How To Store Ground Beef Safely
Storing fresh ground beef is a common question asked by people who want to know how to store ground beef safely for future consumption. The answer depends on the type of environmental conditions you are storing the ground beef.
To give you an idea, storing your ground beef below 40 degrees Fahrenheit is the best if you want to keep it for longer than 2 hours before cooking.
Furthermore, we will give you tips on how to do proper ground beef storage in this article. We also have the best methods that you can follow to store other meats as long as possible.
How to Store Ground Beef to Keep it Fresh and Safe
The first thing you should consider when storing ground beef is where you plan to keep it. If you plan to use it within four to five days, then keeping it refrigerated is ok. However, if you intend to consume it after two weeks, freezing would be better because frozen food doesn’t spoil quickly. To store ground beef longer than 4-5 days, you should always freeze it before consuming it. Doing this helps preserve its freshness, texture, and taste longer.
Keep in mind that ground beef is a highly perishable food product. It can quickly develop harmful bacteria when exposed to air and warm temperature.
You should follow proper food safety at all times. Here are the essential things to do:
1. Clean your hands, containers, and storage area.
2. Separate meats from vegetables and other contaminants. It is better to place your ground meat in an airtight container with no other food mixed in.
3. Cook at a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill all bacteria.
4. Raw ground beef that is not used should be stored in the fridge or freezer.
What Do You Need For Storing Ground Beef
To keep your fresh ground beef food safe when stored for a long time, you need to use these:
- Airtight containers or Ziplock bags
- Heavy-duty freezer bags
- Vacuum sealer or rolling pin
- Freezer or Refrigerator
Storing Ground Beef in the Fridge
Suppose you do not want to freeze the beef and plan to consume it after buying from the grocery store. In that case, it is best to keep it on ice or refrigerator. It can stay fresh for up to two days on ice and 4-5 days in the fridge. Here are the steps on how to do it if you want to store it raw.
- Remove any original packaging material such as plastic wrap, foil, etc. Then wash your hands thoroughly.
- Place the ground beef into a clean bowl. Make sure that the surface has been wiped dry.
- Cover the top of the ground beef with aluminum foil or clear plastic wrap. Make sure it is sealed tight. This prevents moisture loss and keeps excess air out.
- You could also put it in a vacuum bag.
- Label and date the packages.
- Place in the fridge. Best to consume within five days.
How to Store Cooked Ground Beef in the Fridge
You can also store leftover cooked ground beef in the fridge.
- Place cooked ground beef into a clean glass jar or bowl.
- Cover the top tightly with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a tightly fitting lid. This prevents oxygen from getting into the package, which could cause bacterial growth.
- Label the contents clearly. Properly label the date and name of the item.
- Place it inside the fridge. You should place the beef on the lower shelves of the refrigerator. This prevents the juices of the ground beef from dripping onto other foods. This is called cross-contamination, and you want to avoid that.
- Use within four days or freeze.
How Many Months Does Ground Beef Last in the Refrigerator
Ground beef usually lasts for about four days in the fridge. If you desire a longer shelf life or freshness, you can place it in the freezer to make it last for several months.
How to Store Ground Beef in a Freezer
The same rules apply here too. However, this time, we will use an airtight container instead of a sealed one. Follow these simple steps below:
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
- Take out all the original packaging materials, including plastic wrap, foil, paper towels, etc.
- If you have ground beef in bulk, you can portion control to the exact size you want to freeze.
- Place the meat into a zip lock bag. Seal it tight and flatten it using your hands or rolling pin to remove air, thus avoiding freezer burn.
Note, if you want to thaw the frozen ground beef, know that it takes at least 12 hours for frozen food to thaw completely in the fridge, which is the safe way to do it. Remove the bags from the freezer. Take out the ground beef carefully.
Do not touch the sides of the bag because bacteria might get transferred through contact. And place it in the fridge in a drip-proof container.
How to Store Cooked Ground Beef in the Freezer
It has similar steps with storing ground beef in the fridge. However, storing cooked meat in the freezer requires more attention than just placing it in the freezer. Here are the things you must remember:
Follow these simple steps below in freezing cook ground beef:
- Place the cooked ground beef in a clean airtight container. Make sure not to overfill it.
- Cover it tightly with another layer of plastic wrap. This is important as moisture could escape during storage, and freezer burn can make the meat unattractive.
- Label the package clearly with the date and contents.
How Many Months Does Ground Beef Last in the Freezer
Ground beef should last up to six months in the freezer. But if you freeze it longer than three months, it can become dry if not wrapped properly.
Can You Store Ground Beef in a Tupperware
Yes! This is one of the best ways to preserve the freshness and quality of meats. We recommend this method because it keeps all the juices intact. Also, it prevents oxidation and bacterial growth.
Here are the reminders to follow when storing ground beef in Tupperware containers:
• Use only washed unopened containers.
• Wash thoroughly after every usage.
How to Thaw Ground Beef Safely in Tupperware
Thawing frozen ground beef safely is easy. The best and safest way to thaw is to place it in the fridge a night before you plan to cook it. It will get thawed enough without any harmful bacteria.
Can You Re-Freeze Ground Beef After Thawing
It is good practice not to refreeze ground beef if it has already been thawed. If it has been cooked, however, then you can refreeze.
What are the Signs of a Spoiled Ground Beef
There are many signs which indicate whether your ground beef has spoiled or not. Here they are:
• When you see moldy spots on the surface of the meat, then it means that the product has gone bad.
• A strong smell indicates spoilage.
• Meat that looks slimy or sticky is considered spoilt.
• Any sign of discoloration is a clear indication of spoilage.
• If there is excessive moisture inside the container, it shows that the meat was stored improperly.
• If the packaging is torn or broken, then it is a good indicator of spoilage.