D’you Think You Store Meat Right? We Will Prove You’re Doing It Wrong!

How to keep the meaty foods fresh longer and more handy things for you

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on How to keep the meaty foods fresh longer and more handy things for you

What do we know about storing meat? Probably, only that it must be kept cool and frozen if we are not planning to make use of it in the nearest future.

So why do many of us face the problem of meat spoiling faster than we expected? We know the reason, and what is more important, we know what to do to forget about that problem once and for all!

Join us, it’s gonna be interesting!

Common Meat Storage Mistakes We Stumble Into

To solve the problem, we need to figure out what makes it happen again and again. With meat storage, it is all the same.

To know how to fix the situation, it is essential to learn what we are doing wrong. That’s why we suggest you check out the following list of the top mistakes people do when it comes to the way they store meat.

  • Washing meat prior to storage

Why is that wrong? When we wash meaty products (no matter what sort of meat it is), we are at the high risk of spreading germs all over the countertops and sink, not saying about the other foodstuff like veggies, fruits, etc. that we prepare at the same time.

So simply cook your steak of poultry properly – that will destroy all the germs completely.

  • Multiple freezing

If we defrost and freeze meaty foods many times, it will speed up the spoilage process<span style=”font-weight: 400;”> due to the temperature fluctuations from heat to cold and back.

What’ s the solution? Divide the fresh meat into portions (if it’s minced) or small pieces (if it’s a solid piece) and freeze them. Like that, you will be able to take out the precise amount of it needed for a certain dish.

  • Putting cooked meat on a plate where raw meat was

It’s all simple here: germs from the raw flesh will remain on a plate and will be transferred to the cooked food once you place it there.  

Use a separate plate or dish for cooked meats instead!

Common Meat Storage Mistakes We Stumble Into
Photo by José Ignacio Pompé
  • Improper cooking

If you’re not using a food thermometer, there’s a risk of undercooking meaty foods that can lead to foodborne diseases since germs won’t be killed completely! 

  • Thawing meat on the counter

For defrosting, place it in cold water, or defrost in the fridge overnight. When being left unchilled, the meat will develop harmful bacteria very fast.

  • Leaving meat out unchilled too long

Germs and bacteria grow fast when not cooled. That’s why place meaty foods to the fridge or frosting camera right after you bring them from the store.

So How to Store Meat Right?

It may now seem to you that keeping meat is a super complicated science, but it’s not like that! In fact, knowing several easy tricks will allow you to preserve your favorite beef or pork way longer.

1. Pack it right

If you purchase meaty products wrapped in a butcher paper or in styrofoam containers, it’s ok to refrigerate it like this. But for freezing, toss that paper-wrapped piece in a frost-resistant zipbag. Styrofoam tanks must be replaced by the freezer film and zip bags, too.

2. When to freeze?

The best time is when the meat is fresh. And make sure you consume it within a few months – the less time it spends frozen the better.

3. How to defrost?

Safe Food FAQs - What Is The Best Way To Store Meat?Safe Food FAQs – What Is The Best Way To Store Meat?

Do it slowly, that’s the crucial point. Meat can’t stand rapid thawing since its quality will degrade. The optimal way is to remove it to the fridge overnight or if you are in a hurry, submerge it in a bowl with cold water.

4. Keeping it right

If you refrigerate meat, remember that it’s ok to keep it there for several days, and the temperature must be 40 F or lower. 

To make it easier to calculate what meat and for how long to keep frozen or refrigerated, check out this chart.

Fridge Frosting camera
Bacon/sausage 7 days for bacon, 1-2 days for sausage  1 month for bacon, 1-2 months for sausage
Fresh ground meat, cut-up/cubed meat 1-2 days 3-4 months
Fresh meat (big cuts and variety meats e.g. liver, tongue, kidneys, etc.) 3-5 days for big cuts and 1-2 days for the variety meats 6-12 months for cuts, 3-4 months for the variety meats
Cooked leftovers 3-4 days 2-3 months
Raw chicken&turkey 1-2 days for a whole bird and cut-ups/giblets  A year for a whole bird, 9 months for cut-ups, 4 months for giblets
Cooked poultry leftovers 3-4 days 4 months
Hot dog/lunch meats 1 week (opened), 2 weeks (unopened) 1-2 months (opened&unopened)
Canned ham/corned beef 5-7 days(corned beef),     3-5 days (ham, opened)         6-9 months (ham, unopened) 1 month (corned beef), 1-2 months (ham)

When incorporating these simple knowledge into your daily cooking, you’ll see that dealing with meaty foods has become way simpler!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Can you eat 2-year-old frozen meat?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, meat is safe to consume if it was frozen for a year. All meaty foods that were stored longer must be tossed.

⭐ What happens if you eat spoiled meat?

You can get severe food poisoning, especially if the meat was badly spoiled.

⭐ How long can you keep raw beef in the fridge?

The optimal term of keeping is 3-5 days.

⭐ Does meat go bad in the fridge?

Yes, it does. Usually, the average term of keeping it refrigerated is 3-5 days depending on the sort of meat.

⭐ How long can you keep the meat in the fridge?

It depends on its sort, but the average duration is 3-5 days. Ground meats last for 1-2 days only.

⭐ How can you tell if beef is spoiled?

Its color will change to grey and will become dull. Also, the slimy film can appear, and the meat will smell bad.

⭐ How do you preserve meat without electricity?

The most popular options include smoking, salting, brining, dehydrating, and keeping in lard.

⭐ How do you store meat in the fridge?

If it was sold in a butcher paper, leave the meat in it. But styrofoam tanks are better to be replaced by the plastic wraps.

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
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How To Store and Freeze MeatsHow To Store and Freeze Meats