Floor beef is so versatile and simple to whip up into a wide range of quick and flavorful weeknight meals that it is sensible to refill when it is on sale. However, it by no means appears to fail — you head to the freezer to retailer your rating and discover a forgotten pack or two of floor beef hanging out within the again in a Ziploc bag with no date on it, leaving you to surprise How lengthy has this been in right here? And extra importantly: How lengthy are you able to freeze floor beef earlier than it goes unhealthy?
Not figuring out how lengthy meat can keep safely frozen has led many people down the better-safe-than-sorry path, which heads straight from the freezer to the trash can. Whether or not the rising costs of groceries — particularly meats — or concern for the way meals waste impacts the setting has impressed you to lastly discover out, we have you lined.
With assist from companies like the USA Division of Agriculture this information to floor beef will train you easy methods to maintain recent meat on the desk and your cash in your pocket. You may even discover ways to correctly retailer and defrost floor beef. Adhere to those guidelines and you may by no means have to fret about spoiled meat once more.
How lengthy will floor beef keep good within the freezer?
It’s possible you’ll be stunned to search out that frozen meat can technically final ceaselessly in a correctly cooled freezer (one that is still at 0°F) — nevertheless it does have a “finest by” shelf life after which style declines. In line with the USDA’s freezing and meals security information, lack of moisture is a giant purpose why frozen floor beef loses taste over lengthy durations of time. Uncooked beef is finest used inside three to 4 months of freezing, per the USDA. Because of the lack of moisture within the cooking course of, cooked floor beef can final two to 3 months within the freezer.
The best way to correctly retailer floor beef within the freezer
Frozen meat may be frozen in its authentic retailer packaging for as much as two months, in keeping with U.S. Meals & Drug Administration (FDA) tips. For those who plan to maintain it longer than that, you’ll be able to wrap the unique packaging in heavy-duty foil or place it in a freezer bag to cease air from getting in. Remember to label the meat with the date it was frozen so there isn’t any guessing how lengthy it has been in there.
The USDA additionally notes that the quicker you freeze uncooked beef, the higher. Inserting it within the freezer as quickly as you get residence from the grocery retailer will produce brisker meat when defrosted than whether it is frozen nearer to its expiration date or has been already cooked.
Cooked beef, however, may be refrozen inside three to 4 days — so long as it has by no means been ignored of the fridge for longer than two hours — the USDA advises.
Uncooked meat that was frozen and thawed within the fridge may be refrozen one to 2 days after it has been faraway from the freezer. However solely uncooked meat that has stayed within the fridge or cooked meat that has solely been ignored for a number of hours can safely be refrozen.
The best way to correctly defrost floor beef
It’s best to by no means defrost beef out on the kitchen counter. Doing so exposes the meat to dangerous micro organism over a protracted time frame. As a substitute, put the frozen beef within the fridge in a single day to steadily thaw (on the underside shelf to stop juices from leaking onto different meals). It will be secure to maintain it within the fridge for 2 days after you pulled it from the freezer.
When that you must thaw your frozen meat a bit faster, inserting it in a zippered plastic bag and submerging it in chilly water for one to 3 hours — or till thawed — is the way in which to go. For those who’re in a jam and actually need to hurry up the method, the USDA offers the thumbs as much as defrosting within the microwave. Beef defrosted in water or within the microwave must be cooked instantly after thawing.
Ni’Kesia Pannell is an entrepreneur, multi-hyphenate freelance author, and self-proclaimed Slurpee connoisseur that covers information and tradition for The Kitchn. She’s the previous Weekend Editor for Delish who additionally writes about religion, well being and wellness, journey, magnificence, life-style, and music for a variety of extra shops.