- Plastic will make the meat sweat, so it's a good idea to remove meat from its plastic as soon as possible after buying and store in the fridge.
- Meat should be transferred to a non-plastic dish and covered with foil or loosely covered with plastic to allow some airflow.
- Raw and cooked meat should be stored separately.
- Fresh meat will keep 3 - 5 days in the fridge. Cooked meat 5 - 7 days.
How Long Can You Freeze Meat?
Depending on the cut, uncooked meat can be stored up to 6 months in the freezer. Larger cuts, like steaks and roasts, can be safely stored for up to 6 months. Smaller cuts, such as beef steaks, should not be frozen for more than 4 months, and minced meat should not be frozen for more than 3 months.
Storing Meat in a Freezer
Meat stored in the freezer should be kept at 0† F (-18°C).
Freezer storage times for cooked meats are shorter than raw meat due to what's known as flavour taint. Certain flavours oxidise in the freezer after a period of time.
If frozen meat has defrosted, refreezing is not recommended unless it is cooked first, for a number of reasons:
The quality suffers each time frozen meat is defrosted and refrozen. Freezing creates ice crystals within the structure of the meat (as meat contains a high percentage of water). These ice crystals rupture the fibre which causes the meat to bleed when defrosted. If repeated, the texture of the meat will be very dry.
Never refreeze meat which has been thawed and held at room temperature.
How to Thaw Meat?
In the refrigerator: Plan ahead as this is the slowest thawing technique. Small frozen items may thaw overnight in the refrigerator, while larger items will take significantly longer.
In a microwave on the defrost setting: Plan to cook the food immediately after it has thawed in a microwave, because some areas of the food may have begun cooking during the defrost cycle.
- Meat should not be thawed at room temperature on the kitchen counter.
- Meat that has been thawed in the fridge will keep for a few days. Meat thawed more quickly should be used immediately.
- Thawed meat should not be re-frozen in an uncooked state.