Leftover meat ending up at the bottom of the trash can is not uncommon. Food waste is motivated most of the time by the lack of space and space in the freezer or simply by the fear of eating food once it is frozen. Here you will find everything you need to know about the shelf life of each meat to help you get your bearings.
Raw or cooked, all meats can be frozen. But for how long ? explanations.
How long can meat stay in the freezer?
A family meal is always an opportunity to share several unforgettable moments around pleasant and tasty dishes. Yeah, but now once the guests come home you end up with leftover meat and admittedly, sometimes a little too much. Due to lack of enough space in his refrigerator, he decides to keep his meat in the freezer. In addition to preserving the nutritional qualities of the meat, freezing is also a great way to slow the growth of bacteria in different foods.
But one question remains: how long to keep meat in the freezer?
Shelf life of meat in the freezer.
Raw or cooked, sliced or vacuum packed, each meat can be stored in the freezer for later consumption, without losing its nutritional value. However, the freezing time differs depending on the type of meat. A useful life that must be respected so that it does not present any risk to health without altering its taste and flavor. If you do not have reference points, you can consult, for information, the storage times of the different meats, which are presented below:
- Lamb, beef or pork: 6 to 8 months
- Ground beef: 2 to 3 months
- Cooked meat: 2 to 3 months
- Smoked meat: 1 to 2 months
- Fresh sausages: 1 to 2 months
- Offal: 3 to 4 months
- Whole bird: 6 to 8 months
- Poultry cut (fillets or thighs): 6 months
Note that the information presented above is for informational and indicative purposes only.. Therefore, if your meat is vacuum packed, especially in trays, do not hesitate to check the expiration date that appears there or ask your butcher for advice when buying sliced.
How to freeze meat correctly?
Now that you have an idea of the shelf life of your meat and poultry in the freezer, you can freeze it, not without abiding by a few essential rules along the way.
- Set your freezer temperature to ideally -18°C before storing your meat;
- Empty out your freezer so you have a full freezer compartment for your meat for space’s sake;
- Pack the different pieces of meat per portion in preferably airtight plastic bags, remembering to remove any remaining air before closing them;
- Keep the original packaging if the meat has been previously vacuum packed, paying attention to the expiration date before freezing;
- Write on each bag, the type of meat and the date of freezing;
- Respect the estimated shelf life for each cut and species of meat.
How to best defrost meat?
Unlike freezing, thawing must be done slowly so that the meat retains all its characteristics, whether in terms of taste or flavor. Ideally, you can thaw your meat in the refrigerator based on the size of the piece of meat you plan to cook. Generally count 3-4 hours for small parts and 12-24 hours for large parts.
Otherwise, and if you’re short on time, you can always consider defrosting your meat in the microwave. This method, although effective, is not suitable for large pieces of meat, defrosting will only take place on the outside, the inside will remain frozen. Therefore, it is enough to put small and medium-sized pieces of meat on a plate or in a bowl, and then place them in the microwave by choosing the “defrost” mode. don’t forget aboutadapt the defrosting time according to the size and nature of your piece of meat avoiding that it ends up cooking directly in the microwave.
Valuable, this information will allow you to ideally preserve any type of meat, to taste it at any time of the year. Also keep in mind that it is preferable not to abuse meat, especially red meat, to preserve your health. For those who prefer not to consume it, know that there are alternatives to provide the body with its protein needs.
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