving to your family or guests meat that is no longer good and has bacteria in it. Even when frozen, which can led up to severe food poison.
Some types of meats may lose some of its texture and taste after being frozen for too long. But if you took the necessary precaution before freezing your meat and kept it in a temperature of 0°F or even lower. The meat will be safe to eat for many months.
Precautions to take before freezing the meat
Make sure you are purchasing fresh meat from safe places, in packages 100% sealed and with all the government authorizations in it. This precaution needs to be even more severe if you are buying chicken meat.
The best way to freeze meat is to do it with them raw in its original package. It is remarkably simple and easy to do it since the package it comes with is already appropriated to be stored in the freezer.
But, if you feel that the original package is not enough to keep the oxygen out. All you have to do is double wrap the meat original package with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, leaving all the air out of it.
Even though the original meat package comes with an expiration date. It is good to write down the date you froze them so you can track down for how long each type of meat has been in the freezer.
If the original package from the meats comes with a portion too big for you. Then all you need to do is freeze it in separated smaller portions. To make it easier to defrost and use later.
Also, do not refreeze meats that you already defrosted. The freezing and defrosting process should only be done once to avoid the bacteria growth in it.
Frozen meat guideline: how long can you freeze each type of meat
Below we will list a guideline with how long each type of meat can be frozen before losing some of its taste and flavor.
This list is a best practice and recommendation from specialists, but always keep a good eye in the meats frozen in your freezer. If you notice any visible change in the color or texture do not consume it.
- Ground beef: 3-4 months
- Roasts: 4-12 months
- Steaks: 6-12 months
- Cooked beefs: 2 months
- Lean fish: 6-8 months
- Fatty fish: 2-3 months
- Shellfish: 3-6 months
- Cooked fish: 4-6 months
- Smoked fish: 2 months
- Roasts: 4-12 months
- Chops: 4-6 months
- Cooked pork: 2 months
- Whole chicken or whole turkey: 12 months
- Chicken breasts: 2-6 months
- Thighs and wings: 9 months
- Giblets: 3-4 months
- Ground chicken: 3-4 months
How to freeze a chicken? Click here.
How do defrost meat
After you took all the necessary precaution on how to freeze the meat in the best way to increase its duration, the defrosting process is also important and needs to be done with care to avoid any chances of bacteria growth.
The safest and most recommended way to defrost meat is to leave the portion you will need sitting overnight in the fridge. This way the meat will defrost slowly and in a safe temperature.
You can also defrost the meat by putting in the microwave for a few minutes or in the defrost mode that most microwave models have. Be careful not to let in for too long or the meat will start to cook.
Another safe method to defrost meat is by taking the portion you will need from the freezer, remove the original package that the meat was frozen, place it inside a clean and new package with all the air squeezed out of it and place it in a bowl of cold water. One pound of meat will take around 30 minutes to defrost.
Now, if you do not have enough time to those methods mentioned above, you can add the frozen meat directly into the recipe you are making. The frozen meat can be cooked frozen. You will probably just need to adjust the oven or stove time.
The only thing that you should not do is let the meat defrosting in room temperature and in contact with the oxygen. This method will take the meat from its safe temperature and help increase the chances of bacteria growth.
If you want to know how to defrost meat fast. Check this post.
Freezing meat does not stop the bacteria growth, but the low temperatures of the domestic freezers make the process the bacteria growth much slower. So, that is why we freeze meat and how important it is to keep track of how long you can freeze it.
By taking the necessary precaution when purchasing the meat and storing it, you will have frozen meat good to be consumed for many months – remember to write the dates you bought and frozen each type of meat to control the dates and not let anything go bad.
But remember to take a look in the frozen packages every once in a while to see if there were any color or texture changes. If you notice something, do not consume it to avoid food poisoning.
If the defrosting process is also done right, you will have meat that tastes like fresh any time you may need them.
Above we listed the most common types of meat and for how long they can be kept frozen before going bad. This is the recommendation of many professionals and you can use it as a guide for all the meats you may need to freeze in the future.