How long can you keep meat in the freezer?

Yamato
Bento-ing from: Queens › New York › USA
Joined: 8 Aug 2010
User offline. Last seen 3 years 44 weeks ago.

I've always wondered how long can it really stay in there without giving me a tummy ache when I decide to cook it

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bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
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Re: How long can you keep meat in the freezer?

So long as the freezer doesn't accidentally defrost without you knowing about it it will never give you a tummy ache. Things don't go rotten at -20°C. What they do is pick up funny flavours, get freezer-burnt, dry out, and generally become unpalatable.

See what the USDA has to say about it here: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/focus_on_freezing/index.asp#12

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Yamato
Bento-ing from: Queens › New York › USA
Joined: 8 Aug 2010
User offline. Last seen 3 years 44 weeks ago.
Re: How long can you keep meat in the freezer?

i see but I know it rots pretty fast in the fridge especially in summer I wonder what are the limits in there

maki
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Re: How long can you keep meat in the freezer?

It's really hard to say that such-and-such food should last this amount of time - when I put such numbers in my recipes, I always try to err on the safer (shorter) side. It depends on how fresh the food was in the first place, and what the conditions in your fridge are. If things are rotting fast in your refrigerator in the summer, it's probably because people are opening it more frequently to get cool drinks and such, so the temperature inside is going up. You may want to get a cheap thermometer to see how cold or warm it is inside the fridge, and adjust the cooling level. It should be around -5 degrees C (23 degrees F) or so or a bit lower (but not cold enough so that things start freezing). Also make sure you are buying fresh, not-expired meat that's been kept at proper temperatures at the store.

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bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
Joined: 12 Jan 2009
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Re: How long can you keep meat in the freezer?

-5°C is below freezing. 4-5°C or about 40°F is what you're after in a fridge.

It also depends on the sort of meat. Hunks of meat from a freshly killed healthy cattle beast or sheep should be aged for at least a week before eating and can be aged for considerably more. Chicken doesn't need ageing, and goes nasty quite fast. Game animals such as venison, hare, and wild birds are often aged (it's called hanging) until they start to go green. They still don't make you sick though, or at least not clinically sick.

Once you mince (grind) the meat, or muck around with it by poking holes in it to tenderise it, it'll go bad much more quickly because all the bacteria that are naturally on the outside get mixed all the way through. The nasty bacteria, which thrive where there is not much oxygen, can grow like crazy in the middle parts of the meat and make you very sick indeed. Or dead.

That link I posted to the usda website has stuff about all sorts of storage conditions.

And also this food safety pdf (~4Mb): http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/Kitchen_Companion_Single.pdf

Yamato
Bento-ing from: Queens › New York › USA
Joined: 8 Aug 2010
User offline. Last seen 3 years 44 weeks ago.
Re: How long can you keep meat in the freezer?

well it was ground pork and it was 2 days when I found it turning green.

bronwyncarlisle
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Bento-ing from: Dunedin › New Zealand
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Re: How long can you keep meat in the freezer?

Pork's a bit like chicken. Ground pork and ground chicken need to be used pretty fast. If you can do it it's best to buy it whole and mince it yourself. I realise most people don't have the equipment for that though.

SandyW
Joined: 4 Aug 2010
User offline. Last seen 4 years 7 hours ago.
Re: How long can you keep meat in the freezer?

If I had ground pork only two days from the store and it was growing visible green things, I'd avoid that store in the future. As ground pork gets older, it does go brown, but not green. Best to use ground meat quickly.

Becca K
Re: How long can you keep meat in the freezer?

was the meat well sealed? the few times i've had meat go off almost overnight on me was when i didn't properly seal it in plastic or a container (apart from one time when the meat had badly gone off before i had even opened it. had the same issue with a loaf of bread too, all from the same supermarket. i stopped shopping there after the third item went rotten only a day or two after buying!) or when i had only half a shelf in a fridge shared with 4 others and my stuff would get knocked about.

i've never had problems with meat that's been in the freezer for months and months, apart from having freezer burn. but i just make a stew from those bits. :p

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